International Rural Women’s Day: key role in boosting green employment

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On October 15 of each year we celebrate the International Day of Rural WomenThe United Nations General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) established this event in 2007 to highlight the importance of women in the generation of wealth, as well as in innovation and green entrepreneurship. The date also highlights the key role of women living in rural areas, as they are fundamental in promoting economic, social and environmental transformations.

Despite playing an important role in economic growth, rural women face greater discrimination than urban women. Inequality scenarios between men and women are higher in terms of remuneration, health care or access to education, especially in regions with high rates of population at risk of poverty. According to a UN Women report, only 2% of rural women in developing countries complete upper secondary education.

Empowering women living in rural areas is not only key to the well-being of local communities, but also to strengthening economies. Agriculture is the main employment for this population group, but the rural women also play a key role in the process of preserving and conserving biodiversity. of agrarian systems, given their participation in rural societies, and in the maintenance of the culture and traditions of local communities. Furthermore, according to UN Women data, it is estimated that if women had the same opportunities as men, agricultural production could increase by 2.5% to 4% in the poorest regions. Therefore, women play an essential role in the food supply of rural communities.

In this context, the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), through the Emprendeverde Networksupports different entrepreneurship projects that aim to recognize the role of rural women in their contribution to green employment and as active social agents in the generation of wealth and the protection of biodiversity.

Thus, the “Feltai” initiative, composed entirely of women, seeks to add value to the wool of the Xalda sheep for the production of textile products. The project seeks to boost the Asturian rural environment by using systems that reduce water use and minimize fuel consumption.

In addition, “Ladrón de Miel“, a family business led by Marleen Schafer, is located in the rural environment of El Gastor (Sierra de Cádiz). This initiative produces natural products free of pesticides such as raw honey or extra virgin olive oil, paying attention to the care of the land and promoting the increase of biodiversity in the environment.

Meanwhile, “Gabarrera“, led by Mónica Somocarrera, is a project that combines social and environmental aspects with the production of a 100% craft and organic beer. The corporate model of the initiative is based on the promotion of community development projects, allocating all profits to the revitalization of its immediate environment. In addition, the cooperative participates in different actions together with FADEMUR (Federation of Rural Women’s Associations).

Likewise, the promotion of the bioeconomy as a means of promoting the generation of sustainable and environmentally friendly wealth is also one of the keys to the ecological transition. Agriculture is a traditionally masculinized environment, in which the bioeconomy also represents an opportunity to reduce the gender gap and to make the ecological transition fair and inclusive. Within the framework of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (PRTR), Fundación Biodiversidad promotes bioeconomy initiatives in which it integrates the gender perspective with the transformative aim of ensuring that the projects, in addition to their biodiversity-related objectives, serve to improve real equality between men and women. In this sense, initiatives such as Del Bosque A Tu Casa and Naturaleza Pastoreada include specific actions aimed at empowering rural women and giving visibility to their work.