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International Day of Rural Women: despite their prominence in agriculture, women still face discrimination

“Empowering rural women is crucial for ending hunger and poverty. By denying women rights and opportunities, we deny their children and societies a better future. This is why the United Nations recently launched a programme to empower rural women and enhance food security.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message for the International Day of Rural Women

rural womenBrasília, October 15, 2003 – Today the United Nations celebrates the fifth International Day for Rural Women. The date was created to remind the global population the crucial role women play in rural economies in developed and developing countries. Women usually participate in crop production, livestock care, whilst also working with domestic and off-farm activities, such as providing food, water and fuel, which are crucial to the survival of their families, as well as they also take care of children, the elder and the sick.

Moreover, rural women assist in reducing the risk of disaster in their communities, as they participate in the production of the world’s food, care for the environment and take care of others. However, they still face discrimination, whereby most women around the globe do not have access to decent wage employment, as well as the majority of rural women do not own the land they farm, they face barriers in financial services that could assist them in lifting out of poverty, and they live without basic nutrition, health services and sources of water or sanitation.

As the work being done by rural women everywhere is crucial, the International Day of the Rural Women was created to acknowledge their prominence in rural areas and family farms, which contributes to agricultural and rural development, as well as to improving food security and eradicating rural poverty, present in the Millennium Development Goals Agenda.

The UN recognizes that empowering women plays a crucial role in the fight against poverty and hunger, since when women are deprived from rights and opportunities, their children are also being excluded, thereby harming their chances of a better future.

Hence, the UN is calling everyone to support rural women to make their voices heard and assist them in participating in the decision-making processes, which would in turn propel sustainable development, in efforts protect their rights and improve their status as equal members of society, as well as to respond to their local needs and enable them to reach their full potential for the benefit of all.

To learn more about family farms, Social Protection in rural areas in the developing world and the crucial role of women in rural areas, access IPC-IG’s publications:

One Pager #19 – Women’s earning power and wellbeing

One Pager #20 – The Gender Pay Gap over Women’s Working Lifetime

One Pager #49 – Latin America’s Progress on Gender Equality: Poor Women Workers Are Still Left Behind

One Pager #88 – Age and Gender Bias in Workloads During the Lifecycle: Evidence from Rural Ghana

One Pager #101 – Water Supply in Rural Ghana: Do Women Benefit?

One Pager # 150 – Simulating the Impacts of Rural Social Cash Transfers and Farmer’s Subsidies in Malawi and Ghana

One Pager #130 – Providing Incentives to Women Farmers for Sustainable Food Production

One Pager #167 – Regression Discontinuity Impacts with an Implicit Index: Evaluating El Salvador’s Comunidades Solidarias Rurales Transfer Programme

Research Brief #33 – Food Security, Women Smallholders and Climate Change in Caribbean SIDS

Research Brief #34 – Greening the Economy and Increasing Economic Equity for Women Farmers in Madagascar

Research Brief #37 – Guatemala and Integrated Rural Development: Towards Inclusive Growth in the Rural Sector

Working Paper #20 – Poverty Among Women in Latin America: Feminization or Over-representation?  

Working Paper #59 – The Implications of Water and Electricity Supply for the Time Allocation of Women in Rural Ghana

Working Paper #61 – A Heterogeneity Analysis of the Bolsa Família Programme Effect on Men and Women’s Work Supply

Working Paper #64 – Market Alternatives for Smallholder Farmers in Food Security Initiatives: Lessons from the Brazilian Food Acquisition Programme  


Want to know more about how empowering women farmers is crucial for fighting hunger? Watch this video with Michelle Bachelet, Director of UN Women.

The International Day of the Rural Women was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, which recognized “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”

By Tamara Santos

Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=15679

Posted by on Oct 15 2013. Filed under Inclusive Growth around the world, News, Rural & Sustainable Development, Slider. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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