Enabling Rural Women's Economic Empowerment: Institutions, Opportunities, Participation Expert Group Meeting Recommendations

Thursday, December 22, 2011
United Nation Theme: 


We recognize that rural women's and men's lives, their livelihoods, and their roles and responsibilities are multi-dimensional and dynamic. They are impacted by policies, institutional mechanisms and rules, as well as by the gender relations institutionalized in households, communities, and beyond. This means that policies and programmes must be informed by participatory process involving rural women and men and take into account the diversity and complexity of factors that underpin the well-being and empowerment of women, men, girls and boys.

We recognize rural women as agents of change who contribute to local and national economies, agriculture, rural development, household livelihoods, food and nutrition security and social well-being.

We recognize the role of men as agents of change alongside women.

We recognize women as leaders, decision-makers, producers, workers, entrepreneurs, and service providers in national and local policies, alongside men.

We recognize the diversity of rural women by age; religion; ethnicity; their social, economic, political and ecological status, and other factors. We respect their cultural identities, languages, worldviews and their individual and collective rights.

We recognize the full enjoyment of indigenous women and men, as a collective or as individuals, to land, territories and productive resources based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We recognize that Governments have the responsibility to promote, protect, and fulfill the human rights of rural women and men to ensure their economic, social and cultural wellbeing.

We recognize that violence against women persists in all countries and is a major obstacle to rural women's empowerment and enjoyment of their rights.

We recognize the multifaceted characteristics of rural economies creating both opportunities and challenges for rural women and men in the farm and off-farm sectors.
We recognize the many inequalities and challenges faced by different groups of rural women and men in accessing economic and social opportunities and services. Rural development frameworks have not been able to successfully address the range of gender-specific challenges rural women face.

We recognize that macro-economic policies have not given adequate attention to the empowerment of rural women and that trade, employment and fiscal policy decisions have tended to contribute to the economic marginalization of rural women.

Therefore, new rural development frameworks need to take into account the risks and opportunities faced by diverse groups of rural women and men in the changing global context. These frameworks should ensure the compliance and accountability of state and non-state actors operating at macro, meso and micro levels to mitigate these risks and accelerate access to opportunities and respond to the rights, aspirations and needs of rural women and men.

National and international governance systems need to promote inclusive economic growth strategies that generate long-term societal benefits, including improved well-being of rural women, and reduced inequality and poverty in rural areas as well as reduced inequality between rural and urban areas.

Effective decentralization can be an important strategy for rural women's economic empowerment, and can be conducive to a fuller engagement of rural women in public affairs, provided it is accompanied by attitudinal change, capacity development, and inclusive and participatory processes for the formulation and implementation of policies, strategies, programs and projects.

The green economy, including environmentally sustainable agriculture, can provide policy instruments to achieve sustainable development and help mitigate climate change for current and future generations. Given rural women's key contributions to agriculture, rural livelihoods and sustainable development, they need to play an important role in defining, structuring and implementing the green economy.

The implementation of these recommendations has to be in accordance with international conventions and human rights standards, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the International Covenant on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Rio Conventions, relevant ILO conventions and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other international commitments such as the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging.

The attached recommendations are addressed to a range of different stakeholders, including Governments, the United Nations system, the private sector and civil society, including rural organizations

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EGM Recommendations for CSW 56