World Rural Women’s Day, 15 October

Isis International joins in celebrating World Rural Women’s Day by sharing with you the statement of FemLINKPACIFIC.

FemLINKPACIFIC Statement for Rural Women’s Day 2011

11 October 2011

“Rural Women’s Day 2011 should be more than just about advocating for a gender inclusive development agenda. Rural Women’s Day 2011 should enable the diverse experiences of rural women to inform solutions and actions to define their peace and human security. This includes enabling information and communication channels to addressing peace and development priorities which also include the new and emerging threats to Peace in the Pacific including the impact of climate change, tensions over access to water, land and other diminishing resources,” says the convenor of the a rural women’s media and policy network in Fiji.

Speaking on behalf of the Fiji based Community Media Network on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security), convened by FemLINKPACIFIC, Executive Director, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls highlighted the role of community radio which has enabled rural women from as far as Udu Point in Vanua Levu as well as young women to inform Dialogue and Peacebuilding processes:

“As we commemorate Rural Women’s Day 2011, FemLINKPACIFIC is pleased to announce the expansion of our women’s community radio network as a result of the donation of 2 additional “suitcase” radio kits thanks to a capital grant from Australian AID. This means women in two rural centres – Nausori and Labasa will be actively involved in the 16 days of community radio campaign coinciding with the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence from November 25 – December 10.”

In 2012 FemTALK 89.2FM will also be able to stage uninterrupted weekend broadcasts in Suva:

“And with an additional suitcase radio kit on Viti Levu we will be able to take one “suitcase” radio kit out to more rural centres, while members of our Generation Next team in Labasa will host monthly broadcasts in town. These additional broadcasts will definitely contribute to enhancing and enriching our ongoing work of linking Peace and Development, especially with rural women,” she added.

According to FemLINKPACIFIC’s rural convenor in Labasa, Adi Vasulevu Chute, who is also the facilitator for the Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding in the North, the 1325 network is more than just about making peace the news:

“We are not just taking stories from the women, but we are also educating them and advocating and taking things from upper regional level right down to the communities, so they know, they understand. Most of the women in the rural communities now know what CEDAW and the 1325 in their own context.”

 

The rural “1325” network meets on the 3rd Wednesday in each centre and enables FemLINKPACIFIC to provide a space for women leaders, as well as senior citizens in Ba, as well as members of the Generation Next project for young women to discuss and document their human security priorities:

According to a member of Generation Next in Labasa, Alisi Matai: “Peace means having full excess to the needs and wants of a human being, a good example in the north, finance is a big problem and this causes a lot of conflicts within families and communities. Families live in houses built from cardboards and tarpaulins. Also the decision makers in the communities become gender bias at times and this cause conflicts. So the women’s peace and human security programmes we conduct with FemLINKPACIFIC raises the voices of women in Labasa market to be heard by the right authorities,” she said, explaining how an Interactive Dialogue on Women, Peace and Human Security with the Labasa Town Council earlier this year led to improvements in the toilet facilities at the market, “The community radio programmes bring women together,” she added.

By bringing together a diverse range of rural women together every month, FemLINKPACIFIC provides a platform for more rural women to be heard by policy makers as well as broader civil society said Bhagwan-Rolls:

“This is critical because we are able to ensure women who attend our community media consultations and broadcasts, as well as the members of their clubs and organisations, and their families, they have access to regular information and an opportunity share ideas, learn about the policy and international convention commitments to gender equality, women’s rights and peace and security. This is the foundation for engendering development processes, for realizing human security.”

“The community radio stories we collect, the consultations we conduct and the spaces we enable, serve as the basis for our contribution to the advocacy to ensure commitments to ALL women’s human rights – social, economic, political are accounted for, in line with commitments made in the UN Beijing Platform for Action (1995), UN Convention for the Elimination of All form of Discrimination against Women (ratified in 1995) as well as UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (Women, Peace and Security, October 2000) and the Millennium Development Goals. The stories we collect also ensure women, themselves, are able to identify their Peace and Development priorities and also remind us of the inter-connectivity between all human security priorities,” she added.

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Rural Women celebrates and honours the role of rural women on October 15 each year. It recognizes rural women’s importance in enhancing agricultural and rural development worldwide.

Background: The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on October 15, 2008. This day recognizes the role of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. The idea of honoring rural women with a special day was put forward at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. It was suggested that October 15 be celebrated as “World Rural Women’s Day,” which is the eve of World Food Day, to highlight rural women’s role in food production and food security. “World Rural Women’s Day” was previously celebrated across the world for more than a decade before it was officially a UN observance.

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