International Day of Rural Women is observed each year on October 15. The day was established by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, and “recognizes the contribution of rural women and their integral role in rural development and agriculture, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”
Around the world, women living in rural and remote communities work tirelessly to better their families and communities. The UN aims to raise awareness and mobilize global support, for their dedication serves to benefit the entire world economy.
Feeding the World
Both paid and unpaid, in developing and developed nations, rural women play a key role in feeding the population. From production, processing, preparation, distribution, and retail, rural women’s input is far-reaching. Beyond their local markets, farmers contribute to a surprising amount of food products found in supermarkets, touching many of our lives at the most intimate of occasions–meal times.
Yet millions of farmers don’t earn enough to meet the necessary standards of living. And while rural women are integral to the world food system, their value is not equal to men in the same role.
This year focuses on the critical role of gender equality in the context of climate change and calls for improved environmental policies and programs to support rural women.
There is more than enough nutritious food to go around. However, the uneven distribution of resources means too many are forced to go without. The impact of climate change has only exaggerated this problem. It is ironic that those worse off are the farmers at the core of rural agriculture. Those who rely on farming for their livelihood, especially women and girls.
Due to unequal power relations, women earn less income than men and are more likely to face food insecurities. Moreover, these issues not only affect developing nations, but they are also world problems requiring urgent attention.
Empowering Women and Girls
According to a UN report, Beyond Covid-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice, struggles to grow and distribute a diverse range of crops affect the entire global food system.
With government and private sector support, this broken food system can be rebuilt and repaired. Initiatives that aim to empower women and girls and their communities are critical. Such initiatives include programs to strengthen resilience and encourage leadership skills. Also beneficial are bank loans and microloans that help women buy land and crops.
On October 15, the UN shines a spotlight on rural women so that they may equally benefit from their labor. International Day of Rural Women gives a voice to those who are often nameless faces in a global economic machine and acknowledges their role in the world’s future.
– Kristen Rive-Thomson
‘Want to stay up-to-date? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Interested in volunteering with CFG? Let us know
Not able to come to join us in Thailand yet? Consider donating
Not able to donate today? Look for opportunities in your community to work against gender-based violence and human trafficking, as these are universal issues.