Rural Women Empowerment – No One Left Behind

Today, October 15th marks the UN International Day of Rural Women. Women empowerment has been a recurring theme in the contemporary dialogue for decades. Undoubtedly, there has been a lot of progress in that direction but is not entirely true for women in rural areas.

Women in Agriculture

The world’s poorest 70% live in rural areas relying on agriculture. At the same time, women amount 43% of the agricultural workforce worldwide. This amount varies across regions or even based on age and social class for the same area. All in all, setting aside stereotypes on women and manual labor, we understand that women play a crucial role in agricultural. Also, these rural communities provide limited work opportunities with agriculture being the only viable option. However, women in those areas are more vulnerable, since these communities are more reluctant to change. Based on that, rural women empowerment is of utmost importance.

Gender Issues in Rural Areas

Gender issues are still at large worldwide. Undoubtedly, there have been remarkable steps towards gender equality. Nevertheless, certain parts of the world seem to be more resistant to that change, especially in rural areas. One major problem that women face is that of labor burden. That burden most of the times exceeds that of men. In communities like these, women provide for their family in more ways than just their labor. Most of the times they are also responsible for household duties like food preparation or the collection of fuel and water. These unpaid household responsibilities come on top of their underpaid labor for the same work as men.

Furthermore, despite women’s key role in agriculture, they are less likely than men to possess land, or they are of lesser quality. In many societies, women tend to have smaller animals such as goats, poultry and sheep. On the opposite, men traditionally own more valuable herds and cattle. As a result of the above, the burden of their labor leads to them having fewer hours to devote to their education or personal development. For this reason, rural women empowerment is crucial to break this vicious cycle.

Our Work

As per the iED’s commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women, we have developed relevant European projects in the past. Check out the RWSFF : Rural Women to Sustainable Food and Farming – Fresh Food from Farm to Table where through rural women empowerment, we aim at food security and sustainability. The upskilling of youth to become new entrepreneurs in rural communities with our project EYE in Rural: The Enhancement of youth entrepreneurship in rural. Also, the Prosoa Rural: Promoting Social Awareness in Rural Area project that raises the awareness of young people on the importance of traditions, along with the promotion of social entrepreneurship. Last but not least, RURAL TREASURES: Social entrepreneurship-the heart of rural development and LIVERUR: Living Lab research concept in Rural Areas aiming at the creation of jobs and value-added in rural communities.

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Vasilis Bouronikos
Content & Communication Manager

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