In Ribeira da Barca, the extraction of aggregates is an almost exclusively female activity. The women represent 30.2% of single parent families in the country (source: INE, 2017) and carry out the role of carers and breadwinners.
In a territory where some infrastructures are still under development or being consolidated, it falls to the women to fetch wood for the fires used for cooking and to collect water for daily domestic use. Despite the decrease in demand for natural aggregates, the extraction of these is the main source of income, needed to sustain the households. It is not uncommon however, for months to go by before a "galucho" of sand is sold.
For the younger women, the lack of prospects can often lead to them dropping out of school and teenage pregnancies, repeating their mother's and grandmother's history and perpetuating their role in the community. Their difficult lives and constant fight for survival, alongside the physical demands, is reflected in their physiognomy from early on. It is a harsh reality, where fragile health or simple discourses revealing a lack of dreams and ambitions, are often present.