Statement: Rural women in the face of the global cost of living crisis – World
UN Women statement for the International Day of Rural Women, 15 October 2022
The cost of living crisis facing the world puts women’s livelihoods, health and well-being at risk and undermines progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Propelled by disruptions in the supply of oil, gas and basic foodstuffs linked to the war in Ukraine and the escalating climate emergency, prices for food, fuel and fertilizers have soared . Women and girls face energy poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity, as well as associated gender-based violence, such as sexual exploitation and trafficking, and child, early and early marriage. strengths.
For the millions of rural women around the world who play a vital role in food systems, the cost of living crisis is deepening gender inequalities. Women’s contributions to these vital systems range from cultivation and production to food processing, preparation and distribution. Despite this contribution, women around the world are less food secure than men, and the gap has widened. In 2021, more than 126 million more women than men suffered from hunger.
Without equal access to land and other productive resources, women are unable to accumulate comparable assets, incomes and savings, and these gaps also widen. This is particularly acute where social protection is lacking and where rural women and girls face other forms of discrimination, including older and indigenous women, women of African descent, people of diverse gender identities and people with disabilities.
The cost of living crisis is also reversing progress in access to modern energy, as household incomes decline. This has led to a return to the use of unhealthy biomass as fuel for cooking and heating, putting rural women and girls at greater risk of death from household air pollution.
This is why there is an urgent need to rethink and reshape global energy and food systems from the bottom up. UN Women has made recommendations on how to achieve this, together with the UN Global Crisis Response Group, to achieve a sustainable energy transition and diverse and healthy food production.
Through the Generation Equality Forum, UN Women is working with multiple stakeholders to address some of the root causes and conditions that perpetuate women’s food insecurity. The Feminist Action for Climate Justice Action Coalition brings together diverse actors to build resilience, including through cooperative models and women’s land rights and tenure security. The Action Coalition for Economic Justice and Rights works to increase women’s access to and control over productive resources, such as finance, services and market information, which are essential to promote food security and nutrition for all.
The joint program on the economic empowerment of rural women, implemented by FAO, IFAD, UN Women and WFP, which has enabled an average increase in production of 82%, as well as gains in food and nutrition in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Nepal, Niger and Rwanda. Together, this joint program entered its second phase in Nepal, Niger, the Pacific Islands, Tanzania and Tunisia with UN Women Executive Director highlighting the launch of Phase II in person in Zanzibar ahead of the International Day of Rural Women. Farmers, seaweed growers and women’s cooperatives and entrepreneurs of Tanzania will be supported by the program to realize their rights, become self-reliant and build their resilience to shocks such as the global food crisis and climate change.
As we commemorate this International Day of Rural Women, let us act together to eradicate hunger, achieve food security and nutrition, and protect and promote the right to an adequate standard of living and food for all. And to continue this work, the upcoming sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women will consider “Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls”. We must ensure that the impacts and role of rural women in addressing the global food crisis remain high on the agenda.