International Day of Rural Women 2020 | UPSC

International Day of Rural Women 2020 | UPSC


International Day of Rural Women: It’s time we recognise their lives and livelihood

      WHY IN NEWS:

Rural women are active agents of socio-economic change. As we celebrate the day on October 15, there is a need to pull them out of the stereotypical roles of caregiving

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : 3 : Issues related to Women : UN Observances


For PRELIMS go through resolution , aim and theme of this event.

For MAINS go through significance , barriers and to-do list . Let us dive in !




Rural women and girls are leaders in agriculture, food security and nutrition, land and managing natural resource management.

  • They are at the frontline when natural resources and agriculture are threatened.
  • In fact, globally, one in three employed women works in agriculture.
  • Women also collect biomass fuels, manually process food materials, and pump water.

Eighty percent of households without piped water rely on women and girls for water collection.

  • Women and girls are disadvantaged in this pandemic, a problem aggravated in rural areas.
  • Rural women, with a crucial role in agriculture, food security and nutrition, already face struggles in their daily lives.


This international day, established by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007 commemorating Rural Women’s Day.


The aim is to recognise :

  • The critical role and contribution of rural women
  • Role of indigenous women
  • Women in enhancing agricultural and rural development
  • Role of women in improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.

THEME 2020

The theme for this International Day of Rural Women is “Building rural women’s resilience in the wake of COVID-19”.

  • The theme create awareness of these women’s struggles, their needs, and their critical and key role in our society.


  • MOBILIZING : NGOs and grassroots women’s groups to commemorate the Day and celebrate Rural Women Leaders and their communities around the world.
  • RAISING AWARENESS : A focus on their needs and rights, highlighting their contributions to sustainable development and peace-building and so much more.
  • SENSITIZING : The public at large and lobbying governments on the crucial role rural women play in climate change and to prioritize action for their support.
  • ENCOURAGING : Organizing local and national initiatives on the annual Day .


  • This day serves as a reminder that a sustainable future is not possible without the involvement of women.
  • It is the moral and ethical imperative of the society to support gender equality in this era of unsustainability.
  • Rural women must be at the core of all developmental activities.

Gender inequality excludes women from multiple walks of life and hampers their accessibility to resources.

  • It is time to reverse this trend — and to hear their voices loud and clear.
  • It would be a missed opportunity to achieve sustainable development goals if a nation does not utilise the knowledge of its rural women.


  • Since COVID-19 and their unique health needs in remote areas.
  • They are less likely to have access to quality health services, essential medicines, and vaccines.
  • Restrictive social norms and gender stereotypes can also limit rural women’s ability to access health services.

A lot of rural women suffer from isolation and a lack of access to critical technologies to improve their work and personal life.

  • Women’s land tenure security is also threatened as unemployed migrants return to rural communities.
  • This is increasing pressure on land and resources and exacerbating gender gaps in agriculture and food security.
  • Despite all of that, rural women have been at the front lines of responding to the pandemic even though they are unpaid.


  • The crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities.
  • Improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing, has been increasingly recognized.

They make significant contributions to agricultural production, food security and nutrition.

  • Also they contribute immensely in land and natural resource management, and building climate resilience.
  • Even so, women and girls in rural areas suffer disproportionately from multi-dimensional poverty.
  • The world’s 1 billion people, who continue to live in unacceptable conditions of poverty, are heavily concentrated in rural areas.
  • Poverty rates in rural areas across most regions are higher than those in urban areas.
  • Agriculture produces nearly 80% of food in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa and supports the livelihoods of some 2.5 billion people.


  • Women farmers may be as productive as their male counterparts but are less able to access land, credit, agricultural inputs and markets.
  • Discrimination keeps them away from high-value agrifood chains and obtain lower prices for their crops.

Structural barriers and discriminatory social norms continue to constrain women’s decision-making power.

  • Political participation in rural households and communities is least.
  • Women and girls in rural areas lack equal access to productive resources and assets, public services.
  • Rural women are the drivers of developed as well as developing economies.
  • Their engagement diversifies family livelihood, and yet, their efforts largely go unappreciated.


  • But structural constraints of gender, negative ideologies, lack of economic assets and a patriarchal society weigh them down.

Gender-based stereotypes and discrimination deny these women their right to resources, opportunities and / or a social life.

  • They lack access to land, resources, connectivity, education and health, which affects the human development disproportionately.
  • While rural women face similar challenges, their vulnerabilities may vary in terms of region or ethnicity.


  • The first ever International Day of Rural Women was celebrated more than a decade ago on October 15, 2008.
  • Women in the mountains are knowledgeable, independent and acutely aware of their role in the local community.

International Day of Rural Women 2020

Women in the mountains are knowledgeable and independent.

  • They are at the heart of the production system — they manage agriculture, food security and nutrition and natural resources.

The cultural integrity of mountain areas is more intact , thus giving them a command on household- livelihood system.

  • But the road is not as smooth. Remoteness, isolation and internet connectivity are among the major obstacles.
  • They fail to dedicate sufficient efforts to the intensive climate-resilient farming which is extremely time-sensitive.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • We need measures to alleviate the care burden and better redistribute it between women and men, and between families .
  • We need to advocate for sufficient infrastructure and services (water, health, electricity, etc.) to support women’s productivity.

The pandemic has also heightened the vulnerability of rural women’s rights to land and resources.

  • Discriminatory gender norms and practices impede women’s exercise of land and property rights in most countries and COVID-19 widows risk disinheritance.
  • Gender-responsive investments in rural areas have never been more critical.

Rural women are active agents of socio-economic change and environmental conservation.

     SOURCES:IE | International Day of Rural Women 2020 | UPSC


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