Background

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.”

For that reason, the resolution urges Member States, in collaboration with the organizations of the United Nations and civil society, as appropriate, to continue their efforts to implement the outcome of and to ensure an integrated and coordinated follow-up to United Nations conferences and summits, including their reviews, and to attach greater importance to the improvement of the situation of rural women, including indigenous women, in their national, regional and global development strategies by, inter alia:

  1. Creating an enabling environment for improving the situation of rural women and ensuring systematic attention to their needs, priorities and contributions;
  2. Pursuing the political and socio-economic empowerment of rural women and supporting their full and equal participation in decision-making at all levels;
  3. Promoting consultation with and the participation of rural women, including indigenous women and women with disabilities, through their organizations and networks, in the design, development and implementation of gender equality and rural development programmes and strategies;
  4. Ensuring that the perspectives of rural women are taken into account and that they participate in the design, implementation, follow-up and evaluation of policies and activities related to emergencies, including natural disasters, humanitarian assistance, peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction;
  5. Integrating a gender perspective into the design, implementation, followup and evaluation of development policies and programmes;
  6. Investing in and strengthening efforts to meet the basic needs of rural women through improved availability, access to and use of critical rural infrastructure, such as energy and transport;
  7. Addressing the specific health needs of rural women and taking concrete measures to enhance and provide access to the highest attainable standards of health for women in rural areas, including in such areas of sexual and reproductive health as pre- and post-natal health care, emergency obstetric care, family planning information and increasing knowledge, awareness and support for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS;
  8. Designing and implementing national policies that promote and protect the enjoyment by rural women and girls of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and creating an environment that does not tolerate violations of their rights, including domestic violence, sexual violence and all other forms of genderbased violence;
  9. Ensuring that the rights of older women in rural areas are taken into account with regard to their equal access to basic social services, appropriate social protection/social security measures, equal access to and control of economic resources;
  10. Developing specific assistance programmes and advisory services to promote economic skills of rural women in banking, modern trading and financial procedures and providing microcredit and other financial and business services to a greater number of women in rural areas, in particular female-headed households, for their economic empowerment;
  11. Mobilizing resources, including at the national level and through official development assistance, for increasing women’s access to existing savings and credit schemes, as well as targeted programmes that provide women with capital, knowledge and tools that enhance their economic capacities;
  12. Integrating increased employment opportunities for rural women into all international and national development strategies and poverty eradication strategies;
  13. Taking steps towards ensuring that women’s unpaid work and contributions to on-farm and off-farm production, including income generated in the informal sector, are recognized and supporting remunerative non-agricultural employment of rural women, improving working conditions and increasing access to productive resources;
  14. Promoting programmes to enable rural women and men to reconcile their work and family responsibilities and to encourage men to share equally with women household and childcare responsibilities;
  15. Considering the adoption, where appropriate, of national legislation to protect the knowledge, innovations and practices of women in indigenous and local communities relating to traditional medicines, biodiversity and indigenous technologies;
  16. Addressing the lack of timely, reliable and sex-disaggregated data, including by intensifying efforts to include women’s unpaid work in official statistics, and developing a systematic and comparative research base on rural women that will inform policy and programme decisions;
  17. Designing and revising laws to ensure that, where private ownership of land and property exists, rural women are accorded full and equal rights to own land and other property, including through the right to inheritance, and undertaking administrative reforms and other necessary measures to give women the same right as men to credit, capital, appropriate technologies and access to markets and information;
  18. Supporting a gender-sensitive education system that considers the specific needs of rural women in order to eliminate gender stereotypes and discriminatory tendencies affecting them.