Rural women: fundamental for the economic recovery of the rural environment and depopulation

The rural world currently occupies approximately 80% of the territory and is home to 20% of the world’s population. Although in recent decades there has been a depopulation that together with aging constitutes a worrying reality, linked to the exodus of young people, high mortality rates and low birth rates.

The performance of the rural woman becomes essential to avoid the abandonment of villages and rural areas , focusing focus on young rural woman who has gone from playing roles complementary to those of the man to represent major roles as farmers, livestock and entrepreneurs or recovering traditional trades that would otherwise fall into oblivion. Thus, women promote economic recovery and enhancement of the cultural and natural heritage of our rural areas.

The importance of women in the rural environment

Women have traditionally performed different essential functions in the rural environment, among others:

  • Social function . Family care and maintenance of the family unit.
  • Cultural function . Conservation and transmission of the heritage and culture of the environment, highlighting the gastronomic heritage.
  • Environmental function . Sustaining the landscape and preservation of natural resources.

Women also performed support work in agricultural and livestock jobs, the two sectors in which rural work focused. However, in recent years there has been a diversification of employment, appearing new activities in which women have great opportunities for personal and professional development:

  • Food quality . Ecological agriculture stands out, which we remember is an agricultural system based on the optimal use of natural resources, without the use of chemical synthesis substances or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), obtaining organic food while preserving soil fertility and the environment is respected.
  • Rural tourism . Houses, apartments, hotels, hostels or rural restaurants as a sustainable alternative to beach tourism.
  • Recovery of traditional trades . Examples of this are clothing or goldsmithing.
  • Artisanal transformation of products . Especially agri-food products.
  • Small and medium agri-food industries . Such as those related to the gastronomy of the environment.

All these activities involve an increase in the influx of visitors, which generates wealth and urges the place to conserve and value its cultural and natural heritage . In turn, the increase in tourism encourages the launch of new leisure activities —guided cultural visits, interpretation and environmental education centers, nature classrooms or school farms.

rural woman

Limitations of women in rural areas

Despite new job opportunities, rural women continue to face many difficulties ; limitations that cause it to be forced to abandon rural areas in search of new opportunities in urban environments, which translates into a severe problem of depopulation and aging of the rural environment.

Among the main limitations of women we can highlight:

  • Shortage or lack of services, such as cultural centers and training centers, nursery schools, health care and other healthcare services .
  • Lack of public transport and communication routes, which lead to the characteristic isolation of these areas.
  • Reduced access to new communication technologies that contribute to the development of the area, allowing adequate access to information and an opportunity for training.

Initiatives and policies for improvement and equality

In order to find solutions and promote equal opportunities between men and women in rural areas , in recent years various initiatives have been carried out, such as the proclamation by the United Nations of the International Day of Rural Women , which is celebrated every October 15. In 2003, the role of rural women, their rights and their professional development, became the central element of the European Rural Development Agenda , which called for the establishment of urgent measures that favor equal opportunities .

Likewise, the different public bodies establish calls for grants for the promotion and improvement of women in rural areas or organize prizes for innovative projects launched by them. Finally, the rural women’s organizations present in the different countries also carry out important tasks of social awareness and mobilization , promoting the incorporation of women in all areas of rural society and working to eliminate inequalities between men and women in decision-making. decision making.

Rural women have participated in the economic life of their environment, perceiving the disadvantages of work but very few of its advantages. We are in full transformation towards a fairer situation, mainly led by rural women and in the background through equal opportunities policies that equalize them to men, as well as improvement of the environment itself to facilitate their personal and professional development .

All this will result in a younger and more educated rural world, with more and better future, which in turn will contribute to the conservation of cultural, gastronomic and environmental heritage.



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