As every year, 8th March marks International Women’s Day. Although we don’t need a special day to highlight the achievements of the women of Ibiza, we would nonetheless like to take the opportunity to share the thoughts from some special ladies, whom we admire and respect for their strength and dedication to the island and its community.
We begin with a message from our director, Sandra Benbeniste.
“The 8th March was first proclaimed international women’s day in 1910, in Copenhagen, by a handful of brave women, at the suggestion of Germany’s Clara Zetkin. This day was first commemorated in several European countries in 1911, with the participation of more than one million people, demanding the vote for women and their right to work, training and non-discrimination.
Where are we 110 years later? On paper we have achieved many of the demands that these pioneering women fought for. We can vote, we have access to education and we have, in principle, the right to work. But women remain in a situation of greater fragility and uncertainty. According to a recent study by the consultancy McKinsey, we are twice as likely as men to lose our jobs in times of crisis, like the one we are currently experiencing. Among the reasons for this is the higher number of women in the informal sector (e.g. household employees), which leaves many in a precarious situation, with little security, low income and limited social benefits.
Additionally, in professional sectors women continue to suffer discrimination in the workplace, often due to the prejudices of their employers. In both employment and unemployment, discrimination against women is still a critical issue.
That said, in the case of Ibiza, if we look back we can see the huge strides made by women in recent decades. In under a hundred years we have gone from not being able to leave the house except in the company of a brother or husband, all dressed in black and with our hair covered, and not having a passport, to the (almost) full freedoms that we have today.
This Women’s Day, I would like to take the opportunity to highlight the work that women on the island do in building an increasingly sustainable Ibiza, both socially, environmentally and economically. Women are represented in all areas, and we exercise our responsibilities in our own style: conciliatory and empathetic when possible, and persuasive or tenacious when necessary. We build bridges and alliances to achieve shared goals, without focusing on logos and medals.
There is no doubt in my mind that we have the foundations to develop a more sustainable society. Let’s come together – women and men – to build real alternatives and lasting solutions for our island. We can achieve a ‘new normal’ that is not the same as what went before, but a society that is both fair and regenerative.”
A few months back we got together with some of Ibiza’s female farmers to discuss the role of women in the agricultural sector. The meeting was organized by Jo Youle for the podcast Gang of Witches (Ibiza Podcast #2 The Rise of the Rural Women). Read on for some extracts from the interview!
Women’s role in agriculture
Marina Moran, LEADER, “Women have always worked the land silently without being appreciated and recognized, unlike men. Work has been underway in recent years to reclaim women’s role in the rural world. All that work needs to be valued, as well as all the policies and achievements. The initiatives generated by government should be aimed at studying the options that today’s women have in order to combine their daily lives with work on the farm, and to begin to recognise the skills that we have demonstrated working with the land from ancient times until now.”
Marina Cardona, Finca Can Puvil, “Women today are not only farmers, but we are also entrepreneurs, amazing entrepreneurs who believe in agriculture. We own the land and we own our companies.”
Neus Costa, Finca Can Soldat, “I make my living from agriculture. I don’t have any other supplementary work/income and there are days that are difficult. To top it all, I am also a mother who has duties in the home. Until now, the role of the mother always focused a lot on the children. I’ve been in agriculture for three years and I’m in several farmers’ associations with farmers similar to me and I can assure you that at some events I’m the only woman or at most there is one other woman. So I think it is very important that we talk about women’s role in agriculture. Women need to see that there are other female farmers and that we can do it and encourage them to take the plunge. Show them that it is not only a man’s world, even if it has been that way for a long time.”
The call to farming
The farming lifestyle is not an easy choice, which is why there is an ever-decreasing number of young people taking up farming. So why did these women choose this path?
Marina Cardona, Finca Can Puvil “As an Ibicenca, I have always felt very connected to both the sea and the land. I do not actually come from an agricultural background, but from a family of fishermen. One day I found out that my family had an abandoned plot of land and I felt it was my personal commitment to do something with this land, both for myself and for island. After thinking it over, I decided to sink my teeth into agriculture as a way to recover the land and the Ibizan customs that are so closely linked to it.”
Neus Costa, Finca Can Soldat, “I worked as a director of a bank for 11 years and when I had my second child the timing coincided with my father’s retirement. I started to think, “Should I go back to my job at the bank or continue with my family’s work?” If I didn’t take on the farm, then they would probably have to stop farming and close the market. That’s when I decided just over three years ago to dedicate my life exclusively to working the land. I left my job at the bank and started the new adventure alongside my father… I feel free. The best time of day is when I’m on the farm; it gives me such joy to sew the fruits of my labour grow, and then to pick them and be able to offer them to our customers.”
We salute these women who have chosen a sustainable lifestyle as stewards of our land.
To listen to the interview in full, click here – Gang of Witches Ibiza Podcast no 2