Comprehensive Plan for Rural Women

Comprehensive Plan for Rural WomenComprehensive Plan for Rural Women

The vice-president for women and family affairs announced that “a comprehensive plan for rural women’s upliftment in the country will be devised.”

Shahindokht Molaverdi who was addressing the D-8 (Developing-8) meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) said this would be done in coordination with institutions whose work is related to rural women, ISNA reported.

Molavardi also announced plans to launch an interest-free loan fund for women in D-8 countries, which include Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Nigeria and Egypt.

‘’During the previous years, thanks to efforts by various organizations, standards of health education were raised among rural women, but these advancements rarely enhanced the quality of rural women’s lives due to various socio-economic reasons,’’ she said. Since most of the bodies working towards the progress of rural women have to deal with multiple functions, their efforts have not had the desired impacts, she noted.

The veep considered agricultural development a prerequisite for rural growth and said ‘’agriculture is a primary concern for the economy and society and today the outlook is to achieve sustainable agriculture.’’ She noted that such development would not be possible without gender equality.

 Significant Role

‘’Women are playing a significant role in agriculture and we can tap this force to prevent spoilage of lands and help protect the environment,’’ she said.

if the purpose is to change the status quo in agriculture and create a bright future for agribusiness, then the entire society should participate in the development process. ‘’To make this possible, gender inequality must end in all social, economic and ecological fields,’’ she maintained.

She referred to UN Women’s policies and activities in promoting food security and livelihood of rural women and said according to UN Women’s guidelines, “training, equipment and modern technology” is recommended to enhance women’s participation.

Women’s role in food production is significant since they comprise a large number of the labor force in agriculture and according to the Food and Agriculture Organization their number will further grow,’’ said Molaverdi.

 Knowledge Exchange

She further said they are prepared to exchange knowledge and experience with other Islamic countries in the area of women. ‘’Today, women are no longer invisible and their role in unemployment management, healthcare, stewardship of environment and fighting poverty in developing countries is undeniable.’’ Indeed, women are indispensible to sustained growth and development.  

Factors like gender imbalances in villages, increase in the number of singles in the aging population and the death of spouse and divorce are all contributing to the increased burdens of rural women, Molaverdi said.

‘’There are no official figures on the number of women working in agriculture and although they are extensively involved in farming they have no direct share of the income as they are considered homemakers,’’ she said. ‘’Since these women declare themselves as housewives in the census, their contribution does not find place on the national accounts.”

She urged governments to allocate more resources to rural women so they can become more self-sufficient. ‘’Supporting rural women who run small businesses is one such strategy that can empower women and make them play active roles in the economy,” she added.