UN urges Member States to direct resources to empower rural women and eliminate the long-standing obstacles to their progress, so that countries can emerge from COVID-19 as a stronger, better balanced, resilient and caring society.
The Executive Director, UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, made the call in a statement, to commemorate the 2020 International Day of Rural Women.
The day is celebrated annually on Oct.15 and the theme for this year is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19.”
Mlambo-Ngcuka said that too sustain the livelihoods and food security of rural women and their families during the crisis, social protection must be expanded in ways that intentionally respond to women’s needs.
”The vital roles of rural women as farmers, workers, entrepreneurs, community leaders and first responders during crises are key to building peaceful, prosperous and sustainable societies.
”The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back these significant contributions, which is why we must double our efforts to build rural women’s resilience to current and future shocks.
”Discriminatory gender norms and resource constraints compound the negative effects of COVID-19 on rural women’s lives.
”Already, before the pandemic, women across the world did more than three times the unpaid care and domestic work as men,” she said.
In rural areas, she said, his is exacerbated by lack of infrastructure and insufficient access to clean and safe water, sanitation and energy.
She also said that the gender digital divide in rural areas has magnified women’s and girls’ marginalization, limiting their access to distance education, essential services, digital finance and life-saving information during the crisis.
”The shadow pandemic of violence against women and girls, which has been rising in situations of lockdown, must also be overcome as a matter of urgency.
”Rural women and girls are even more at risk of experiencing violence yet less likely to receive the support they need due to lack of essential services, legal remedies and justice.
“To address these gaps and respond to the pandemic, millions of rural women worldwide have organised protection, support and relief,” she said.
Mlambo-Ngcuka added that on this year’s International Day of Rural Women, the commitment of UN Women to leave no one behind has never been more urgent.