Rural women are critical to the success of the 17 Global Goals

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14.10.2015 – 15th October marks the International Day of Rural Women. 

A quarter of the total world population is rural women who depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. Yet rural women’s lives are impacted by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, lack of healthcare, and global economic crises.

76% of the extreme poor live in rural areas. In developing countries, women living in the rural areas represent about 43% of the agricultural labor force. It is therefore essential to recognize the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

Empowering women farmers therefore is critical for fighting hunger. Ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty, and make rural women critical for the success of the new Sustainable Development agenda for 2030.

"The new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have gender equality and women’s empowerment at their core, and include a target to ‘double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women.' Indeed rural women are critical to the success of almost all of the 17 SDGs." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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To secure the wellbeing of the rural women, national policies need to be created to promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is crucial to pursue the political and socio-economic empowerment of rural women while supporting their full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels. Furthermore, investing in and strengthening efforts to meet the basic needs of rural women through access to infrastructure including but not limited to energy and transport, water supply and sanitation, affordable housing, education and literacy programmes, health and social support measures are needed. 


UNRIC’s Related Links:


• International Day of Rural Women 

Women and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

• Resolution adopted by the General Assembly for the improvement of the situation of women in rural areas (2009)

Photo Credits:

•   Cover: UN Photo/x 

•   Second: UN Photo/J Robaton