International Day of Rural Women

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honors the role of rural women on October 15 each year. It recognizes rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development worldwide.

The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on October 15, 2008. This day recognizes the role of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

The idea of honoring rural women with a special day was put forward at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995.

It was suggested that October 15 be celebrated as “World Rural Women’s Day,” which is the eve of World Food Day, to highlight rural women’s role in food production and food security. “World Rural Women’s Day” was previously celebrated across the world for more than a decade before it was officially a UN observance.

The crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing, has been increasingly recognized.

Women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, including informal work, and perform the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work within families and households in rural areas.

They make significant contributions to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.

Even so, women and girls in rural areas suffer disproportionately from multi-dimensional poverty. While extreme poverty has declined globally, the world’s 1 billion people who continue to live in unacceptable conditions of poverty are heavily concentrated in rural areas.

Photo courtesy of Basilica.ro / Raluca Ene

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