The United Nations observes October 15 as the International Day of Rural Women, which recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security, and eradicating rural poverty.”
According to the UN, women account for a “substantial proportion” of the agricultural labor force with their work contributing to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.
“Almost a third of women’s employment worldwide is in agriculture,” explained UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “Women cultivate land; collect food, water, and essential fuels; and sustain entire households, but lack equal access to land, finances, equipment, markets, and decision-making power.”
“Listening to rural women and amplifying their voices is central to spreading knowledge about climate change and urging governments, businesses, and community leaders to act,” he added. “As early adopters of new agricultural techniques, first responders in crises, and entrepreneurs of green energy, rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress.”
Among the priorities of the observance include the promotion of political and socio-economic empowerment, ensuring community perspectives are taken into account, addressing healthcare needs, developing economic skills for the community, among other initiatives./WDJ