On weekends, so-called "women's caravans", buses with women who want to find a spouse, leave from large Spanish cities for the outback.
Many villages in remote areas of Spain have been depopulated in recent decades, and the small population is dominated by men. These are mainly farmers and agricultural workers. Well, in large cities, on the contrary, there is an excess of women.
Hence the initiative, born back in the 80s of the last century - to correct the demographic situation by organizing the acquaintances of lonely male villagers with townspeople - and received the name "female caravans". It continues to be carried out by public organizations existing in large Spanish cities.
American film as a source of inspiration.
The initiator of the "women's caravans" was made in 1985 by the head of the mountain village of Plan, which is located in the northern Spanish province of Huesca, Gabriela Rospide, an employee of the Madrid Center for Sociological Research, told DW.
According to her, he borrowed the idea from the film by American director William Wellman Westward the Women, which ran under the title "The Women's Caravan" at the Spanish box office. The story of how a group of brave American women in the mid-19th century traveled across the country to suit suitors in California inspired the mayor. He went to Madrid and brought about a hundred women from there. After that, 33 weddings were played in the village.
The sociologist also explained that the massive outflow of young women from the hinterland to the cities and resort villages of the sea coast began in Spain in the 60s of the last century in connection with the emergence and rapid growth of the foreign tourism and recreation industry. The opportunity to earn money as waitresses, saleswomen or maids continues to attract many rural women to this day. But men, as a rule, have to stay at home in order to maintain the farm inherited from their parents.
There are quite a lot of organizations providing services for "husband selection", and the result and work - hundreds of marriages. "Caravans" are organized several times a month, usually involving women between the ages of 30 and 60. Before organizing the next trip, the agents find out who is interested in it and where and is ready to arrange a reception for the women. After that, a bus is ordered. The host, a male team, must organize a dinner and then dance, which usually lasts until two in the morning, after which the women return to Madrid.
According to the participants, they are attracted by the atmosphere of the meetings organized by the association: "everything is very serious, no liberties" and the men who accept "caravans" have "the most serious intentions."
It is worth noting that the "women's caravans" occasionally draw criticism from various radical feminist groups. Because it “degrades the dignity of women” and “damages gender equality”.
To which the "caravan women" invariably declare that "they do not feel humiliated, since the association gives them hope for the future and the opportunity to arrange their lives."