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International Rural Women’s Day: What is it and Why is it Important?

By Grace Pawsey

What is International Rural Women’s Day?

International Rural Women’s Day is a United Nations initiative to commemorate all rural women and girls that contribute significantly to agriculture, food security, land, natural resource management and domestic care work all around the world. Despite women and girls’ critical contributions to rural communities, rural women continue to lag behind rural men and urban women on almost all global gender and development indicators.

This year, the International Day of Rural Women was held on the 15th October 2019, and had the theme of “Rural women and girls building climate resilience”. This theme highlights the role that rural women play in building resilience to face the climate crisis that continues to grow today. 1 in 3 employed women globally work in agriculture, and 80% of households without a water system rely on women and girls for water collection. As stated by the United Nations for this years theme; “one of the most effective ways to achieve progress on the threats posed by climate change is addressing gender inequality. Empowered women have greater capacity to respond to climate change and they play important roles in adopting low-carbon technologies, spreading knowledge about climate change, and urging action.”

"The empowerment of rural women and girls is essential to building a prosperous, equitable and peaceful future for all on a healthy planet." — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Why Is The Day Important?

International Days are a powerful advocacy tool, and aim to educate the public on issues of concern and global problems as well as celebrate and reinforce the achievements of humanity. This International Day of the Woman was an incredible opportunity for us to acknowledge the work of rural women all over the world, while also spreading awareness on gender equality in the climate crisis. On the International Day of Rural Women, UN Women called for action to support rural women and girls in order to grow their capacities to respond to climate change through agricultural production, food security, and natural resources management.


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