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October 14-17, 2017

(Vigan, Candon, La Union, & Bayambang)

Concept Note


On October 15 of every year, the world celebrates the International Day of Rural Women
(IDRW). It started in 2008 after the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolved to
recognize “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous
women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and
eradicating rural poverty.”

Honoring rural women was first forwarded during the Fourth World Conference on
Women in Beijing, China, in 1995. To highlight the invaluable role of women in
producing food, ensuring food security, and addressing hunger, October 15, which is the
eve of the World Food Day, was chosen for the celebration of International Day of Rural

Globally, rural women comprise more than a quarter of the world’s population. In
developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43% of the agricultural
labour force. They produce, prepare and process much of the food available, thereby
giving them primary responsibility for food security. Thus it is important to recognise the
contribution and significant role played by these rural women in food security and
poverty elevation. It is also necessary for ensuring rural women’s access to productive
agricultural resources contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty.

In the Philippines, agriculture plays a significant role in the Philippine economy, rural
women undertake a variety of production and caring activities. Though not counted in
official statistics, women are active economic actors such as landless workers, traders of
agricultural and fishery products, and engaged in micro-manufacturing enterprises. Of the
total rural work force, women comprised 27.3 percent of the 10.4 million workers
employed in the agricultural, hunting and forestry sector in 2004 (NSO, 2004).

Women's actual contribution to food production and rural economy remains undervalued
if not invisible. As a result, women have less access to productive resources than men do.
Access to land, technology, extension services, capital, and infrastructure support tend to
favour rural men (WAGI, 2003).
Ownership of land remains elusive for many rural women. As per an assessment from
January to September 2001, women comprised only 34.8 percent of total agrarian reform
beneficiaries (Philippine NGO BPA+10 Report, 2005).

Today, farmers, fishers and pastoralists stand on the frontlines of food insecurity as
temperatures rise, weather patterns become less predictable and climate-related disasters
become more frequent. As key actors in food systems, as small-scale farmers and those in
charge of ensuring adequate nutrition for families, rural women are at the centre of this

Yet, their voices are muted; their choices restricted. Women farmers control less land than
do men—less than 20 per cent of landholders are women and also have limited access to
inputs, seeds, credits, climate-smart technologies or finance. Whether they stay back to
care for their families and communities when environmental degradation or disasters
strike, or migrate to find food, safety and decent work, rural women are exponentially
more vulnerable and marginalized.
Despite being ranked as the 5th overall out of the 136 countries evaluated based on gender
gap indicators that include political empowerment, economic participation and
opportunity, health and survival, and educational attainment—substantive improvement
in the lives of majority poor have yet to be felt (World Economic Forum).

The Philippines takes pride in its national policies and programs that are designed to
bridge the gender gaps. Some of these are the hallmark legislations such as the Magna
Carta of Women, Anti-Rape Law, Anti-Sexual Harassment Law, and very recently, the
Reproductive Health Law. The country also boasts of having two women presidents and
many other women at the helm in various government and public institutions.

However, despite these laws, women still have to confront the lopsided gender divide that
discriminates women from fully reaching their full potentials. Rural women in particular
persist with low levels of income, sparse access to education and health services, limited
job security as well as limited land and inheritance rights. Again and again. Their needs
as well as their contributions are relegated to the margins of policy development and
budgetary consideration. In addition to the entrenced patterns of discrimination,
unsustainable development practices, climate change, and violence against women
intensify the burden placed on women and their families.

It is therefore imperative that rural woman are empowered if we are to fulfill the vision of
the Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty and hunger, achieve food
security and empower all women and girls.

The conduct of the International Day of Rural women hopes to provide a platform of
conversations among rural women and other stakeholders including the government as
the primary duty bearer. About 600-1000 rural women from the 4 cities in Region 1 are
expected to participate in this celebratory gathering to:
 Share women’s everyday lived experiences (herstory);
 Discuss and analyze pressing issues and concerns that affect rural women using
the women’s lenses;
 Harness strengths and resources of women in addressing rural women’s situation
(celebrating inner power);
 Identify areas for collaboration and assistance with the country’s leaders,
particularly those in the government sector; and
 Establish a network of rural women’s organization that continually dialogue with
the government leaders and collaborate for the promotion of women’s welfare and


The issues of rural women are deeply intertwined with food and poverty. As such, it is
proposed that the celebration of International Day of Rural Women be held in 4 days and
in 4 sites. About 600-1000 representatives of rural women’s organizations will gather on
the following days:
Date International Event Site
October 14, 2017 Kickoff celebration for the Vigan City, Ilocos Sur
International Day of
October 15, 2017 International Day of Rural Candon City, Ilocos Sur

October 16, 2017 World Food Day La Union, La Union

October 17, 2017 International Day for the Bayambang, Pangasinan
Eradication of Poverty


The celebration of IDRW will be done through partnership with the local government
units in the target sites. Program flow will be closely coordinated with the local
government units and NCWP partners. National Council of Women of the Philippines
(NCWP) will create a Steering Committee to draw up the program and logistical
preparations. An events management team may be tapped to ensure the programmatic and
logistical requirements of the IDRW in 4 sites.

Time Activity
7:00-7:30 Registration/Assembly
7:30-8:30 Parade around the plaza of participating rural women’s
organizations and will congregate at the provincial/city covered
assembly/session hall for the forum
 Interfaith Prayer
 Provincial Hymn & National Anthem
 Introductions of Guests & Participants
 Welcome Remarks
 Keynote Address
10:00-10:30 Coffee/Tea Break
10:30-12:00 INPUT 1: Trials and Triumphs of Rural Women
 Rural Women’s Situation in the country
 Voices of Rural Women
 Womenomics of the countryside
12:00-1:00 Lunch
1:00-3:00 INPUT 2: Issues & Concerns of Rural Women
 Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR)
 Food & Nutrition
 Climate Change & Disaster Preparedness
3:00-3:30 Coffee/Tea Break
3:30-5:00 SYNTHESIS
 Closing Remarks
 Closing Blessings