Rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, make up over a quarter of the total world population. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security.
Bearing in mind that 76 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas, 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 first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. This new international day, established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, 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 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