UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for efforts to invest in rural women and help them build resilience to future crises.
In a message for the International Day of Rural Women, which falls on Oct. 15, the UN chief said that "together, we must invest in rural women so that they have access to the healthcare, social protection and agricultural information services they need."
"We must close the digital divide and provide essential services to respond to the shadow pandemic of violence against women. And we must tackle the discriminatory land and inheritance laws and practices that make rural women vulnerable to losing their sources of income," he added.
"On the International Day of Rural Women, let us renew our commitment to rural women in all their diversity; increase our efforts to support them through the COVID-19 pandemic; and work with them to build their resilience to future crises," said the UN chief.
Guterres said that rural women play a critical role in agriculture, food security and managing land and natural resources, yet many suffer from "discrimination, systemic racism and structural poverty."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has now affected more than half the world's women farmers with restrictions on movement, the closure of shops and markets, and disruption to their supply," he noted.
Helping rural women through the pandemic and building their resilience for the future will require "solidarity and support from all," said the secretary-general.
Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), also said in a message for the international day that rural women must be brought into the decision-making bodies of all countries.
He said women in rural areas face persistent inequalities, discrimination and barriers including poverty; lack of access to healthcare and critical infrastructure; and economic and political exclusion.
The UNGA president called on all member states to bring rural women into decision-making fora so that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995, could be fully implemented for every woman, everywhere.
The International Day of Rural Women is observed annually on Oct. 15. The event particularly recognizes the needs of the millions of rural women in developing countries who are often pivotal to ensuring household food security. Enditem