Make a difference for rural women and girls

This year’s International Day of Rural Women theme is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”.

©FAO/Nicoletta Forlano


For International Day of  Rural Women marked globally on 15 October, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is challenging people to make a difference for all rural women and girls, especially considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In some African countries, containment measures related to the pandemic have affected rural women’s income-generating activities, reducing economic opportunities and access to nutritious foods, while also increasing women’s workloads and the risks of gender-based violence.

“Building rural women and girls resilience and empowering them to be equal agents for development in Africa is an urgent imperative now more than ever,” said Abebe Haile-Gabriel, FAO Assistance Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, ahead of International Day Rural Women. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made glaringly clear that while women play a key role inside the house through all the care and domestic functions they perform and outside through their contribution to rural households’ livelihoods, they often bear the biggest brunt of crises and are not consulted in reconstruction efforts,” he said.

While rural women are often at the forefront of crisis response, leveraging their resourcefulness and creativity, as evidenced during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are often not at the table when it comes to decision-making. Building back better needs to include more rural women and girls and their organizations in planning and decision-making.

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