International Rural Women Day 2009

WomenWatch - Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women



15 October 2009


Today, on the second commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women, we recognize the important contributions of rural women, including indigenous women, to sustainable development and the sound management of natural resources.

We highlight these accomplishments in a year that also marks the 30 Sadly, rural women in many parts of the world continue to face severe deprivation in enjoying these rights. They are among those hit hardest by the inadequate rate of progress in improving maternal health. They have limited access to live-saving resources such as drinking water, electricity and roads. Too many rural women and girls are not in school. And they lack equitable access to decision-making processes, meaning that their voices are not heard.

As the global economic crisis continues to unfold, let us commit to increasing investments in the resources, infrastructure and services which would ease rural women’s workloads and release their time and energy for engagement in the labour market and public life.

As we near the UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December, let us make sure that rural women are part of the process and that the outcome addresses their contributions, priorities and needs.

And as the United Nations itself seeks to strengthen its work to empower women around the world, let us move swiftly to get the new, single gender equality entity agreed by the General Assembly up and running.

On this International Day, let us pledge to do our utmost to put the rights, needs and aspirations of rural women much higher on the global agenda.


th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which is the only international human rights treaty that specifically addresses the rights of rural women. The Convention calls on all States parties to ensure that women fully participate in rural development; have access to health care, social security programmes, training, education, credit and loans; and benefit equally from infrastructure investments such as sanitation, water, transport and communications.

Rural women deprived of their rights
Staff Correspondent, The Daily New Age, 16 October 2009 

15 October 2009, Dhaka: The International Rural Women Day was observed on Thursday in Bangladesh as well as in the world, and the rural women were exhorted to ‘Claim Your Rights to Health and Wellbeing.’    This day has been observed around the world since 2007 when the United Nations declared October 15 as the day dedicated to women of the villages and rural areas.   Various organisations arranged programmes to mark the day.

The National Observation Committee of the International Rural Women Day organised a seminar on ‘National Health Policy 2009, Health Rights and Rural Women’ in the National Press Club.    Health experts and labour leaders, while addressing the seminar’s audience, said that the draft national health policy had encouraged commercialization of the health sector instead of ensuring health services to everyone.
   Rashid E Mahbub, former president of the Bangladesh Medical Association, said the proposed health policy was not formulated with the mass people’s right to health in mind. The rural women continue to be deprived from healthcare facilities, he said.
   He said that women’s health depends not only on medical treatment but also on proper sanitation and sufficient nutrition, so the government should address these issues properly in the health policy.
   The National Day Observation Committee of IRWD’s member, Atikul Islam Chudhury, and secretary, Mostafa Kamal Akand, said in their keynote paper that it has not been spelled out in the proposed health policy how private health organisations would be controlled.
   They suggested decentralisation of the health management system and allocation of funds in accordance with population and need.

In Muktangon state minister for labour and employment Begum Munnujan Sufian, while addressing a rally organised by Karmojibi Nari on Thursday, said the government would change parts of the existing labour law to ensure the rights of rural women.
   ‘The government has formed a committee to remove the loopholes in the existing labour law passed in 2006 to ensure the rights of all communities. The government is committed to protect the rights of rural women as they are playing a pivotal role in building the nation,’ said the state minister.  She also stressed the need for reviewing the agriculture labour law passed in 1984 to boost the agriculture sector.
Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal’s president Hasanul Haq Inu said that rural women were playing a significant role in developing the nation but they were being deprived of all the rights.


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