In Focus: International Day of Rural Women

Juana Alva, 37, harvests zucchini in a greenhouse in San Cristóbal Tepeteopán, Mexico.  Photo: UN Women/Dzilam Méndez
Photo: UN Women/Nabonswendé OUEDRAOGO

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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.

Top stories

Frosina Georgievska. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
UN Women enhances the livelihoods of rural farmers living with HIV/AIDS in six districts of Rwanda through COVID-19 recovery grants
As part of UN Women’s continuous support to empower vulnerable women, the partnership with RRP+, Reseau Rwandais des Personnes vivant avec le VIH/SIDA, an organization supporting people living with HIV, contributed to improving the lives of three hundred members from eight cooperatives.
At the launch of the programme in September 2020, Mariamu Rasidi was one of the women farmers who came to celebrate support from UN Women. Photo: UN Women.
Mariamu Rasidi Tungu, Tanzania
In Tanzania, women make up more than half of the workforce in the agriculture sector, but remain poor, says Mariamu Rasidi Tungu. Most of them work in family farms without any payment and lack access to land ownership. 
The counseling team of experts at Fundacion Espacio de la Mujer in Moreno. Photo: UNIC Buenos Aires
“As women leaders, we can change Liberia.”
Meet Kebbeh Monger, 67, the President of the National Rural Women Structure of Liberia, a grassroots organization championing women’s economic empowerment in rural Liberia.
Rural women's resilience to disasters and climate shocks leveraged by digital technologies, Northen Senegal. Photo credits: UN Women.

Women farmers in Rwanda improve post-harvest handling

Post-harvest handling remains the number one problem for farmers in Rwanda due to old fashioned methods and the use of rudimentary tools.

Kebber Monger – Right - shares her vision with UN Women Liberia Country Representative, Marie Goreth Nizigama and Her Excellency, the Ambassador of Sweden, Ingrid Wetterqvist
UN Women Promotes Women Smallholder Farmers and Tackles GBV in Singida and Shinyanga Regions
MA year after the launch of the Realizing Gender Equality through Empowering Women and Adolescent Girls programme in Tanzania’s Singida and Shinyanga Regions, UN Women has made significant strides in improving the lives of women smallholder farmers./figcaption>



Theresa Mukashyaka is a maize farmer in Nyarunyinya Village, in Muhanga District, Southern Province of Rwanda. Photo:  UN Women Rwanda

Women farmers in Rwanda improve post-harvest handling

Georgina Eunice Gama, 39, is one of 10,100 Malawian women farmers who has adopted climate smart modern farming technology with support from UN Women.


Featured publications

Opportunities for youth
Opportunities for Youth in Rural Business and Entrepreneurship in AgricultureLearn more ►
Rural women's day
The Broken Promise: Benefits derived by women from the 10 percent agricultural budget allocation in seven countries in East and Southern AfricaLearn 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.
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See our coverage of International Day for Rural Women from previous years: 2019, 201820172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011