Many Rural Women Suffer From Discrimination Says UN Secretary General António Guterres

International Day of Rural Women

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres tweeted about the plight of rural women on October 15 which is observed as International Day of Rural Women. He wrote in his tweet, “Many rural women suffer from discrimination, systemic racism & structural poverty, despite playing a critical role in food security & nutrition. We must invest in rural women so they can have access to the healthcare, social protection & information services they need.”

What You Should Know

  • Rural women are getting adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The gender pay gap in rural areas is as high as 40% and less than 20% of landholders worldwide are women.
  • Restricted mobility, disrupted supply chains, and increased unpaid and domestic work are some of the many problems rural women are facing.

Recently, the United Nations Women News also shared about the plights of rural women from various corners of the world. Women in rural sectors are playing a gamut of roles like that of a teacher, farmer, entrepreneur and they are acting as a key to building sustainable and progressive societies.

Also Read: India’s Rural Women Show The Way Towards A Green Economy

Rural Women In The Times Of COVID-19

The overall load of work whether it is paid or unpaid has increased for rural women. In a rural household set-up where women are the household in-charge of cleaning, washing, cooking, parenting, and taking care of the elders and the husband it becomes all the more difficult to handle work and home in this pandemic situation. As the amount of workload has increased, the time a woman can give to herself and her health has tabled down.

Adding to their plethora of difficulties is the barrier of insufficient infrastructure. Many women in rural set-up suffer from the problem of short supply of water and sanitation. Moreover, rural women play a pivotal role in agriculture and its various processes but still owning land is a distant dream for them. According to the United Nations, less than 20% of landholders worldwide are women.

According to the UN Women report, “Although rural women grow most of our food, land rights are still a distant dream. As COVID-19 pushes thousands of unemployed migrant workers to return to rural communities, the pressure on land and resources, and the gender gaps in agriculture and food security will grow even more.”

In addition to that rural women are facing problems like restricted mobility, disrupted supply chains, and increased unpaid and domestic work. All these problems need immediate attention and action in the right direction.


International Day of Rural Women

International Day of Rural Women is celebrated on 15 October and the theme for this year is Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.  Women in the rural sector are deeply affected due to the pandemic and therefore we need measures to reduce the care burden and better redistribute it between women and men, and between families and public/commercial services, especially in the most marginalised remote villages.

Also, there is a need to advocate for sufficient infrastructure and services like health, water,  electricity, etc. to support women’s productive and unpaid care and domestic work, which has been intensified by the crisis. Not only this but also improvement in rural women’s living standards and attainment of the target of reducing the pay gap between men and women by 25% by the year 2025 could raise global GDP by 3.9%.

Also Read: Jal Jeevan Mission: PM Modi’s Water Scheme To Focus On Rural Women

Sanskriti Tiwari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.