In Focus: UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62)

CSW62: Empowering rural women and girls

Top stories | Video | Photo essay | Infographic | Social media

The Issue: Empowerment of rural women and girls

She works from daybreak until sundown, and often beyond. She tills the land and grows the food that feeds families and nations, but often without land rights, or equal access to finances and technology that can improve her livelihood. She is working as hard, or more, as the man next to her, but have less income. She has much to contribute, but will her rights, voice and experience shape the policies that affect her life?

Without rural women and girls, rural communities and urban societies would not function. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, they fare worse than rural men or urban women.

Less than 13 per cent of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stand at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 per cent.

For far too long, rural women’s and girls’ rights, livelihoods and wellbeing have been overlooked or insufficiently addressed in laws, policies, budgets and investments. They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Gender-based violence and harmful practices continue to limit their lives and opportunities.

The 62nd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62), the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality, is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 – 23 March 2018. It will focus on the theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.

The Commission is one of the largest annual gathering of global leaders, NGOs, private sector actors, United Nations partners and activists from around the world focusing on the status of rights and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere. Check out CSW62 events>

Join us to learn more about rural women’s lives, their priorities and accomplishments. Follow the unfolding conversation at the United Nations and in rural communities worldwide.

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 ►

Infographic: Women and media

Women in media

You could go to a film, switch on the TV, tune in to the radio, turn the pages of a magazine, or surf online. Regardless of your choice of media, you’d have a good chance of encountering stereotypes that perpetuate gender discrimination. Participation, access to and representation of women in the media is the review theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. This infographic is a snapshot of gender inequality in the media. See more►


Top stories

Erlan is conducting peer education sessions for his peer mates on effective use of water resources. Photo: UN Women/Dildora Khamidova


In water-stressed Naiman, a small village in Southern Kyrgyzstan, 16-year-old Zhyrgalbek uulu Erlan and his peers are a force for positive change for local women. They are using new knowledge and skills gained through a UN Women project to raise awareness about gender equality in access to water and sanitation.

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Together with the local social assistant, police officer Victor Zglavoci talks to an elderly woman from the village, Colibasi, Moldova. Photo: UN Women/Ramin Mazur


Victor Zglavoci is the Chief of Police in a village near Chisinau, Moldova's capital. He has been part of UN Women’s ongoing initiative to promote good practices among first responders to violence against women in Moldova, including police officers, doctors, teachers, social workers and mayors.

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Gentiana Sinjari, Administrator of “Tree of Life” (Pema e jetes) farm in Shkallnur, Durres, Albania. Photo: UN Women/Yllka Parllaku


With the help of a subsidy scheme, Gentiana Sinjari installed a drip irrigation system essential for her crops’ survival in the face of climate change.

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Inna Urtaieva in front of the village library. Photo: UN Women/Eugenia Kuznetsova


Conflict-affected women in Ukraine are advocating for their rights in decision-making processes around local development, recovery and security as part of a UN initiative. Women like former police officer, Inna Urtaieva, are finding new ways to serve their communities. Meanwhile, marginalized women like Tetiana Rozdymakha, born with cerebral palsy, are actively advocating for disabled people’s rights in local decision-making.

More stories:

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

Rural women make up over a quarter the world's population and majority of the 43% of women in the global agricultural labour force. They till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations. They ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience. But when it comes to owning land, accessing agricultural inputs, financing and technologies for climate resilience, they are left far behind men.

Photo essay: Rural women, human rights

Rural women from around the world

Without rural women and girls, rural communities and urban economies would not function. Yet women and girls are among the people most likely to be poor, to lack access to assets, education, health care and other essential services, and to be hit hardest by climate change. On almost every measure of development, rural women, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, fare worse than rural men or urban women. Rural women, their rights and accomplishments, in photos ►


Join the conversation during #CSW62!

  • Use #CSW62 and #ruralwomen when tweeting from events.
  • We want to hear from you! Use #CSW62 to share your experiences and ideas on empowering #ruralwomen.
  • Access the latest information on logistics, the official sessions and the side-events through @UN_CSW on Twitter and UN CSW on Facebook.
  • Can’t join us in New York? Check out our Facebook Live broadcasts from United Nations HQ on UN Womenand UN CSW.
  • Head over to our live stories on unwomen Instagram and Snapchat for a behind-the-scenes look and interviews!
  • Find more social media content around #CSW62 and the CSW themes on our UN Women accounts:@UN_Women (English), @ONUMujeres (Spanish), and @ONUFemmes (French) on Twitter; UN Women(English), ONU Mujeres (Spanish), and ONU Femmes(French) on Facebook.
  • Find our social media package with messages in English, Spanish and French here.