International Day of Rural Women – October 15th

An opportunity to reflect on the situation of women in the Andean world.

Submitted by Carmen Rosario Alvarez Ponce de Leon. Carmen is the Executive Director of CADEP, Esperança’s partner organization in Peru. She has worked with CADEP for 30 years, assuming the position of Executive Director in the year 2010.  Carmen is a champion for the most vulnerable populations in Peru and works on behalf of indigenous people, especially women, children and adolescents.  She is responsible for the implementation, and technical and financial management of agency’s projects.

The United Nations estimates that a quarter of the world's population are rural women who work as farmers, wage-earners, and entrepreneurs, and less than 20% of the world's landowners are women.

In the Peruvian Andean world it is estimated that 47.8% of the rural population are women (about 3.5 million), and statistics indicate that 70 out of every 100 rural women work in agriculture, 23.5% of women aged 15 and over are illiterate and that 46% of rural women between 14 and 29 years old have no resources of their own and are economically dependent on man. 

However, the role of women is of the utmost importance in the conservation of seeds, planting, food security and sovereignty, and, therefore, in the conservation of agro-biodiversity.  The statistics indicate, as already mentioned, that 70% of the female population is dedicated to agriculture, and, as if that were not enough, it is also a fundamental factor in the face of the consequences of the pandemic resisting the strongest attacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, Peruvian women are leading the charge in the face of the at times unpredictable circumstances posed by climate change: recurrent rains and droughts, and extreme events such as hailstorms and frosts, facing them by resorting to forgotten foods and medicinal herbs.

On the occasion of the commemoration of the International Day of Rural Women, I hope that October 15th serves to reflect on the role played by Andean women and the difficult situation they are going through, and that through our actions we contribute to the well-being and autonomy of rural women to overcome their postponement and achieve for them a just and equitable future.

Read more about Esperança's work in Peru.

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