This year, this Day comes on the heels of an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines, propelled by a rising determination for change. People around the world are mobilising for a future that is more equal.
IWD2018 is an opportunity to consider how this momentum can be transformed into action, in order to empower women in all settings, rural and urban. It is also a chance to recognise and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and support them in realising their full potential.
Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, IWD 2018 will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women. They make up over a quarter of the world population and the majority of the 43 percent of women in the global agricultural labour force.
Many rural women till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations, ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of deep seated gender inequalities and discrimination, rural women fare worse than rural men or urban women. E.g. less than 20 percent of landholders worldwide are women. While the global pay gap between men and women stands at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 percent. There is a lack of infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection. These women are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
To make the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality, to leave no one behind, needs urgent action in rural areas, to ensure:
- an adequate standard of living
- a life free of violence and harmful practices for rural women
- their access to land and productive assets
- food security and nutrition
- decent work
- education and health care.
Rural women and those organisations, communities and individuals supporting them, represent an enormous potential. Together they are on the move to claim their rights and improve their livelihoods and well-being.
How will you celebrate #IWD2018?