Secretary-General's message on the International Day of Rural Women


The International Day of Rural Women is an occasion to focus on challenges while highlighting the many contributions of the world’s rural women.

Often responsible for difficult work in homes and fields, too many rural women are denied the land, credit and other resources they deserve. This undermines their ability to care for their children and contribute to their communities.

As we enter the final push to reach the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and craft a universal vision for development in the long-range future, let us focus on investing in rural women as agents of progress.

With the right technology, rural women can further strengthen local economies and enhance national wealth. With the right educational and training opportunities, rural women can help innovate for a more sustainable future.

By removing obstacles to women’s rights to land, reforming laws and changing discriminatory attitudes, we can foster an environment of equality. By ensuring that rural women have fair wages, job security and social protection, we can improve living conditions for their families. And by providing technical, agricultural and vocational training to rural women, we can nurture their entrepreneurial drive.

Rural women are on the frontlines of many challenges on the global agenda. Poverty, maternal and child deaths, illiteracy and disease all hit rural women disproportionately. If we protect their interests and cultivate their talents, we can enable rural women to make an outsize contribution to our world.

On the International Day of Rural Women, let us pledge to act on their behalf as we advance progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and let us ensure that their voices are heard as we prepare our universal development agenda for the years following 2015. This will benefit rural women, their children and our shared future.