– Vivian Chieh
Today we celebrate International Day of Rural Women with an emphasis on the theme: “Rural women and girls building resilience”. This theme reminds us that with a critical need to address climate change, we should not forget the invaluable impact that rural women and girls have on building resilience. The statistics say that 1 in every 3 employed women works in agriculture, and this should be enough to show us how their contribution is undeniable. Women account for a considerable proportion of the agricultural labor force. Rural women and girls have been at the frontline when natural resources and agriculture are threatened, leading in supporting food security and nutrition, and managing natural resource management.
Albeit, women and girls in rural areas still fall as victims of multidimensional poverty. Although extreme poverty has been indicated to have declined globally, those who continue to live in marginalized conditions of poverty are heavily located in rural areas. Thus, poverty prevalent in rural areas is incomparable to urban areas, reaching a high difference. In rural households, women’s decision-making power and political participation are heavily restricted by discriminatory social norms and structural barriers. Rural areas make it difficult for women and girls to have equal access to education, public services and infrastructure, sufficient health care such as water and sanitation. All in all, yet rural women and girls’ labor still remains unpaid or invisible!
Although there has been progress and commitments made towards gender equality in the climate change policy, progress has been slow. Therefore we have today, the International Day of Rural Women to call for action to support rural women and girls with their capacities to respond to climate change through agricultural and natural resources management, and to not let the world forget about the rural women and girls.