Putting the spotlight on rural women
International Rural Women’s Day is Oct. 15
By Kaitlynn Anderson
This fall, women from rural areas around the world have a chance to shine.
On Oct. 15, the United Nations (UN) highlighted the theme of “challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls” for their International Day for Rural Women, according to UN Women.
So, Farms.com reached out to members of the agricultural community to ask them to share why it’s important to appreciate rural women.
“Women and girls are essential for global food security,” said Amanda Brodhagen, a Perth County beef farmer and advocate for women in agriculture.
“In developing countries, rural women make up almost half of the agricultural workforce. Rural women and girls contribute immensely to their families and their communities and they should be acknowledged for their contributions.”
In fact, women account for 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries, according to the UN.
These women could increase their farms’ yields by 20 to 30 per cent if they “had the same access to productive resources as men,” the UN says.
Rural women also often hold more than just one role.
“I think it's important to honour rural women because they play a pivotal role in their farms, households and communities around the world,” said Tara Davidson, co-owner of Lonesome Dove Ranch in Sask.
“They may work hard in the field, care for animals, make sound scientific decisions, and manage farm finances, but they also support their families and partners and volunteer in their communities.”
“Their jobs extend past normal working hours and their job description is continually evolving ... sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis.”
Ellen Crane, general manager of the Maritime Beef Council, agreed.
“Women are typically the backbone of rural communities. They are the unsung heroes supporting people in their communities,” she said.
Brooke Doyle, a sales representative for Delta Power Equipment, also shared some powerful words on rural women.
"I think it’s very important to appreciate rural women across the globe because they (hold) so many roles. Rural women are mothers, daughters, friends, sisters, nieces, aunts and grandmothers," she said.
Rural women have worked to break barriers and defy gender roles. Today, women are farmers, as well as seed and equipment sales representatives, she added.
"Rural women play an important role in every community across the globe. We need to appreciate and honour those (individuals) for their dedication and hard work in paving the path for the next generation of rural women to come."
And Doyle has some final words:
"Yes, women can."
To learn more about rural women and their contributions to agriculture, visit the UN website.
This article will be updated with further responses over the course of the day.
Photo: Bartosz Hadyniak / Getty Images / E+