Calls mount for more opportunities for rural women
An 80-year-old woman dries a bundle of newly harvested Tinawon rice (red rice) along the road, overlooking the rice terraces in Barangay View Point, Banaue in Ifugao.
The STAR/Victor Martin
Calls mount for more opportunities for rural women
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - October 15, 2019 - 3:51pm

MANILA, Philippines — The government must provide rural women with more opportunities in their communities to uplift themselves and their families, the Commission on Human Rights said during the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women.

In a statement Tuesday, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia said women in rural communities offer invaluable contributions in agricultural and rural development but they still face different forms of discrimination and abuse.

“Until now, the appreciation for women’s labor capabilities remains low. The amount of work they put into farming and selling their produce are not always compensated properly,” she said.

“There is a need to stress that women in rural communities have different needs from those in urban areas, which must be attended to. Giving them knowledge and opportunity to uplift themselves should be a priority as well as involving them in addressing issues affecting their communities,” De Guia added.

Sen. Leila de Lima—who chairs the Senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development—urged Filipinos to recognize the contributions of rural women as she called on the government to help them improve their plight by giving attention to their needs and promoting their rights.

“Developing agricultural livelihoods, carrying out domestic work, ensuring food security and building climate resilience—these are among the invaluable contributions of women in rural communities where there is a higher vulnerability to climate change and disproportionate poverty,” she said.

Climate change and women

The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on Oct. 15, 2008. The celebration recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”

This year’s theme is: “Rural women and girls building climate resilience.”

According to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, rural women are “at the front of the battle lines when natural resources and agriculture are threatened.”

“Women are more likely to die during most climate-related disasters and face greater constraints in accessing natural resources like land and water. What’s more, climate change exacerbates existing inequalities, potentially leaving rural women and girls further behind,” UN Women also said.

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