Agriculture not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches she can call her own.

Samuel Johnson

Many people, community groups and non-government associations celebrate the International Day of Rural Women on October 15 every year.

The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October in 2008.

This was established by the General Assembly in its resolution 62/136 of 18 December 2007, recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”

Rural women play a critical role in the rural economies of both developed and developing countries. In most parts of the developing world they participate in crop production and livestock care, provide food, water and fuel for their families, and engage in off-farm activities to diversify their families’ livelihoods. In addition, they carry out vital functions in caring for children, older persons and the sick.

The theme for the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (27 February – 9 March, 2012) is: “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.”

Considering the importance of the day, the whole DAWN Training Institute team celebrated the day here in Siem Reap, Cambodia so as to give the respect and regard to the rural women. This year’s International Day of Rural Women is falling at a time of heightened awareness among the women regarding their contribution in social progress for sustainable development.

According to the statistics, rural women comprise more than one quarter of the total world population while 500 million women live below the poverty line in rural areas.

The report informed that the women produce 60-80 per cent of basic foodstuffs in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean and perform over 50 per cent of the labor involved in intensive rice cultivation in Asia. In Africa, women head 60% of households, meet 90 per cent of household water and fuel needs and process 100 per cent of basic household foodstuffs.

Together in a group of around 35 people from South East Asia, Africa, Latin America, South Asia, Pacific and Carribean urged the need of building programmes that take into consideration rural women and men’s differentiated needs and resources. Because these women have a lot of potential for leadership, decision making and taking initiatives and they must be recognized for their efforts.