The theme for this International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19,” to create awareness of rural women’s struggles, their needs, and their critical and key role in our society.
At OBE Organic, we’ve contributed in a number of ways to improve gender empowerment.
This is an important day for those in the industry to reflect and celebrate the vital role that women internationally play in agricultural production, food security, and natural resources management.
The good news is that the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities has been increasingly recognized.
“Women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, including informal work, and perform the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work within families and households in rural areas.
They make significant contributions to agricultural production, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.” (United Nations, 2020)
2019 Highlights with the OBE Organic team
- Rural women produce more than one-half of the world’s food. (FAO)
- If women in rural areas had the same access to resources (agricultural assets, education, and markets) as men, agricultural production could be increased, and the number of hungry people would be reduced by 100-150 million.(FAO)
- Rural women provide up to 90 per cent of rice cultivation in South-East Asia and produce as much as 80 per cent of basic foodstuffs for household consumption and for sale in sub-Saharan Africa. (FAO)
- Rural women, on average, are paid 25 per cent less than men, and they typically work longer hours. (International Labour Office)
So, what is the solution? Governments and society can work together to pay closer attention to the needs of rural woman and invest in them.
Game changing initiatives include:
- Pursuing the political and socio-economic empowerment of rural women and supporting their full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels
- Including their voices when creating new policies and regulations
- Developing specific assistance programs and advisory services to promote economic skills of rural women in banking, modern trading and financial procedures.
- Providing microcredit and other financial and business services
- Designing laws to ensure that rural women are accorded full and equal rights to own land and other property
Let’s keep challenging norms and barriers. Let’s make sure women are front of mind, inside and outside the industry. Because having real gender diversity is not just about balance, it’s fundamental to our future.