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International Day of Rural Women Highlights Vulnerability to Climate Change

15 October 2010: The International Day of Rural Women was celebrated by the UN on 15 October 2010, in New York, US. The Day provides an opportunity to highlight global challenges faced by rural women, including climate change.

To mark the Day, the UN  Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) has underlined that rural women are disproportionately impacted by climate change. For example, women and girls living in areas affected by desertification and deforestation have to walk longer to collect water and firewood, which further limits the time they can devote to school or income-generating activities. This may also put them at greater risk of gender-based violence. IANWGE also underscores that women are more vulnerable than men to natural disasters, such as floods, fires, and mudslides.

In his message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need to ensure that rural women are part of the climate change negotiations process and that the outcome of the Cancun Climate Change Conference addresses their contributions, priorities and needs. He concluded with a call "to do our utmost to put the rights, needs and aspirations of rural women much higher on the global agenda." [International Day of Rural Women Website] [Secretary-General Ban's Statement]