Rural elderly women: The sweat of their bodies and the work of his hands. The paradigms of the Greek polis still present in the current days


Background: In Brazil between 1960 and 1990 there established the hegemony of young people between 15 and 24 years old, a phenomenon known worldwide as “youth wave”. Forty years later, with continued declining levels of fertility and mortality, in the first decade of this century, the young country came to bear white hair with the continued growth of the aging rate. Official census data show the growth of the elderly population, above sixty years, predominantly female, and population growth increasingly urbanized [1, 2]. This article reports the findings from a recent study of elderly women, in the contexts of “rurality”. Objectives: The aim of this study was to analyze the social construction of gender division of work and retirement of older rural women. Comprehending through historically dialectical materialism, the process of exclusion of rural elderly women, some public policies and programs aimed at elderly populace. Ethnographic Method: fieldwork and interviews (one-to-one and in groups), field notes, participant observation, photography, and archival review. Sample: 27 women aged between 68 to 92 years. Findings: Only four receive retirement as peasant, three owners of land and a former employee; the other receive her husband’s pension or are included in the Provision of Continued Benefit (PBC). Conclusion: Non-receipt of retirement for these women, as citizen’s peasant, it is a violation of her rights recognized under the Federal Constitution of 1988, and reveals how the Aristotelian paradigm persists in their activities: That sweat of her bodies and the work of her hands, it is not considered as work; it is labor.

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Kullok, A. (2014) Rural elderly women: The sweat of their bodies and the work of his hands. The paradigms of the Greek polis still present in the current days. Health, 6, 292-298. doi: 10.4236/health.2014.65042.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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