“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development promises to leave no one behind. To deliver on that, we must help rural women to thrive, and to access the support and information they need, so that they can fulfill their potential without leaving their communities.”- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
The International Day of Rural Women was first observed on 15th October 2008 after a resolution was passed in the UN General Assembly on 18th December 2007. The UN resolution 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”. The idea was initially put forth in 1995 at the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China. The dignitaries at conference suggested to celebrate October 15 as the “World Rural Women’s Day” to honor the significant role of rural women in food production and food security worldwide.
Estimates suggests that rural women constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the total agricultural labor workforce across the world. They support the world food requirement by growing, processing, and preparing much of the food. However, off late they are severely effected by the climate change and environmental degradation like rising temperature, erratic weather conditions, which is forcing them to migrate to urban areas for alternate livelihood opportunities. This increased migration is creating instability for their families and communities hence causing hindrance in their growth and development. Natural disasters like drought, flood, tornadoes etc. add on to the suffering of rural women who are already suffering from the challenges like low access to food, education and health-care facilities. Hence, this year the International Day for Rural Women and World Food Day will focus jointly on the theme “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too”.
Incorporating amendments in the policies related to women like regulating payments and lowering the transaction costs can provide economic empowerment to women. For example, providing training on climate-resilient agriculture and technology can embark a positive change in their lives and empower them to build a strong future.
Fiinovation supports the fact that empowering rural women is an important pre-requisite to fulfill the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals which is focused to end poverty and hunger, achieve food security, and empower rural women. Therefore, apart from the government, Fiinovation also urges the corporations to invest towards the development of rural women under their corporate social responsibility.
By Manisha Bhatia
Media & Communications, Fiinovation