Her vitality is worthy of a teenager and her mind works with the precision of a Swiss watch. Talk about feminism, the needs of the people and the historical evolution in terms of equality with the same freshness that he does from war and his childhood. Charito, 96, welcomes us in a village restaurant sitting under portraits of women painted by a friend. “This is what I want to talk about, about us,” he says before starting the interview.
This vitalist woman, widow and mother of four children last May became the longest-running policy in Spain. She is a councilor for the Abuelas de Patones party and her goal of reaching the City Council at this age was none other than fighting for the construction of a parking lot for which they have been fighting for years. But, as she says, today we are not here to talk about politics but about how the role of women has evolved in an area as masculine as that of politics and even more so in a rural setting, where the ladies were always protected by the men, in the shade, working piecework but without obtaining public recognition. «I am a feminist, I have always been my way, of course. The advances that I have seen throughout my life in terms of equality are so great that I don’t know how to explain it. This movement is something of astronomical magnitudes, ”he confesses.
Equality, but not at any price
To begin, he talks about his childhood, how his mother (who lived 101 years) lived for and for his children. «We had no choice but to stay at home to take care of the children, the husband’s concern was only to bring the money home, period. Nobody considered that this could change, but we realized that this was not equality and women began our struggle, ”he says. Moreover, his father (who died at 100), he says, when he left work in the workshop, he went out of wine and commented to his wife: “Take care of the children, how something happens to them …” “Now I think: how was I able to say that to my mother? Didn’t he have the same obligations to take care of us? It was a world that was made for the enjoyment of men, ”he says.
What she observes today in her daughters-in-law (she has only sons) and her granddaughters is far from the reality she had to face. “Now, women are going to make real men work, and that I married well, my husband was a gentleman, an unusual gentleman,” says Charito. When he looks back, he acknowledges that he would have loved to study at the university, but that this was reserved for his male brothers: «If I had been able to choose, I would have studied nursing, I liked to help and the war was very marked. But hey, I had to resign myself », he laments. And for her, feminism will only be achieved with education. «This is the message I want to send to the new generations. Let them study, that with a good education you can get everything and we now have the same opportunities to go to college; we are even more trained than men.
With a good education we will see even soon in Spain a woman president of the Government, of course, as has happened for example in the United Kingdom, where there were more than one and have proven to be very competent and hardworking, ”she adds while looking at her friend and Abuela’s partner for Patones who shares a table with us. In this town of the Sierra Norte de Madrid (and that every weekend overflows with tourists as it is a unique enclave of the Community) the wind hits hard, but still Charito does not hesitate to go outside to take some pictures . “Who was going to tell me that at my age I would become the famous family,” he laughs. He tells us, of course, of his four children, all of them boys, and how when they were young he sent them to study English, because it was necessary to succeed in life.
For Charito, Training is the cornerstone of his speech and the only way for women to conquer places so far reserved only for men. «I helped my husband, Luis, a lot in his chores. He was a podiatrist and I worked with him in the clinic as a secretary or assistant in whatever he asked me, yes, all for free, without quoting or seeing a hard one, ”he laments.
Face to face with Ayuso
For this old woman who challenges the passage of time with an enviable energy, it is time to recognize what women like her have done for years: «We have always worked harder than men. They used to do it in the office for 8 hours, although we were at home, we did it for 24 hours. Even now, in many cases, it is believed that the woman, even if she works outside the home, is the one who must take care of the home and such things. There is still much left to do”.
Although for this woman originally from Bilbao “we must not go over to reach the extreme points”. And it is explained: «We are going to see, if there are men and women with the same formation, theirs is that they take the best. What I don’t like is that the man now has to lower his head to a woman. What you have to achieve is that we are equal».
She has had to face many macho attitudes that in their youth years were tolerated. «But let’s not go to extremes, now they say you can’t even compliment a pretty girl down the street. I remember that on one occasion, while I was going down Montera street in Madrid, up to four men started yelling at me: ‘‘ Beautiful, you are like La Macarena, long live the mother who bore her ’’. And I went home so happy, the compliments made me very happy », he acknowledges. Of course, what he asks is that no man returns to take advantage of a woman, and that all those who surpass go to jail. “It’s tremendous that there are men who kill them, those are wild, not people,” he says.
With the wisdom brought by years and experiences, both good and bad, that enrich the human being, Charito cautiously observes the world that leaves his granddaughters. «With the struggle that women have starred in these years, I think in general we leave you a more egalitarian world, better, and with less stones in the way than those of my generation. However, there are things that still worry me, such as lack of work ». For now, she will continue to fight from the seat of the City Council she got in May «and I hope that soon I will receive the president of the Community, Isabel Ayuso, to talk about ours, parking, which is very good to discuss feminism but it is not the only thing and I don’t have many years left, ”he says.
The postman and the cabinets
The anecdotes of Charito’s life are endless and he tells them with a grace deserving of a television monologue. She tells us that for three years she was being portrayed with what her husband would later be. He lived in Madrid and she in Bilbao. «I was looking forward to the mailman, who thought that who I was really falling in love with was the mailman, I was waiting for him with a desire and a joy …», he laughs. Then, also laughing out loud that, with the proper respect for her husband, “it was having a closet of my own that led me to want to get married. We were four sisters and we had only one closet for all. I wanted my own and I got it, ”he says.