11 September 1998

RURAL WOMENS DAY

HERE is a fresh writing challenge, this time open to all Farmlife readers. We should like your views on World Rural Womens Day.

World Rural Womens Day (Oct 15) has its roots in the UN World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 and was formally initiated in Rome in 1996.

Although women produce more than 50% of all food grown, 55% in the developing world and about 80% in Africa, they have little or no choice in the decision making and ownership of community projects, says the Associated Country Women of the World, which is one of the instigators of World Rural Womens Day.

The aim of World Rural Womens Day is to raise the profile of rural women, to make governments and the public aware of their crucial role and to generate support for them.

Last year the day was marked around the world with meetings, workshops, radio programmes, newspaper articles, a proclamation by President Clinton and a London conference organised by the NFU which looked at womens role in agriculture in the UK. Then the theme was Towards Food Security, this year the theme is Women Feed the World.

How do you think World Rural Womens Day should be marked here? How to you see womens role in UK agriculture? Are there inequalities still to be addressed? Why is there still only one women on the NFU Council? Your views are invited We shall pay £25 for each letter published.

Let us have your letters by Wed, Sept 23. Address them to Farmlife-WRWD, FARMERS WEEKLY, Quadrant House, The Quadrant, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5AS. Please keep them as short as possible and do not feel obliged to respond to all the questions posed here.