The UN designated October 15th as international day of rural women in recognition of the crucial role that women and girls play in ensuring the sustainability of rural households and communities, improving rural livelihoods and overall wellbeing. Rural women play an invaluable and significant role in food security, resource stewardship and and environmental sustainability. Although women account for a substantial proportion of the agricultural labour force, in addition to the bulk to unpaid domestic and care work, women and girls in rural areas suffer more extreme levels of poverty. They also face gender related barriers to exiting poverty due to difficulties accessing credit, land and other essentials.
“Globally, with few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change.” – .un.org
The focus of International Day for Rural Women 2017 is: “Challenges and opportunities in climate-resilient agriculture for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” Rural women and girls are disproportionately affected by by climate change events and conditions including access to natural resources and the consequences of climate change can often reinforce and intensify existing gender inequalities.
When women succeed, all aspects of society improve as a result. They play a key role in building community resilience and responding to climate-related disasters. They tend to make decisions about resource use and investments in the interest and welfare of their children, families and communities. When women are empowered to act as both economic and political actors, they influence policy decisions in the direction of provision of a public good and access to social infrastructure. All of these are crucial for peaceful societies that be resilient in the face of disaster.
Today also marks the beginning of Food Week of Action, presented by the Presbyterian Hunger Programme – this year we are proud co-sponsors! Every day this week has a theme or action that you can take to make a real change in the world.
To read more about this year’s celebration at UN Women click HERE.
In the age of twitter leadership and instagram bill signings occasionally we see something that’s worth mention.
The Swedish government has just signed a new climate action plan that commits to phasing out greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2045. Really no need to contrast that historic decision with the likes of which we have been seeing here on US soil. In fact let’s leave it to a photo which, as we know, seem to say a lot more than words these days. In the above picture Isabelle Lovin, Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, is signing the bill surrounded by her all female staff.
I don’t know, let’s just close with #realleadership
The rally of people and movements contra the new President has been incredibly heartening. From the Women’s March, to the 100daysofresistance, we are seeing a powerful civic backlash that America has not witnessed for decades. For years people have conjured up Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm references when talking about the state and leaders that seem have little imagination when it comes to their tactics.
In keeping with that theme of stranger than fiction, one very interesting part of the recent protests is the art and posters that we’re seeing are drawing heavily from literature that foretells eerily similar worlds. At The Woman’s March on Washington there were hundreds of signs that nodded to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaiden’s Tale, the amazing feminist take on dystopia. (more…)
I once had the great privilege of living for a while with a lovely and formidable witchy nature woman in Maine. She had the following passage from Audre Lorde‘s The Cancer Journals posted on the inside of her bathroom door, and I have since followed suit. I cannot tell you what good it does for the spirit, to read this first thing every morning! But tomorrow morning, oh on this morning of mornings, I wanted others to read this too as we take to the streets to speak our collective truths; may we also listen as allies to women of color, and may we remember, may we be bolstered by the words of those who have marched before us.
“I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you…. What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language.
I began to ask each time: “What’s the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?” Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, “disappeared” or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end.
And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
Farm Transition Planning for Women: Course Starts March 16 in Plattsburgh, March 17 in Canton, NY.
Plattsburgh, Canton, NY. Cornell Cooperative Extension and the New York Annie’s Project will host the Managing for Today and Tomorrow: Succession, Business, Estate and Retirement Planning for Farm and Ranch Women course starting March 16 in Plattsburgh and March 17 in Canton. Women from any county may attend the programs.
The Plattsburgh course will be held at Cornell Cooperation Extension Clinton County, 6064 Route 22, from 10 am to 2:30 pm on March 16, 23, and 30, and April 6.
The Canton course will be held at the St. Lawrence County Extension Learning Farm, Route 68, from 10 am to 2:30 pm on March 17, 24, and April 7 and 14.
Annie’s Project, anniesproject.org, is a nationally recognized educational program now serving more than 12,000 farm women in 33 states. The Managing for Today and Tomorrow curriculum empowers women to be strong farm business managers, to enhance their conservation practices and agricultural sustainability, contribute to rural communities and be a positive influence on family decision making. The course provides participants with tools and resources to help begin the process of farm transitioning to the next generation or owner.
The evidence base is growing: strengthening women’s land rights contributes to women’s empowerment and household welfare.
Evidence is also showing that women who have more secure land tenure are more likely to plant trees or make other investments to improve the land and generate ecosystem services. This means efforts to improve women’s land rights can also create enabling conditions for land restoration.
But strengthening women’s land rights isn’t that simple. Unfortunately, there’s also evidence that changing property rights is not an easy process in any case. There are always vested interests to protect the status quo, especially when it comes to something as important as land rights. And when it comes to women’s property rights, there are additional layers of gender norms that make it even more challenging to bring about changes.
Iowa photographer Marji Guyler-Alaniz gets it. She just gets it. In her own words, “Too often in our world, the beauty of a woman; of an image, is judged by a face. These are beautiful women, doing beautiful work and my goal is to bring an appreciation to what they do.”
The photographs in FarmHer, Guyler-Alaniz’s long term photo documentary on women in agriculture, show women herding cattle, harvesting, throwing tires into the backs of pickups, and carefully addressing administrative tasks. We love the project for so many reasons that it’s hard not to wax long and laudatory about it. (The photographs honor women without objectifying them; they give a much-needed face to women in agriculture; they document the absolutely essential role that women play in our agriculture system: providing food, fostering community, and sharing with others.)
But, as always, the photographs speak for themselves. Read more about Guyler-Alaniz and her project here, and consider supporting the documentary by buying a photograph or some of the sweet merch on the site.
PlantWomen gather! The Tribe comes together!www.womensherbalsymposium.org
Three times a year women from many backgrounds of life gather together in great celebration for four full days of inspiring Herbal and Sustainability classes, gourmet vegetarian meals, talented campfire capers, amazing handcrafted marketplace items, Rites-of-Passage Ceremonies, powerful campfire drumming and dancing, refreshing swimming hole dips, and conversations with remarkable & inspiring women!