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THE REALITY BEHIND THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF RURAL WOMEN

Photography by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexel

October, 19th 2020

The International Day of Rural Women brings to light an abundance of important issues such as economic empowerment, equality and climate change. Staiy delves deeper into the importance and implications of the international holiday and how their mission aligns with partner SO JUST SHOP.

Words By Gabrielle Hollenbeck

October 15th – a day that would normally speed right by us, but to millions of women across the world, October 15th is a symbol of recognition and empowerment. October 15th is the International Day of Rural Women and is here to remind us of the vital role these women have in society, as well as being a reminder of the work that is still yet to be done to ameliorate their circumstances and thus the welfare of impoverished, rural societies as a whole. 

Inside the Issue

One billion people are currently living in extreme poverty, with the majority of them concentrated in rural areas. One of the greatest issues such communities face is the significantly disproportionate suffering women and girls experience due to multidimensional poverty. The inequality in many of these rural areas has led to a lack of​ equal access to productive resources and assets, public services such as education and health care, as well as infrastructure, including water and sanitation. 

In almost every study surrounding gender and development indicators, it has been shown that rural women fare far worse than both urban women and rural men, being more vulnerable to poverty, social exclusion and the effects of climate change. The impacts of climate change only amplify the existing inequalities in rural areas. These issues are further aggravated by a reduced sense of well-being, yet another knock on effect related to food security, water & energy resources, agricultural production, climate-related natural disasters and climate-induced migration and conflict.

“As early adopters of new agricultural techniques, first responders in crises and entrepreneurs of green energy, rural women are a powerful force that can drive global progress.” – UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Photography by Max Ravier from Pexel

Rural Women & Climate Resilience: an Important Combination

In addition to performing the majority of unpaid domestic and care work, women account for a large proportion of the agricultural labour force. Here, rural women make significant contributions to food and nutrition security, natural resource management, and to building climate resilience. As such, their role in development is crucial. 

One in three women that are employed work in agriculture. It is them who are collecting biomass fuels, manually processing foodstuffs, and pumping water. Many households do not even have access to piped water, with 80% of those households relying on girls and women to collect water. Since climate change is having some of its greatest impacts on food and water availability, it is women who are currently standing on the frontlines in the battle against climate change. From 2006 to 2016, a quarter of all climate change reIated losses in developing countries were in the agricultural sector, severely impacting rural women’s productive potential and consequently, the communities’ food security.

Given the potential of women in rural communities to mitigate climate change, addressing gender inequality is of the utmost importance. Women who are empowered have a greater capacity to respond to climate change, playing important roles in adopting low-carbon technologies, spreading knowledge about climate change and urging action.

Photography by Kelly Lacy from Pexel

Staiy, So Just Shop & the Mission

Holidays such as the International Day of Rural Women were born from the need to educate the public, initiate political interest and resource mobilisation, as well as to celebrate and strengthen humanitarian achievements. At Staiy, this is exactly what we do. We uplift voices, champion issues that matter, educate consumers on these issues and promote ways in which we can all do better. 

In order to spotlight brands who share this philosophy and vision, one of Staiy’s newest partners, SO JUST SHOP, has created a brand that encourages economic empowerment and helps the very women this holiday is meant to serve. SO JUST SHOP is a brand with a carefully curated collection of ethically sourced accessories and homeware, handcrafted by female artisans from some of the most vulnerable communities in the world. SO JUST SHOP ensures each purchase positively impacts the lives of the artisans and their communities. 

Their mission is to raise 250,000 women and their families out of abject poverty by ensuring that ethical and sustainable products are accessible to all. They do this by working with small-scale artisan groups, providing them with the proper materials, funds and training for each piece or collection. SO JUST SHOP strives to work with co-operatives in marginalized communities and empower women who have lived through extreme poverty, disabled women, ex-sex workers, refugees, women viewed as outcasts by society, and survivors of domestic abuse and trafficking. Up to 80% of each sale goes directly towards the artisan groups and co-ops with the aim of providing these women and their families with basic education, childcare, and safe and legal employment that pays them a fair living wage. 

Photography by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn from Pexel

The Importance

It has been proven time and again, and backed by the United Nations’ philosophy, that women’s economic empowerment is a catalyst and prerequisite for sustainable development. Enhancing women’s economic development can therefore boost economic growth, promote social development for women and the entire population, and mitigate the impacts of climate change, consequently reducing poverty levels worldwide.

Rural women are vital figures concerning natural resources and agriculture and therefore experience the greatest detriment from climate change compared to men and other women. Moreover, they suffer disproportionately at the hands of poverty as shown by most gender and development indicators. There is, however, an escape from this vicious cycle when these women are given the tools for success. When provided with an education and economic empowerment, rural women have a greater capacity to respond to climate change and create real change in their communities. So, when October 15th rolls around, how about we take a moment to honor these women by educating ourselves, getting inspired and getting involved in the global fight against poverty and inequality.

Shop and Discover So Just Shop 

SO JUST SHOP 

Eve Necklace

SO JUST SHOP 

Sita Earrings

SO JUST SHOP 

Ritu Earrings

SO JUST SHOP 

Pari Bracelet – Silver