Women and the farmhouse


The traditional farmhouse represented a way of life in which family relationships coexisted with daily work.

The tasks were countless, both inside and outside, and women participated in them all. Apart from the cleaning and upkeep of the house, bringing up children, preparing meals, they were also responsible for looking after animals and the vegetable garden, preserving and selling the products obtained from the crops, etc. and this brings us back to the Arratia Tram.

It was generally the woman who was responsible for the sale of the produce, which was none other than a selection of products that were sold in the surrounding area, at fairs or markets in Bilbao, which could be reached via the Arratia tram.

The sale of the farmhouse products enabled them to buy those that they could not produce, such as oil for the lamps, candles or other treats for special days, for example chocolate or coffee and it also brought in enough money to pay the rent.

The huge workload of the farmhouse meant that families were large, for the simple reason that the more hands in the family, the more work was done. Children barely learned to walk when they were put to work. The older children looked after the small ones and women spent practically their entire fertile life pregnant or giving birth to children, but this didn´t keep them away from their chores. At the end of the19th century, the infant mortality rate was very high, as was that of women dying during childbirth.

One of the most important discoveries of modernity was hygiene, which offered a healthier and longer life.

In this respect, the influence of modernity was brought to rural life by pharmacists, who provided more effective medicines than traditional ones and suggested recommendations to improve the health of the rural population.

The female figure was essential in the education of children and passing values on to them. Mothers and grandmothers were in charge of their upbringing, as well as introducing them to the symbolic world of traditions, beliefs, values, religion, etc. In short, they educated their children by teaching them what was right or wrong, true or false.

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