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Building connection one heart at a time

Rural Women Can Save Our Future

Report by the founder of the W20 Gülden Türktan
Rural Women Can Save Our Future

The Women 20 (W20) is a substructure of the G20, which regularly holds meetings to discuss the ways of expanding women’s economic opportunities. This summer, another meeting of the W20 members was chaired by the Indonesian delegation. Gülden Türktan, the founder of the W20, devoted her report to supporting rural women.

Гюльден-Тюрктан_0T.jpg Gülden Türktan
Founder and the First President of W20, Chairperson of the Board of IWF Turkey, former President of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER)

Statistics shows that many women who work as lawyers, architects, designers, bankers, businesspersons, and other professionals live in rural areas today. After the COVID-19 pandemic, many more professionals who prefer remote working have moved to the countryside. As emphasized by Gülden Türktan, at the same time, many women living in rural areas contribute to the development of rural production irrespective of their professional focus.

How to Support Rural Women

Rural women play a key role in food security, rural livelihoods, agro-biodiversity conservation, and natural resource management. In the context of the rapid climate change, the risk of hunger in certain regions of the planet is increasing. Highly developed agriculture in other areas can become the best solution to such a global problem.

Rural women pose a great potential for the development of their countries and the whole world. They are the key corner stones for shaping an eco-friendly future of the planet.

As emphasized by Gülden Türktan, in her opinion, the governments of the W20 countries need to make the infrastructural investments in the rural areas. She proposed concrete measures to take: road construction, ensuring easier transportation, and provision of rural areas with electricity, water, sewage, irrigation systems, accessible internet, and mobile communication.

Unfortunately, certain gender-based discrimination still exists in the field of agriculture in some countries. Studies conducted by the UN Women demonstrated what would happen if women had the same access to productive resources as men. In this case, they would be able to increase yields on their farms by 20-30%, thus raising total agricultural output in these countries by 2.5-4%. In its turn, that can reduce the number of hungry people in the world by around 12-17%.

‘Green’ World

Creating ‘green’ jobs, developing ‘green’ skills, and making ‘green’ investments are what can create a better future for the humanity, believes Gülden Türktan. Rural women better than anyone else can bring the world closer to eco-friendly living. However, to do that, they need support from the government, business, and people around them.

As explained by Gülden Türktan, ‘green’ jobs are the jobs paying much attention to reducing consumption of energy and raw materials, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and caring attitude to the environment. Thanks to companies supporting these principles, Earth’s ecosystem is protected and it can restore itself.

‘Green’ skills are the knowledge, values, and attitudes necessary for life, development, and sustainable and resource-efficient society. In other words, these are all the things people use to make the world a ‘greener’ place.

In addition, according to Gülden Türktan, ‘green’ investments in organic farming, agro-tourism, certification and branding processes for organic and sustainable produce, and farm-to-market food systems need to be specifically targeted to rural women and youth. It is necessary to expand the basic education and the knowledge base and tell people more about what we should strive for. 

‘Leave No One Behind’ Principle

To achieve the goal of creating a better future and present for humanity, people must adhere to the principle of ‘leaving no one behind’. This means that the work of the W20 must address all areas of society and support women from all fields of activity.

Gülden Türktan reminded the listeners about the moment in 2015 when the W20 participants had voiced an important idea: leadership positions both in the political and business spheres shall bring sustainable growth and social care infrastructure including childcare shall bring additional sustainability and growth to their societies. Many people were rather skeptical about that forecast. The number of women on leadership positions was too small at that time.

As of 1 September 2021, women served as Heads of State and/or Government in 24 countries out of 140 countries.

The share of woman-led Fortune 500 companies has hit a record high last year. More than 40 women were the CEOs of the largest corporations in the USA. The changes take place gradually but that only shows that women leaders are on a sustainable path.

Today, many countries and companies pay special attention to creating a social welfare infrastructure making it possible for women to build their careers comfortably and combine professional duties with family care harmoniously. An increasing number of laws support women in different fields of activity.

According to Gülden Türktan, the figures could have been better. However, at least, we can see that they are improving. That tells us about the importance to dream about a better world and move towards this goal.

The ‘leave no one behind’ principle dictates the urgent need to promote rural women.

In her speech, Gülden Türktan invited the Women 20 members to devote their energies to enlightening people around them. She finds it important to contribute to their consciousness and their aspiration to preserve an eco-friendly world. The speaker proposed to work out a G20–wide ‘green’ skills programme.

“We need to get our message to all our urban, rural, and governmental friends regarding the importance of irrigation systems, clean water, and optimum fertilization and pesticide use. We need to explain why we should move towards organic production, why we need mobile communication, why reaching out to the customer and selling is crucial, and why we need to have decent work conditions in rural production”, commented Gülden Türktan.

The speaker highlighted the importance to convey the values and principles of the ‘green’ world to people around us. After all, leadership is not only about achievements but also about proper target setting. And women leaders see their main goal in shaping a better and ‘greener’ future.

Nikolay Gavrilov, Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov

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Global Women Media news agency

© 1996-2021 The Institute for the Humanities and Information Technologies
All rights reserved Global Women Media news agency