In Focus: International Day of Rural Women

Frosina Georgievska. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
Frosina Georgievska. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

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The theme for the International Day of Rural Women (15 October), “Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All”, highlights the essential role that rural women and girls play in the food systems of the world.

From production of crops to processing, preparing and distributing foods, women’s labour – paid and unpaid – feeds their families, communities and the world. Yet, they do not wield equal power with men, and as a result, they earn less income and experience higher food insecurity.

Despite our planet’s capacity to provide sufficient and good food for all, hunger, malnourishment, and food insecurity are rising in many parts of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic, along with climate crises, have made matters worse: some 2.37 billion people did not have enough to eat in 2020 –that’s 20 per cent more than the year before.

UN Women’s latest report, Beyond COVID-19: A feminist plan for sustainability and social justice, calls for rebuilding the broken global food system from the bottom-up by supporting rural women’s livelihoods to produce and distribute diverse and healthy food crops. With less than 10 years to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger (Goal 2) and Gender Equality (Goal 5), UN Women is working to support rural women and girls around the world, to build their resilience, skills and leadership.

UN Women statement on the International Day of Rural Women

This International Day of Rural Women offers us a renewed opportunity to commit to a different way of organizing our world, to build on the vision of the Feminist Plan and on the outcomes and multistakeholder commitments of the recent United Nations Food System Summit, so that rural women benefit equally from their productivity, with good food enjoyed by all. Learn more ►

Top stories

This International Day of Rural Women, we’re putting a spotlight on the importance of gender-responsive planning and budgeting in improving the lives of rural women.

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. Learn more ►

Social media

  • Use #ruralwomen on social media to show the world that you stand in solidarity with rural women and their organizations everywhere as they seek to influence the decisions that shape their lives.
  • Spread the message with GIFs, infographics and other visuals that you can download from our social media package with images and messages in English, Spanish and French, available here:

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See our coverage of International Day for Rural Women from previous years: 201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011