Ports, connections, careers and life trajectories
We know that one does not need to go to the sea to be part of maritime workforce. This is particularly true in port settings. For women, work, career and entrepreneurial opportunities in a port (city) included roles such as moneylender, innkeeper, smuggler, journey[wo]man – also at the port or ship yards – and, last but not least, sex workers. However, ports’ women are also traders, travellers, explorers, and adventurers too. Port/emporium cities are also very “dense” social and economic environments. Here connections, genders, social class and inclusion/exclusion mechanisms from one of the “insider clubs” was of pivotal importance. Albeit, in this type of context (with a few exceptions) the wives of male stakeholders hardly played a prominent socioeconomic role in the public arena, they were the undisputed queens of the private sphere. Domesticity was their domain, there they were entrusted with weaving the socio, economic, cultural – and even political – relational fabric that their men (i.e., husbands, brothers, and sons) would “wear” in public.