Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Rural Women, observed on 15 October:
The empowerment of rural women and girls is essential to building a prosperous, equitable and peaceful future for all on a healthy planet. It is needed for achieving gender equality, ensuring decent work for all, eradicating poverty and hunger, and taking climate action. Yet, rural women and girls remain disproportionately affected by poverty, inequality, exclusion and the effects of climate change.
On this International Day of Rural Women, I call on countries to take action to ensure that rural women and girls fully enjoy their human rights. Those include the right to land and security of land tenure; to adequate food and nutrition; to a life free of all forms of violence, discrimination and harmful practices; to the highest attainable standard of health, including sexual and reproductive health; and to quality, affordable and accessible education throughout their lives.
Achieving this requires investment, legal and policy reforms and the inclusion of rural women in the decisions that affect their lives. By investing in the well-being, livelihoods and resilience of rural women and girls, we make progress for all.