Cooperative Women’s Stories:

Purificación Arteaga Martín

Chemical technician at Oleoestepa’s oil laboratory.

As a former university student of the chemistry branch of science, her first words are aimed at trying to put an end to the myth that science is a man’s world. “During my chemistry courses, I always had more female than male classmates,” explains Puri.

After completing her higher studies, she began her professional career in the newly created Oleoestepa laboratory some 20 years ago. “From the beginning I felt very identified and involved with the scientific project of the Oleoestepa cooperative, so I feel very fortunate to have been able to contribute to its development,” Puri confesses proudly.

As a chemist with more than 20 years of experience, she highlights the great differences in the instrumental and analytical aspects since its beginnings. “The fact of being an ENAC-accredited laboratory has always allowed us to have the latest technology available, being one of the pioneering centers in everything related to oil analysis,” explains Puri.

As regards gender issues in the world of business in general and science in particular, Puri says she has not felt any differences in treatment due to the fact that she is a woman, “we are a team in which gender does not matter when it comes to rights and obligations; I have never encountered any obstacles or limitations to the development of my professional career as a scientist in all these years”.

Beyond the laboratory area of Oleoestepa, where the presence of women is in the majority, she considers that there is still space within the cooperatives where women have not managed to normalize their presence at all, “mainly in areas where greater physical strength is required or management areas in the boards of the associated cooperatives”.

Regarding the young women who are currently training to become the scientists of the future, she knows that the road is full of difficulties, but with determination and perseverance everything can be achieved. In rural environments and those linked to agriculture, this complication is much greater, but in return the reward in the form of continuous enrichment is also greater. In this line Puri conveys her gratitude to all those who make up the great family of the Oleoestepa cooperative, for not ceasing to learn day after day from the olive sector and the rural world in general. “Sincerely, I can say without sounding grandiloquent that I am fortunate to consider every morning of these 20 years that my work is the best”.

You can see all the stories of cooperative women: