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Spain in crisis, women taking the lead


Construction companies had build large numbers of offices and apartments the years before the financial crisis hit Spain (2009-2014). Nowadays many of these building remain empty.

My Spanish friend who I met when studying Political Science in Spain told me about the daily problems they encountered. People were losing their jobs, their houses, there were simple no jobs anymore not even for the highly educated people.
In Sevilla a friend and community worker told me about local projects that were set up to create some income. He also told me that mostly women actively cooperated with each other to find solutions and create jobs. Men until half thirties mostly went back to live with their parents, whereas women tried to pull themselves out of this situation.
He pointed out this case in Sevilla, where women -unemployed for years- gathered in a community and squatted an empty building. They negotiated with local municipality to provide them with some acces to water. And they presented themselves to the neighborhood asking for help with electricity.
Slowly they gained trust of the community and neighbors started to help out with generators and basics to have a safe place for them. We interviewed several women of this cooperation, visited community meetings in the neighborhood, met other squatters and women who were baking bread and selling it in the area.
Together with Stefan de Vries we produced an article for the Dutch newspapers and our reportage about the squatted building was broadcasted on the Dutch television.