Celebrating International Women’s Day 2012

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Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty

“We are strong. We are resilient. We are not vulnerable. We find ourselves in vulnerable situations.” – Isatou Jallow, Chief, Women, Children and Gender, World Food Programme during a panel on 1,000 Days: Improving the Nutrition of Rural Women during the 56th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

The Hunger Project joins the international community in celebrating International Women's Day on March 8. This year, the United Nations theme is especially close to our heart: Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty. As one of its fundamental principles, The Hunger Project firmly believes that it is absolutely essential to cause a society-wide change towards gender equality in order to end hunger and poverty.

Throughout the developing world, women are the primary caregivers for their families. Rural women grow the majority of the food produced for household consumption. They are intensively involved in food processing. They collect cooking fuel and water. They prepare and serve meals, ensuring that their families' daily food requirements are met. Despite this critical role that women play in food security, rural women are systematically denied the resources, information and freedom of action to fulfill this responsibility.

Women and girls are less likely to attend school than men. They have less access to credit, agricultural extension services and land ownership. They have little, if any, voice in decision-making. The disparity between what women do, and the resources they have, is staggering.

Despite the fact that women in developing countries provide nearly 70 percent of the agricultural labor, they continue to account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry.

Yet, we know that when women are empowered, their families are healthier, more children go to school, agricultural productivity improves and incomes increase. Our programs support women and build their capacity as leaders and key changes agents. After participating in Hunger Project programs, women throughout Africa, South Asia and Latin America are improving education, health and livelihoods in their communities. They are visible role models, inspiring countless women in thousands of villages.

We are thrilled that the undeniable need to empower rural women is in the spotlight this International Women’s Day, and that issues of gender equality are now being championed by governments, international agencies and civil society throughout the world. As Hillary Clinton says, “it’s not only the right thing to do. It’s clearly the smart thing as well.”

Read more about how The Hunger Project works to empower women leaders.

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