Rural Women Are Key for Sustainable Development

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Rural Women Are Key for Sustainable Development

Rural women are celebrated every October 15th, yet little do they know about it. Although rural women are essentially considered the backbone of the rural economy, they face multiple economic, social, individual, and household-related challenges. Thus, this day is observed to recognize the essential role and contribution of rural and indigenous women and girls in enhancing agricultural development, eradicating poverty, ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, and improving food security. According to the United Nations (UN), their role has been increasingly recognized.

However, women in the rural areas continue facing poverty, discrimination, inequality, lack of representation, and reduced access to proper education, financial support, infrastructure, and services.
The theme for 2021 day ‘Rural women cultivating good food for all’ focuses on their role in agriculture. Based on FAO’s data, women make up 43 percent of the global agricultural labor force. Despite that, they face discrimination when it comes to equal pay, ownership rights, access to credit, and participation in decision-making entities.

Moreover, rural and indigenous women are key in making progress in terms of social and economic sustainability, environmental conservation, food security, gender equality, agricultural innovations, natural resource management, and climate action.

Giving women the same opportunities as men could raise agricultural production by 2.5 to 4 percent in the poorest regions and the number of malnourished people could be reduced by 12 to 17 percent.
Despite all their contribution, most rural women's labor remains unpaid and invisible.
We are appreciative of the numerous ideas and projects submitted to the Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition over the years that focus on improving the livelihoods and overall wellbeing of rural women.

Photo by Deepak kumar on Unsplash

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