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Rural women are vital around the world as they provide food sources for their communities, build into environmental protection through climate resistance, and grow their local economies. However, in certain places there are gender inequalities including social norms and discriminatory laws that mean the full potential of rural women is restricted and minimized. 

International Day of Rural Women is here to shine a light on the critical role these women play and raise the standards of the way these women are treated in every corner of the globe.

History of International Day of Rural Women

The inaugural celebration of the International Day of Rural Women was established through the world of the United Nations General Assembly in 2008. The purpose of setting aside this day is to acknowledge the vital impact that rural women make on the world. According to the UN, each year this day offers a fresh opportunity to commit to different ways of organizing the world by building on the Feminist Plan and allowing rural women to benefit equally from their hard work of providing food for all.

Each year, a different theme or motto sets the tone for this day to provide focus on the important points about rural women that are featured for the coming year.

Themes for past years of the International Day of Rural Women have included:

  • Rural Women Confront the Global Cost-of-Living Crisis (2023)
  • Rural Women, Key for a World Free from Hunger and Poverty (2022)
  • Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All (2021)
  • Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience (2019)

How to Celebrate International Day of Rural Women

From education issues to health concerns, from unequal rights to income insecurity, rural women face a number of challenges in their daily lives. International Day of Rural Women seeks to grow interest and support for this important topic. Consider some of these ways to join in on the day:

Learn Facts About Rural Women 

Get connected with the International Day of Rural Women by growing in knowledge and then sharing with others to raise awareness about the importance of this day. Interested parties can increase their information base by starting with some of these facts provided by the UN:

  • Agriculture remains the most vital sector of employment for women in developing countries and rural areas

  • Rural women are often left unprotected socially or through labor rights, leaving them with a lower standard of living

  • Less than 15% of the world’s agricultural land holders are women, resulting in income insecurity and reduced empowerment

  • Girls from poor rural areas are 50% more likely to be married before age 18, compared to wealthier urban girls, raising barriers to education, employment and creating other health risks

Enjoy Stories About Rural Women 

People who live in areas that are more urban or suburban may have difficulty connecting with the ideas surrounding the importance of the International Day of Rural Women, particularly those on the other side of the world. With this in mind, the United Nations website provides some glimpses into the stories and lives of a few rural women from different areas.  

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