‘Nothing about women without us’ – Xiomara Castro, President of Honduras

The health of Portuguese women over 65 is worse than men, the 2021 report from the European Institute for Gender Equality claims. Only 12% assess their health positively (versus 18% in men) and 68% declare to have limitations in daily activities (56% in men). Healthy life expectancy in Portugal is 72 years for women, one year less than for men!

The report also looked at the issue of domestic violence and revealed that every two in three Portuguese women are victims in the domestic space, confirming the recent statement of UN Secretary-General António Guterres that ‘lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing Covid-19 but can trap women with abusive partners’.

It is estimated that around 6,500 ethnic-minority women over 15 years of age might have been subjected to female genital mutilation. Last year health Portuguese professionals detected 101 cases. The practice is considered a crime and punishable by a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

Women face greater barriers in their careers than men and the labor market should become more inclusive. These are the main conclusions of the study Diversity & Inclusion last summer. Two-third of working women view they have barriers in their professional progression whereby gender issues continue to be the most penalizing factor. Further aspects in which women feel discriminated against in their careers are remuneration (less payment for the same work) and ethnicity (more job rejections in non-Caucasian women).

Covid-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage women. Sectors most affected by the pandemic are those with a high level of women workers, including the restaurant and hospitality business as well as the travel sector. 

In 2020, 35 women were murdered, 19 gender-based. There were also more than 50 femicide attempts, according to the Observatory of Murdered Women. In the first 10 months of this year already 14 women lost their lives.

Since domestic violence became a public crime in 2000, the police reported more than 215,000 cases in the last 20 years. Although overall the number of complaints remained the same, the number of detainees increased in the last two years by almost a third.

In the next blog – scheduled for January 2022 – you will find out that not all is doom and gloom with women in Portugal.

BOAS FESTAS               HAPPY HOLIDAYS                   (pic Público/Sapo)

Salt is the sea unable to return to the sky’

Salt is a mineral primarily composed of sodium chloride (NaCl). It either exists in a crystalline form – known as rock salt – or is diluted in seawater.
In ancient times – when it was a rare and precious commodity – salt was used as part of the Roman soldier’s wage. His monthly allowance was called ‘salarium’ (from the Latin word sal), which later became salary, a word still used as payment for work.

Salting always has been a well-known method of food preservation and archaeological evidence of fish preservation in southern Portugal dates back to the Phoenicians (7th century BC). Sea salt is also mentioned in the Vinaya Pikata, a Buddhist scripture from the 5th century BC.

Most salt in the world is mined and results from extracting natural salt deposits out of the ground, usually in the form of halite (also known as rock salt). Salzburg in Austria was named ‘City of Salt’ because of its mines. Ancient China (3rd century BC) was one of the earliest civilizations with trade in mined salt.

Sea salt is harvested in shallow pans by the evaporation of seawater. A thousand liters of fresh seawater provide around 23 kg of salt. Traditional salt production in Portugal mainly occurs in the South, between Olhão and the Guadiana river, bordering Spain. The industry flourished in the 1970s and 80s but almost disappeared after the collapse of the Algarve fish canning industry.

Artisanal sea salt crystallizes at the bottom of rectangular salt pans (salinas) and is raked into piles with a wooden rake called rodo every 3-4 weeks.

Flor de Sal (flower of salt) – similar to the French Fleur de Sel – is the salt made
of thin floating, ultra-white and friable crystals that form on the surface of the water when in the salt pan reaches super saline conditions.

The delicate crystals are manually skimmed from the surface with handcrafted butterfly-shaped sieves called barboletas. Flor has a grain structure, soft taste, high mineral content, and is popular in culinary circles.

The European Commission recently draw up new specifications in which almost all kinds of salt – including mine salt –  is labeled ‘organic’. This step has led to strong protests from salt producers in Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, and Slovene, who are organized in the European Federation of Hand-Harvested Sea Salt Producers.

‘Due to how it is produced, mine salt should not receive the organic quality seal’, declares a Federation spokesman. ‘This would leave many artisanal producers out of business as they would be unable to compete with the huge amounts of salt produced industrially at low costs.’

Gourmets believe sea salt tastes better than ordinary table salt and that Portuguese salt it is one of the best artisan salt you can buy, especially as a Christmas gift.

Stay healthy                          Fique saudável            (pic Ptres/Ptnews)