WomenWatch - Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

Overview: Decent Work

UN Women
(Photo: UN Women/Claudio Vasquez Bianchi)

Agricultural and rural non-farm employment play a critical role in rural development, food security, poverty reduction and rural women's economic empowerment. Yet, in many rural areas, work as unpaid contributing family members and agricultural wage labour are often the only employment option available to poor rural women. Efforts to create more and better jobs for rural women through promoting gender equitable enforcement of labour standards; eliminating discrimination against women in rural labour markets and supporting their access to fair wages and better jobs; improving occupational safety and health and social protection, and strengthening rural women's voice in social dialogue with governments, employers and workers are crucial in efforts to strengthen rural women's economic empowerment.

ILO collaborates with FAO and IFAD on rural employment and decent work, child labour prevention in agriculture and youth employment. In 2010, the three agencies produced a report entitled "Gender dimensions of agriculture and rural employment: Differentiated pathways out of poverty", which focused on the trends, challenges and policy options to promote decent rural employment for both women and men. In November 2011, IFAD hosted the Expert and Inter-agency Technical Meeting on Broadening Coherence and Collaboration for Rural Development through Employment and Decent Work, co-organized by ILO and UN DESA and in cooperation with FAO and IFAD. In India, UN Women strengthens the capacity of marginalised and excluded women's groups to claim their rights to employment and benefit equally from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. It also sensitizes Government officials delivering better employment services to rural women.