In Focus: International Day of Rural Women

Goat cheese farmer and business owner Vidinka Markovic in Srbovac village of Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244) Photo: UN Women Europe and Central Asia/Rena Effendi

Photo: UN Women/Rena Effendi

Top stories | Infographic | Video | Social media

Rural women make up a quarter of the world’s population. They grow much of our food, strengthen economies and build climate resilience.

UN Women statement

On the International Day of Rural Women, UN Women calls upon the international community to work with rural women and girls everywhere and to invest in the sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection that can revolutionize their livelihoods, well-being and resilience. Read more»

From championing access to clean water in Kyrgyzstan to boosting sustainable agriculture in Ethiopia, rural women are mobilizing to support one another, and their contributions are vital for both rural communities and urban societies.

Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women.

On 15 October, the United Nations commemorates the International Day of Rural Women, under the theme, “Sustainable infrastructure, services and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”, closely followed by World Food Day (16 October) and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October).

This year, we are calling for better public services, including health care, education, childcare and shelters, on which millions of rural women depend; and laws, policies and budgets to improve their livelihoods and well-being. We stand in solidarity with rural women and their organizations everywhere as they seek to influence the decisions that shape their lives.

Top stories



Infographic: Rural Women and Girls

Learn the facts: Rural women and girls

Rural women ensure food security for their communities, build climate resilience and strengthen economies. Yet, gender inequalities, such as discriminatory laws and social norms, combined with a fast-changing economic, technological and environmental landscape restrict their full potential, leaving them far behind men and their urban counterparts. View infographic ►


Rural women—agents of change fighting poverty, hunger and climate change


Social media

  • The global movement for women’s rights must not leave rural women behind. Let International Day of Rural Women be an opportunity to join us in supporting ALL women in claiming their rights!
  • Spread the message using #ruralwomen. A social media package with images and messages in English, Spanish and French is available here

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See our coverage of International Day for Rural Women from previous years: 20172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011