Rural Women’s Day 2023: Honoring These Hidden Heroes

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In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 15 as the International Day of Rural Women. This day is observed one day before World Food Day on October 16, to highlight the vital role of rural women in providing food for many people around the world. According to the United Nations, the goal of this day is to focus on “the role and impact of rural women, especially indigenous women, in improving agriculture and rural development, increasing food security, and combating rural poverty.” Rural women make up about a quarter of the world’s population. From 1980 to 2010, the share of working women in agriculture increased from 30% to 48% across the Middle East and North Africa.

International Day of Rural Women is celebrated every year to recognize and celebrate the role of rural women in their communities, promote gender equality, and women’s rights in rural areas. Urban women have better access to healthcare services at various stages of their lives, but women living in rural and remote areas often have limited access to healthcare services throughout their lives.

According to statistics from the Iran Statistical Center in 1395 (Iranian calendar year), 10.1 million Iranian women live in rural areas. These women, despite engaging in tough activities such as agriculture, carpet weaving, livestock farming, and having different lifestyles, still seem to lack adequate access to healthcare facilities and services.

It is, therefore, important to pay more attention to rural women, even on such occasions, to prevent a decline in their numbers and to ensure that young girls do not leave rural areas never to return. The significant and impactful contribution of these women to the country’s economy and local production should not go unnoticed or diminish.

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