Featured Image: Photo by Gyan Shahane on Unsplash.
15 October is the United Nations-designated International Day of Rural Women. It is a day to highlight the critical role that women play in the food chain: in production, storage, marketing, and finally the preparation of food for the family.
Image: Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash.
As the Indian woman sociologist, Bina Agarwal, has written.
“The typical rural woman works twelve to fifteen hours a day – gathering firewood and water, growing food, collecting fodder and tending domestic animals, cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the sick or elderly. In severely deforested areas, it may take her four or five hours just to gather enough wood to cook the evening meal.”
Thus rural women’s roles as managers of their environment and providers for their family must be fully recognized, valued, and supported. Increasing women’s access to income, credit, land titles and other resources is essential to eradicating poverty and improving welfare.
However, in many parts of the world, the basic rural biological systems – forests, grasslands, croplands, and rivers are deteriorating due to a variety of factors: population pressure, overuse, excessive production for export, and pollution. The causes for this deterioration will vary from one micro-region to another.
Bina Agarwal, receiving a Balzan Prize on 17 November 2017, in Bern (Switzerland). By Peter Mosimann, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.
Promoting gender equality is an important aspect of a development strategy that seeks to enable all people.
Therefore, it is important to look at some of the blocks and drawbacks that prevent better food production and to analyse the persistent inequalities and discrimination that women face at the village level. Promoting gender equality is an important aspect of a development strategy that seeks to enable all people – women and men alike – to improve their standard of living.
Modification of age-old patterns of agriculture, forest management, and the herding of animals is difficult. Changes to meet larger populations and to prevent harmful uses of land takes time and skilful education methods. There is a need to present information in ways that people can use in as short a time as possible. Education must be coupled with ways of organizing for community cooperation and participation in decision-making.
Today, half of the world’s population live in cities and larger towns (25,000 or more).
Rural aspirations are also expressed in mobility. Throughout the world, there is migration from rural areas to cities and larger towns. Will these rural hopes be channelled into creative social transformation or will rural migrants swell the slums and shantytowns there to dwell in despair? What has been the experiences to prepare rural youth for urban life and to help return of youth from urban to rural areas?
Today, half of the world’s population live in cities and larger towns (25,000 or more) The movement of people from the countryside into cities is a demographic trend that is likely to continue into the future. As a result, the rural areas of a country are often not a high political prioroty, and rural women even less. Thus the International Day of Rural Women should be a time to consider in depth the challenges facing rural women and the ways to meet these challenges.
René Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.