It is estimated that 60% of chronically hungry people are women and girls. Today is International Day of Rural Women, a day that recognizes the vital role of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
The day is purposefully held a day before World Food Day in order to highlight the role rural women play in food production.
The International Day of Rural Women was first observed at a significant time in October 2008. 2006, 2007, and 2008 were the years of the global food crisis when prices of staple foods rose dramatically around the world. Although prices declined slightly right afterwards they spiked again in 2010 and have been high since. UN Women Watch writes that food prices are “likely to remain high and volatile over the next decade.”
Poor rural households feel the global crises the hardest. The poorer the household the more its members have to change the way they live to cope with the crises. Many families have to cut down the number of times they eat per day, they will have to eat smaller portions, and they will often eat cheaper, less nutritious food. Since rural women are traditionally the food providers and carers of the household they often give food to their children and husbands first, and therefore sometimes go hungry themselves. Many women will also have to work longer hours, or take on another job, in order to afford food.
UN WomenWatch quotes Salome Nche, a mother of eight from Cameroon: “Prices of food have really gone up and this has made my children and I not to eat as we used to. We used to eat four times a day but now we can only eat two times under hard struggle.”