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Rural women top of agenda at UN conference

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Sara Dzregah
WVoN co-editor 

The empowerment of rural women is top of the agenda at a United Nation (UN) conference opening today in New York.

The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will this year focus on rural women’s role in poverty reduction and development.

Rural women constitute a quarter of the world’s population but their contributions, needs and rights are often overlooked despite the key role they can play in global development and hunger reduction.

The economic empowerment of rural women could result in up to 150 million fewer hungry people around the world.

The current chair of the CSW, Liberia’s Marjon Kamara said:

“These are exciting times when women ministers and experts on gender equality converge in New York to discuss issues pertinent to women.”

Experts made the case for empowering rural women in a report submitted to the UN Secretary General in December last year.

Although rural women are by no means a homogeneous group, they share one common nominator – vulnerability to poverty. Of the world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor, 70% live in rural areas.

The report recommended that rural women’s access to financial services be improved, that the burden of unpaid care work be reduced, and that specific support should be developed for female smallholder farmers.

The other key themes at this year’s meeting are financing for gender equality and the engagement of young people.

The Commission on the Status of Women is the UN’s policy-making body dedicated to gender equality and the advancement of women.

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