The ARWC is committed to the development of a movement of women peasants, agricultural women workers, indigenous women, Dalit women, nomads, fisherfolk, informal and formal workers, migrants and advocates calling for rural women's rights, empowerment and liberation!
International Day of Rural Women, established by the UN General Assembly in 2007, recognises "the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty."
ARWC honours rural women and advocates from all countries across Asia who continuously fight for survival, justice and freedom. ARWC celebrates the leadership, strength, creativity, and commitment in pushing for gender equality while improving lives of the general rural populace.
The ARWC draws its attention both to the contribution that rural women make in their homes, workplaces, communities and the societies and the many challenges that they face.
In the name of development and economic growth, our farms, forests, waters, ancestral territories and livelihoods were taken away. Massive land acquisitions and conversions have been systematic that displace hundreds of communities from their sources of livelihoods. Insufficient effort to tackle climate change made by the governments and corporations, and their lack of accountability put us in more disastrous situation in flood, drought, and land degradation. The caste and rural patriarchal structures impaired our cultures, education, marriage and future. With the worsening hunger and poverty situation, aggravated by soaring prices of commodities, rural women bear the greatest burden.
Yet, in the face of greater challenges posed by the global crisis, Asian rural women have shown not only extreme resilience but more importantly have played critical roles in asserting their rights and changing their situation. Rural and indigenous women defend and reclaim their land, natural resources, livelihoods, decent living condition with health and education. Rural and indigenous women contribute to their communities with their expertise, encourage other rural women and stand together to bring brighter future. Rural and indigenous women raise their voices and confront systemic violence and oppression: patriarchy, corruption, militarism, expropriation and exploitation, against the authorities, multinational corporations, governments and capitalist-imperialists.
Taking an opportunity of the 5th International Day of Rural Women, ARWC highlights and celebrates 100 rural and indigenous women for their leadership, passion, strength and courage in resisting human rights violations, gender injustices and discrimination. These are the profiles of some of them:
She serves the families of small farmers in rural communities and provides consultancy to sick people and immunisation to children. She also provides information and raises awareness on maternal and child healthcare, hygiene and nutrition applying her medical knowledge and skills.
She is an elected woman representative. Despite being harassed, deserted and humiliated, she conquered and won the elections. To ensure that women's voices are heard, she motivates other women to stand for elections and conducts workshops to raise voters' awareness in the electoral process.
She struggles for dignity of women fisherfolk. While dealing with multiple tasks in poverty and gender discrimination she faces, she sets up an organisation and coordinates women in fishing communities raising awareness of and advocating for gender equality.
She is committed to the healthy environment and rural sustainable livelihoods. She practices and shares her knowledge and skills in producing organic and locally grown agricultural and livestock products. She also implements the projects creating employment opportunities for rural women in the countryside.
She supports rape victims. Despite her experience of violence and threats of murder and harassment, she actively campaigns to end violence against women and defend women's rights. She provides legal support and medical aid to women who were victims of violence and social taboos.
She leads her community to defend their ancestral land and resources, livelihoods and self-determination. She continues being involved in the campaign against destructive projects affecting the indigenous peoples. She is a role model of indigenous women conserving people's land and culture.
She struggles with rural poor communities and agricultural workers even compromising her health due to the massive pesticide spraying in the plantation. Today, she leads the campaign against extra-judicial killings as these are happening in rural provinces.
She supports and mobilises internally-displaced women. She fights for their rights with them and makes sure IDPs are provided of quality food. She encourages rural women in minority groups to speak up the issues they face in times of disaster, armed conflicts and violence.
She organises rural women and children to increase awareness on climate change and build their capacity to adapt its impact. She promotes discussion on sustainable development and environmental safety in a participatory way.
ARWC salutes the courageous efforts made by rural and indigenous women to bring justice and empower their communities. ARWC joins hands with all rural and indigenous women in transforming the society and embracing our futures.
OUR VOICES WILL BE HEARD!
For Rights, Empowerment and Liberation!
Honouring 100 women to mark 100 years of Women's Resistance