Rural women across Europe and Central Asia empower their communities despite challenges

Women are central to the development of rural areas and to national economies. They account for a significant proportion of agricultural labour, play a key role in food production, especially in subsistence farming, and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas.

Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Unpaid care makes it difficult for rural women to take advantage of on and off-farm employment opportunities. Rural women and girls often face restricted access to productive resources, such as land, agricultural inputs, finance and credit, extension services, and technology. This limits the agricultural sector’s efficiency. Traditional and cultural norms make it more difficult for women to gain access to public services, markets and institutions, social protection and decent employment opportunities.

Across Europe and Central Asia, UN Women aims to accelerate rural women's economic empowerment. Here are a few examples of how we empower rural women in the region.

Thirty-five-year-old Nazgul Taalaybekova is a mother of four children and lives in the Emgek Talaa village of the mountainous Naryn province in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women Europe and Central Asia/Rena Effendi
Thirty-five-year-old Nazgul Taalaybekova is a mother of four children and lives in the Emgek Talaa village of the mountainous Naryn province in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Photo: UN Women Europe and Central Asia/Rena Effendi"

Thirty-five-year-old Nazgul Taalaybekova is a mother of four children and lives in the Emgek Talaa village of the mountainous Naryn province in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Nazgul believes that she has a happy family, a loving husband and beloved children. In the family, they equally share domestic work and other responsibilities. Her husband often helps her with housekeeping, and she takes care of the livestock in his absence. Every evening, Taalaybekova and her husband list and divide up the responsibilities for the next day. In the village, there are no opportunities for paid work for Taalaybekova and her husband so they make a living by breeding sheep. With the support of the UN Joint-Programme on Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment (UNJP RWEE), which is led by UN Women in Kyrgyzstan, Taalaybekova bought a well-bred ram to increase the quantity and improve the quality of their sheep stock. They are expecting a higher income this year.

See the full photo essay on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia