Life trajectories of rural women

JANUARY 2019 Highlights

The year started with good news about the publication of an article that had been accepted almost two years ago. Finally!

It is a very special piece of work for me for several reasons. The research in which this article is based on the last piece of work I did in Spain before moving to Scotland to work at the Centre for Mountain Studies. Also, Nestor Vercher, the colleague who designed and led the research had been a fantastic student in my lectures on Research Methods for the Master in Local Development at the University of Valencia a couple of years before then. When he and Jaime Escribano invited me to collaborate on this, I could not say not.

The fieldwork allowed me to discover an area in the Albacete province that I had not been travelled around even despite that it is not so far away from my hometown: Sierra del Segura. A mountainous and remote area in the south-east of Castilla-La Mancha, with a significant natural heritage linked to the dramatic landscapes carved by the rivers. Its environment and villages mirror the symbolic images of the “deep rural Spain” what was lastly represented -probably both as cause and effect- by the filming of the iconic Spanish movie “Amanece que no es poco”, which appears as an intangible asset of the area.

(Own photo. Aina, Sierra del Segura, July 2016)

Coming back to the research and the paper, it explores women’s life models during the period of the economic crisis in Sierra del Segura. Four types of life models were found depending on the women’s trajectories, social participation and perception of gender roles:

  • A not mobile model of life anchored in the rural world. This model comprises women’s trajectories limited to domestic roles and sporadic work outside the household, and participation in traditional women’s association. The perception of gender roles in absent or weak.
  • Another not mobile group of women, also anchored in the rural world, but with work trajectories outside the household even if precarious. Their social participation in conventional organisations and leisure activities is active, but they also show weak perceptions of gender roles.
  • Women with urban trajectories with a precarious job integration in rural areas, usually swinging among jobs. They are active participants in the civil society showing interest in local issues and are concerned about gender roles and inequalities.
  • Entrepreneur women with urban trajectories and high education levels that had started their own economic initiatives in the area. They show a high degree of involvement in the local civil society, including social and political movements and are highly aware of the gender roles in the community.

The full article (in Catalan) it is available at the website of the Journal at https://dag.revista.uab.es/article/view/v65-n1-vercher-escribano-valero/449-pdf-ca 

A reduced version in English of this paper is available at the Conference Proceedings of the XXVII ESRS Congress at http://www.esrs2017.confer.uj.edu.pl/documents/116230145/0/Proceedings+ESRS+Krakow.pdf/9f24a360-0c31-4aa2-810a-4518c38dd4ff#page=95

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