International Day of Rural Women

Michael Evans – Earth Times – Tuesday, 16 October 2012 (originally published 15 Oct)

Woman walks through town carrying her baby and their belongings
Image: Shutterstock

Throughout history, women traditionally have been the backbone of society. While men have gone off hunting or fighting, it has always been the women who have quietly stayed behind to run everything in their absence, caring for children and older relatives, managing the home and simply being there when and if the menfolk returned.

In rural areas women have traditionally played a crucial role in agriculture and the local economy. Although in the developed world where modern machinery is now capable of doing much the work formerly done by a large labour force, this is no longer so evident, but in developing countries, where agriculture continues to be largely centred around smallholder farming, a large labour force is still very important.

Rural women and girls make up about a quarter of the world’s population and in the developing world women play a vital part in food production from the land . . .

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