United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for efforts to invest in rural women and help them build resilience to future crises.
"Together, we must invest in rural women so that they have access to the healthcare, social protection and agricultural information services they need," said the UN chief in a message for the International Day of Rural Women observed on October 15.
"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 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 UN secretary-general.
The International Day of Rural Women is observed annually on October 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.