Cooperative Women’s Stories: Carmen Mª Rubio Linares

Carmen Mª Rubio Linares

Accounting at the associated cooperative Agrícola La Roda (Seville).

Although her beginnings in the cooperative were not very stable, “with a temporary contract of practices just finished the career” says Carmen Maria, her desire to learn and contribute to the development of the cooperative have made more than 12 years that she has been performing tasks of administration and accounting.

This sector has always attracted her attention since her childhood has been closely linked to the countryside. “There are several generations in my family linked to agriculture, so we know what it is like to work the land,” he confesses.

Looking back, he emphasizes how the modernization and incorporation of the latest management technology has greatly facilitated the tasks in the administrative area, also allowing to do it faster. If we also add the continuous changes in regulations, “we find ourselves in a job that requires us to be always up to date”.

In spite of being a sector that is mostly men, even more so when she started, she has always felt like one of the others, without distinctions. “I have learned and continue to learn from my colleagues, just as they have learned from me. We are a great team in this cooperative,” confesses Carmen María.

Although she sees more and more women at the head of farms, as managers, olive weighers, oil mill managers, laboratory managers, etc., she believes that women still have a long way to go in the governance of cooperatives. In fact, she tells us that at the last General Assembly of members the female presence was 5%. In spite of this, her vision is optimistic, hoping to see soon an active participation of women in the Assemblies and the Governing Council of the cooperative”, says Carmen María with hope.

She recommends the new generations not to lose their enthusiasm and to enjoy this sector. Although from the outside it may seem the opposite, the rural and cooperative world is very dynamic and demands to be up to date. “I know that young people are impulsive, but you have to be patient and learn from each day, in fact, each campaign is a new course from which you always learn something,” she confesses.

Since she was a child she has been closely linked to the harvesting of the fruit, so she knew perfectly well what happened from the time the olives germinated and ripened until they were taken to the cooperative. But what was truly amazing for Carmen was to discover the next step, how the olives entered the mill and ended up producing the liquid gold.

Among her personal experiences, she highlights the impression she had (and continues to have campaign after campaign) with the first aromas given off by the conveyor belts transporting freshly harvested olives in the unloading area, “the smells of fig leaves, tomato, fresh grass, etc. come together. What surprised him the most was to be able to differentiate all the fruity nuances in an olive”.

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