History is social or it is not history. Under this premise, the sisters Rosa and Ana Iziz Elarre present At the gates of emancipation , the third volume of History of Women in Euskal Herria , the collection edited by Txalaparta with the aim of making visible the history and female footprints in this territory .
The new publication thus addresses the 19th century, a time of confrontations and wars in which women worked hard, continuing to fight for their rights to freedom and where milestones such as the first 8-M took place.
The book collects in its more than 500 pages the result of an extensive investigation of five years carried out in the Archives of Bilbao, Donostia, Pamplona and Vitoria, both ecclesiastical and civil, along with a selection of bibliography and review of newspaper archives, processes , regulations and municipal ordinances.
The result is a volume that collects in its chapters “how was the daily life of women in the four Basque provinces; what were their trades and occupations both on the coast and inland”, point out its authors.
In addition, they continue, they also touch on other issues such as “prostitution and its regulations and prison system; marriage, divorce and adultery; violence against women both in the public and private spheres, teaching and education,
They also emphasize that the 19th century was disastrous for women for many reasons. In the first place, “men and their wars French in 1808, the Carlist in 1833 and 1872, Cuba in 1898 plunged the country into a borderline situation in terms of violence and disease.
Women had to endure motherhood and working alone in subhuman conditions “, the Iziz Elarre sisters tell about a situation that led them to take over the daily support of the family and the jobs carried out by their parents, brothers or husbands.
At an educational and teaching level, in 1857 the Moyano law was approved , which established the obligation to create schools for boys and girls in towns with more than 500 inhabitants.
And despite the fact that the number of schools and qualified teachers was insufficient, they explain that this type of laws “gave the girls the possibility of training even minimally” and with time and with the creation of Normal Schools for Teachers from the In the second half of the century.
small groups of women were allowed access to education and knowledge acquisition hitherto restricted to men. Of course, they remember that the woman did not go to university until 1910.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COUNTRYSIDE AND THE CITY The Iziz Elarre sisters point out that undoubtedly “a great difference” is perceived between rural women and city women.
Because although there are many types of Basque women, “we can highlight those that represent two types of mentalities.” On the one hand, the conservative woman model, which “the clergy praises because it preserves the values of a type of traditional society that refuses to abandon the values of the Old Regime.”
And on the other hand there is the Basque and urban women, in this case represented by “a group of liberal ideology, ranging from moderate to more radical positions.” They are those women who are found in the Basque capitals and in the main rural towns.
In addition, the book also reflects how despite the aforementioned figure of the Angel of the Home, the daily reality of women was very different and only a small part of them –burgers and artistcrats– could afford to stay at home.
This select group was dedicated to “organizing gatherings and dances, going for walks and doing charity work Among them they name famous women such as the musician and composer or Mª Pilar lover of José Bonaparte and whose life has a specific section in the volume.
But far from that aristocracy, rural women left home to work, since at that time wages were minimal and the support of men was not enough if there were any.