On the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women 2020, we are glad to share with you a message from Tamisha Lee, President of Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers and member of WFO Women Committee.
Since time immemorial, rural and indigenous women have silently been the backbone of our country’s development, preservers of our culture and builders of our economy. Though rarely celebrated, acknowledged and supported, they remain optimistic while sustaining several rural families, households and communities. On October 15th, the international community observes International Day of Rural Women as a day that recognizes: “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has shown the international, regional and local communities the grit and grace that rural and indigenous women and girls have always had, as they have been firmly standing at the frontline of COVID-19. This grit and grace have remained intact despite the many existing disadvantages such as domestic violence, increased workloads (including caring for the elderly and children simultaneously while managing COVID-19 in communities), less access to social protection and infrastructure, among others. Nonetheless, the courage and enormous strength of our rural and indigenous women over the years, have prepared them for such a time as this.
Undoubtedly, the world will be a different place when this pandemic ends. A post COVID-19 world will require women who are robust, flexible and empowered to think and act. Likewise, a post COVID-19 will also require governments and key development agencies to invest in our rural and indigenous women and girls now, so their resilience can be strengthened. This demands critical actions now. Let us not put off for tomorrow what we can do today, because:
Now is the time for our rural and indigenous women to be recognised for their significant role and contribution to our nation’s food security and nutrition;
Now is the time for us to maximize the potentials of our rural and indigenous women;
Now is the time for us to reduce the burden of care that falls on rural and indigenous women and girls;
Now is the time for us to help our rural and indigenous women to build sustainable businesses;
Now is the time for our rural and indigenous women to have access to land, resources, technology, education and training;
Now is the time for us to invest in increasing our rural and indigenous women’s climate resilience;
Now is the time for us to build our rural and indigenous women’s capacity so that they can effectively contribute to policy dialogues;
Now is the time for rural and indigenous women to be included in key decision making spaces;
Now is the time to eliminate violence against women and girls in rural spaces;
Now is the time for all stakeholders to support the Rural Women Agenda.
Not tomorrow! Now is the time.
The message is clear. More needs to be done. The Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers looks forward to continued partnerships with stakeholders, as we do our part in bringing a total transformation in the local, regional and international agriculture sectors.
On behalf of the Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, I wish to extend my heartfelt congratulations to our local, regional and international rural and indigenous girls and women for their achievements during the past year and laud their heroic efforts, perseverance and unfailing resilience in the management of this global pandemic.
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF RURAL WOMEN!!
Miss Tamisha Lee
Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers