Pre-ambule: Points of Departure
i New analysis shows how power imbalances and gender inequalities at the national level are linked to reduced access to clean water and improved sanitation, land degradation and deaths due to indoor and outdoor air pollution, amplifying the effects associated with income disparities. Gender inequalities also interact with environmental outcomes and make them worse. (ref: Human Development Report 2011, Sustainability and Equity: A better Future for All, page iv).
Furthermore, power imbalances and gender inequalities within the family are linked to maternal deaths and violence against women, because of social and cultural traditions which obstruct women’s access to health care and to financial independence.
ii Rural women are agents of change who contribute to local and national economies, agriculture, rural development, household livelihoods, food and nutrition security and social well-being. (ref: EGM/RW/2011/Report,
Furthermore, engagement of women is not only a way to provide women with means to enhance their participation and use of their potential, but also smart economics. (ref: World Development Report 2012; World Bank WDR 2012, Gender Equality and Development)
iii The international community and civil society should work together to eliminate discrimination under the law, to promote equal access to resources and opportunities, to ensure that agricultural policies and programmes are gender-aware, and to make women’s voices heard as equal partners for sustainable development. Achieving gender equality and empowering women in agriculture is not only the right thing to do. It is also crucial for agricultural development and food security (ref: The State of Food and Agriculture 2010-2011: Women in agriculture: Closing the gender gap for development. Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, 2011)
iv Because of the diversity of rural women by age, religion, ethnicity, their social, economic, political and ecological status, and other factors, an intersectional approach is necessary. Development and implementation of this approach will contribute to the full enjoyment of their individual and collective human rights. (Several mechanisms have addressed intersectionality or multiple forms of discrimination: for example Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, general recommendation No. 28 (CEDAW/C/GC/28), paras 18 and 31)
General recommendations on gender equality
1. The UN system should comply with gender equality and diversity commitments within its own organizations in order to serve as role models for Governments and other organizations and to legitimize policy guidance on gender equality issues in their operations (ref: EGM/RW/2011/Report, Accra Ghana 20-23 September 2011)
2. Enhance efforts, by legislation, policy, programs, and financial resources, for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly on Gender Equality (3) in combination with Poverty and Hunger (1), Maternal Health (5) and Sanitation (7).
Recommendations on rural women
3. Incorporate gender-sensitive perspectives when designing and implementing rural development strategies, policies and programs, and include the objective of “gender equality” as an overarching goal of such strategies, policies and programs, and adopt and implement temporary special measures in favour of rural women (ref: General Statement of CEDAW on Rural Women (recommendations), CEDAW 50th session, 2011)
4. Implement policies to promote access of rural women to healthcare services and programs, including reproductive health and sexual health services. Pregnancy leads in many societies to poverty, and is the prime cause of death among women. Involve young women’s groups and networks in the development and implementation of reproductive health education and services, in particular on the local level.
5. Promote closing the gender gap between rural women and men by employing gender budget analyses on national and international agricultural policies concerning land ownership, funding, agricultural education, inheritance and agricultural co-operatives, in order to increase women’s access to land, livestock, financial services, co-operatives, education, technology, rural employment and decent work.
6. The under-representation of women from rural areas in political and public life remains high in most societies. Implement institutional arrangements, particularly at the local government level, to support participation of rural women in policy design, implementation and evaluation as part of decision making processes. Involve rural women’s organizations and networks in the process of development and implementation of such institutional arrangements.
7. Improve rural women's access to resources through alternative policy instruments that ensure more equitable gender-based distribution of land, labour, capital, technology, social services and infrastructure.
Mechanisms should also be in place to reduce women's vulnerability to loss of land in cases of divorce, separation and widowhood. (ref:
8. Ensure that national legislative and administrative reform processes, including those linked to land reform, decentralization and reorientation of the economy, promote women’s rights, particularly those of rural women and women living in poverty, and take measures to promote and implement those rights through women’s equal access to and control over economic resources, including land, property rights, right to inheritance, credit and traditional saving schemes(…). (ref: Women2000 (
9. Improve gender statistics and data disaggregated by sex, age and other variables where appropriate, and analyse data on rural-urban disparities, in order to support empowerment of rural women and gender equality policy processes.
10. Promote rural women’s education, employment and participation in decision-making by enhancing their access to communication technology training and devices. (ref: Agreed Conclusions CSW55, in particular para 22n)
Emerging issue: Engaging young women and men, girls and boys, to advance gender equality
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WO=MEN Dutch gender Platform