International Day of Rural Women (15th Oct, 2018)

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This week, UN Women marks three UN observances that reflect women's key role in development, beginning with International Day for Rural Women on 15 October. The Internet defines rural as an area or countryside is a geographic area that is located outside towns and cities. Whatever is not urban is considered rural." Rural women play an important role in the production of agricultural products and they are the source of sustainable food security.

However, it has been difficult for women to play this role effectively due to the following challenges they face:

  • Unequal property rights and land inheritance
  • Difficulty in accessing public services, social protection, employment and markets, due to cultural norms, security issues and lack of identification documents.
  • Costly inputs, slim profit margins
  • Lure of the city
  • Poor road networks making it difficult to reach market in time
  • Culture, traditions and norms- most rural dwellers are still following their traditions in their way of doing things, most of which are detrimental to women
  • Lack of proper education in farming

Rural women can be empowered by:

  • Access to microfinance: Increasing women’s access to microfinance has led to social and political empowerment.
  • Self Help groups - women in Kenya are finding that there’s strength in numbers: if they pool their resources together in self-help groups of their own creation, they can radically change their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
  • Improving illiteracy levels among rural women
  • Securing women’s access to livestock assets
  • Enforcing inheritance of land by women
  • Improvement of road network to enable  easy access of markets

Compiled by G.C.Sitienei – University of Nairobi Library

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