Rebeca Grynspan: Rural women want what we want

08 Mar 2012

image Rebeca Grynspan highlights the role rural women play in ending food insecurity and extreme poverty at a live Facebook chat on International Women's Day 2012. Photo: UNDP/von Brockhausen

“Rural women want to have the freedom to choose a life that they value”. wrote Rebeca Grynspan, United Nation’s Development Programme (UNDP) Deputy Chief during her Facebook chat on International Women’s Day. At UNDP’s office in New York, Ms. Grynspan replied to live questions coming in from around the world to highlight the central role rural women have in development. “They want what we want - a life with dignity, enough revenue to cover their basic needs, education and health for their children, etc.”, she wrote. During the chat, Facebook users suggested volunteering to support rural women and give them better access to education and health care.

Further questions ranged from land ownership rights to economic empowerment, HIV/AIDS and women's role in decision making and political empowerment. “Efforts to achieve sustainable growth will not be credible without the full and equal participation of rural women in decision-making”, pointed out Ms. Grynspan, referring to the recently launched UNDP publication Empowering women for stronger political parties. “Enhancing rural women's leadership and meaningful participation in all forms of decision-making and at all levels will ensure more attention is paid to meeting the needs of women and girls. It will also help to better meet the needs of society as a whole."

Questions came in from Jamaica, Jordan, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Argentina, India, the United States, Suriname, Colombia, Nigeria and Germany. The live chat reached nearly 250,000 people online through Facebook updates and tweets over the course of a few days. A takeover of UNDP’s Twitter account (@undp) by the UN entity for gender equality and women's empowerment (@UN_WOMEN) followed the chat, also highlighting rural women’s role in ending poverty.