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The orphanages of eighteenth-century Seville accommodated more boys than girls. This article explores reasons for the discrepancy, arguing that charity dowries were an alternative to institutionalization for young females. Findings are based on analysis of charitable organizations (both orphanages and dowry funds) and contemporary discussions of charity reform, particularly debates over a proposed poorhouse. Beyond explaining the gender disparity at Seville's orphanages, this study challenges common views of gender, confinement, children, and poor relief in Catholic, Mediterranean Europe at the end of the old regime. It also highlights the important role of local players in implementing "enlightened" social welfare reforms.