The International Day of Rural Women started by the United Nations, recognizes the role of rural women, including indigenous women, in agricultural and rural development, particularly in developing countries. Women comprise 43% of the world’s agricultural labor force, which rises to 70% in some countries. According to a report by NSSO (National Sample Survey Office) of India, women lead almost 18% agricultural households and there is not a single area of agriculture in which they are not involved. Moreover, studies show that women make up nearly half of agricultural labourers, yet they carry out approximately 70% of all farm work.
As in other walks of life, rural Indian women also face significant inequality on farms even when they are as good as men in farming. This inequality has deprived them of the much needed resources to improve their farming practice. In developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, women typically work 12 to 13 hours per week more than men; yet women’s contributions are often ‘invisible’ and unpaid. According to a FAO report, if women were given equal access to resources as men, agricultural yield could increase 2.5-4% in developing countries, enough to feed at least 100 million more undernourished people.
Globally, a number of activities are planned by UN to celebrate this day like global exchange programs for women in agriculture, launch of fundraising projects to support rural women, expos and workshops showcasing rural women’s contribution to their societies. This year, the Indian Government will acknowledge the extraordinary contribution of women & will also awarded them through the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Debates, panel discussions on technological advancements will be held in every Krishi Vigyan Kendras & agricultural universities.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to celebrate 15th October of every year as Women Farmer’s Day (Mahila Kisan Divas) to empower and encourage women farmers in our country.
5 of Original Indian Table’s 20 farmer groups are solely owned and operated by women farmers. You can support them by buying our products like infused Himalayan rock salts, Amaranth, Millets and many others that have their hard work and love ingrained.
So let’s celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of these rural women.
Happy Women Farmers Day and International Day of rural women to all our women farmers! We celebrate you all and hope everyone does too! More power to you!