INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Empower rural women for economic and social progress in sustainable development

We need to create more platforms for their mentorship and development

In Summary

• Women living in rural areas are key indicators for achieving the holistic economic and social progress required for sustainable development in communities.

• Empowering them is prudent not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic efficiency, given their large presence in society. 

 

GENDER EQUALITY
GENDER EQUALITY

Women make up more than 50 per cent of Africa’s population and 80 per cent of them reside in rural areas.

While there has been positive progress in addressing gender equality internationally, gaps still remain a major concern for women living in rural areas. There is a call of need for extra consideration to be geared towards them.

Empowering them is prudent not only to the well-being of individuals, families and rural communities, but also to overall economic efficiency, given their large presence in society. 

Women living in rural areas are key indicators for achieving the holistic economic and social progress required for sustainable development in communities.

However, faced with limited access to microfinance, education, high prevalence of maternal mortality, gender-based violence and inequitable gender power relations, these women still remain under-represented in politics and decision-making processes. Most of these challenges are directly linked to gender inequality and structural barriers that continue to discriminate women against their full enjoyment of human rights.

We need to create more platforms for their mentorship and development, direct donor aid, and actively involve rural women in strategies, policies and decision-making processes.  
RUTH NDERITU

This year’s International Women's Day campaign theme #EachforEqual is critical to the attainment of the SDGs Agenda 2030 and Africa’s Agenda 2063, which commit every individual to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls collectively.

Marked annually, International Women’s Day celebrates the social, cultural, economic and political achievements of women across the globe. Therefore, this year’s event provides an excellent opportunity for communities, governments and organisations to collectively identify ways and means to empower women and girls living in rural areas, particularly when one regards rural areas as the backbone of African economies. Together, we can achieve much more.

Dandelion Africa, a  local non-profit organisation located on the cross-boarder of Nakuru and Baringo counties supports leadership and active participation of rural women in programmes that directly affect them. These include access to sexual reproductive health, economic empowerment and persistent harmful norms such as campaigns against female genital mutilation.

Such interventions have translated to economically independent women, broader impacts on low maternal mortality rates, less HIV-Aids infections and skilled women in technology and entrepreneurship. Interestingly, illiteracy levels have not deterred these women from surpassing their highest potentials.

 As we work towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 — gender equality —there are a number of areas that must be observed if we are to understand in greater profundity the opportunities and constraints in rural women's lives.

We need to create more platforms for their mentorship and development, direct donor aid, and actively involve these women in strategies, policies and decision-making.  

I commit myself in designing programmes for women by women. Rural women are resourceful, resilient and given equal opportunities and attention, we can achieve a more just world.

Nderitu is the monitoring and evaluation officer, Dandelion Africa