Generational change among women in rural Valencia

Alma Cirugeda Suarez, Florida International University


The demise of Generalissimo Francisco Franco in 1975 and the subsequent democratization of Spain and its inclusion in the European Community have profoundly altered the patriarchal traditions of Spanish society. This study focused on the changes that women in Moixent, a rural village in Valencia, Spain, have experienced as a result of this liberalization of government policies, modernization, and economic development. The purpose of this research was to illuminate the changing lives of two generations of women and their families in rural Valencia. The qualitative research techniques of participant observation, in-depth interviewing, and narrative analysis were used to present the different frames of reference of the two generations. Young working women in this rural community have come to rely on the help and support of their mothers in their attempts to work outside the home and improve their standard of living. As they enter Spain's modernizing economy their consumption patterns increasingly mimic those promoted by the global media, and especially television. As these young women take jobs outside the home they are having fewer children and dramatically altering the nation's demographic profile. The older generation of women, who lived through decades of deprivation during the Spanish Civil War and Franco's long regime, support their daughters' new independence by assuming the arduous tasks of providing informal day care for their grandchildren and performing a variety of unpaid services for their daughters, including shopping, cooking, and housecleaning. This older generation of grandmothers is assuming a more difficult and demanding workload in what otherwise would be their retirement years. Hence they are the true enablers of their daughters' economic progress and modern patterns of consumption. Other influences from the outside world have altered family farming practices. The participation of women in the harvests has declined, and most harvesting is now done by migrant foreign workers. As young women enter the workforce grandmothers strive to impart traditional values to their grandchildren, in the face of a rapidly changing world.

Subject Area

Sociology|Cultural anthropology|Womens studies

Recommended Citation

Suarez, Alma Cirugeda, "Generational change among women in rural Valencia" (2001). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3031610.