The European Green Deal sets Europe on the pathway to becoming the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The EU’s first-ever Gender Equality Strategy is designed to make gender equality in the EU a reality.
Building synergies between these two strategies, especially in the rural area, will be crucial to improving gender equality in energy, climate, and harnessing Europe’s talent to support a green and sustainable transition. Rural women are key agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental, and social changes required for the green and digital transition.
As the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s (2019) points out, women play important roles in the rural economy as farmers, wage earners and entrepreneurs. They take responsibility for the well-being of the members of their families, including food provision and care for children and the elderly. The ILO estimates that rural women comprise one-quarter of the world’s population. Women also include 41 per cent of the world’s agricultural labour force, a ratio that rises to 49 per cent for low-income countries. Yet, women in rural areas face constraints in engaging in economic activities because of gender-based discrimination and social norms, disproportionate involvement in unpaid work, and unequal access to education, healthcare, property, and financial and other services. Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment go hand in hand. Both are important in ensuring that women enjoy their human rights and can play a role in contributing to inclusive and sustainable development through a thriving rural economy.
How can rural women be sustainably empowered? Through:
- Adult Education and Training
- Vocational Skills and Businesses
The WE GREEN project wants to build awareness in the rural areas about women and green entrepreneurship as vehicles for the empowerment of local communities. The project also addresses the need to transform the EU economy into green and develop new skills required for green jobs and green entrepreneurship in the rural area, using digitalization and social economy models. When empowered, women contribute to their family’s income and become active change leaders in their communities.
International Labour Organization. (2019). Empowering Women in the Rural Economy – DECENT WORK IN THE RURAL ECONOMY POLICY GUIDANCE NOTES. Accessed on, 06 16, 2022, https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_dialogue/—sector/documents/publication/wcms_601071.pdf