This articles discusses aspects of female labour in the strategies developed by farming families from Minas so as to ensure both access to and permanence in farmlands. Case studies have been carried out in two communities- one of which being an old constitution, Boa Vista, in Itaguara, MG, the other being a newly consituted unit, Assentamento Dom Orione, in Betim, MG- where it was possible to observe the importance of women’s role with their struggle and labor in the composition of family strategies. The Boa Vista community has been experiencing changes in the families’ production dynamics due to the decline in income from farming activities, causing handcraft work to gain greater and greater economic importance. Such activity involves all family members, but it is the women who outstand for coordinating the related activities and for being, themselves, the artisans, the connoisseurs of the office. The new importance of handcraft work done in loomshas redefined gender relations in and out of the family nucleus. However, that does not bring deeper changes in cultural patterns. In spite of modifying men and women, they not only keep, but also reaffirm gender relations, female subordination included. As for the life history of the families from Assentamento Dom Orione brings to light aspects of alterations in women’s bahaviour patterns and roles. Of rural origin, these families have undergone intense migratory processes, motivated by the search for land and work. Women stood for labour force of communitary organization and played a fundamental role in children raising and family care. It is important to mention that the community in question is located in the metropolitan boundaries of Belo Horizonte, and the families are devoted mainly to farming activities, the non-farming activities performed by them not being the chief ones. Thus, female farm work becomes auxiliary and subordinated to men’s. Besides, women’s participation in the gestion of the community is of secondary importance, occupying positions of smaller political strength. The farming environment in this rural space which lies next to the urban space strongly controls the role played by women.


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