Alberto Ferreras | Zamora (EFE).- The farmer who fights for equality from the leadership of an agrarian union; agriculture awarded in Europe for betting on an alternative crop; or the physiotherapist who successfully opened her practice in a town of one hundred inhabitants. These are just a few examples of female entrepreneurs in emptied Spain who contribute to reducing the gender gap in rural areas.
Stories of emptied Spain that have the name of a woman and give visibility to female empowerment in small population centers and, although each of these businesswomen has their own vision of equality and a particular path, all of them have made their way back from the city to the countryside to be pioneers in their field where the demographic challenge supposes an added difficulty when it comes to undertaking.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the EFE Agency has focused on three examples of female entrepreneurship in rural areas, in the middle of emptied Spain, which break stereotypes and prejudged ideas of certain professions.
From the bank branch to the field
With a degree in Business Management and Administration, Ángeles Santos worked in an urban bank office until one day she decided that what she really liked was the countryside and to continue the family farm of livestock and the production of artisan cheeses.
In Fariza (Zamora) he began to take the reins of the family business, the first cheese factory in Castilla y León with an ecological seal and at the same time increased his commitment to agrarian unionism through COAG, an organization in which in 2021 he joined its national Executive and she met the milestone of being the youngest woman to do so and the person who obtained the most support from all the members of the management conclave.
Santos has assured that in rural areas he finds “the same glass ceilings that are difficult to break” as in cities, since working women “in the end have triple the working day because housework and childcare They still fall heavily on our backs ”, he declared.
Regarding the specific work for equality in the rural world, it has been highlighted that in the agricultural sector many women make their own work invisible by not contributing, which makes them devalue themselves. “I think it is important that it is reflected in the statistics, but also in yourself, that you empower yourself”, she has defended.
Awards for alternative exploitation
Nuria Álvarez, for her part, has been more positive regarding the reduction of the gender gap in the countryside, since although they have recognized that agriculture can be a masculinized sector, more and more women are entering it and she has not considered that they have more obstacles, but that “the obstacles are per se, the bureaucracy and administrative procedures are so horrible, it doesn’t matter for me or for a man”.
With a degree in Advertising and Public Relations, Álvarez changed her job in the city for the countryside and in her family’s town, Almendra (Zamora), with 151 inhabitants, she set up a blackberry farm, an alternative crop to which she has dedicated the last eight years of his life.
In this time it has completed the cycle with the commercialization of this product through the Agroberry brand that sells it fresh, frozen, in jam or in liqueur, among other gastronomic possibilities of this red fruit.
His work has earned him awards such as the Improvement of Competitiveness from the European Commission or the Excellence award for innovation in agricultural activity from the Ministry of Agriculture.
Physiotherapist, woman and rural
The one who has not yet received any awards is Blanca Calvo, who, however, would deserve one for her courage to undertake a business as specialized as a physiotherapy clinic in a town of a hundred inhabitants.
This physiotherapist who lived in Zamora and studied in Ponferrada (León) settled in the Zamoran town of her maternal family, Riego del Camino (95 inhabitants), to open “El Árbol de la Vida” a physiotherapy center two years ago Far from failing, it has expanded its services by joining efforts with a psychologist who also offers her services at the facilities.
Away from large population centers and halfway between Zamora and Benavente, Blanca Calvo specializes in neurological pathology and receives patients recruited not only from the aging population of the area but even from the capital of Zamora.
As a female professional, on occasion she has had to face ignorant and macho comments such as that for physiotherapy work “being a girl you will not have strength”.
A strength that these three entrepreneurs have shown in their day to day to reduce the gender gap in rural areas and in what is known as emptied Spain. EFE