World Rural Women's Day - 15th October
A global awareness and information campaign has been launched to bring rural women - the world's invisible workers - into the limelight on 15 October for the second annual World Rural Women's Day.
In many countries, the plight of rural women is worsening, as young and able-bodied men leave for the cities in search of work. The women left behind struggle to raise families and manage farms alone. Today in some regions of Africa, 60 percent of households are headed by women.
The message on 15 October 1997 - the day before World Food Day - is that investing in rural women means investing in food security. A cost-benefit analysis carried out by the World Bank indicates that investment in educating women and girls has the highest rate of return of any possible type of investment in developing nations. Its results include higher productivity, slower population growth, reduced child mortality rates and increased awareness and use of environmental protection measures. Research done in Kenya showed that women farmers who had finished their primary education earned 24 percent more than those who had not.
As part of the Rural Women's Day observances, an international symposium on the theme "Invest in Rural Women through Training and Information" will be held at FAO headquarters in Rome. The Symposium is billed as:
The idea of an annual Rural Women's Day was launched at the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. This year it will be celebrated in some 50 countries around the world.
15 October 1997