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International Day of Rural Women
15 October

"We must enforce and protect the rights of rural women. When women have access to land, there are improvements in household welfare, agricultural productivity and gender equality. And greater progress is made against poverty, gender-based violence and HIV/ AIDS. It makes everybody better off."

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Message for the International Day of Rural Women

Three women plant seeds at a farm

Three women plant seeds at a farm in Chimaltenango,
Guatemala. Photo: Maria Fleischmann / World Bank

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.”

Rural women play a critical role in the rural economies of both developed and developing countries. In most parts of the developing world they participate in crop production and livestock care, provide food, water and fuel for their families, and engage in off-farm activities to diversify their families’ livelihoods. In addition, they carry out vital functions in caring for children, older persons and the sick.

The theme for the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (4 to 15 March 2013) is: "Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls."

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