Rural women across the country are warming up to commemorate the International Day for Rural Women which comes up tomorrow.
This year’s theme for the commemoration is centred on the need to render women more independent as well as hasting their participation in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals recently adopted by the United Nations to come to the rescue of the much-vaunted MDGs of the beginning of the millennium which were expected to address developmental problems more efficiently, but which ended up virtually as a fiasco.
There is no gainsaying over the fact that the rural woman is going through a veritable revolution with many positive things to show. Their incomes are improving with the attendant effects on social services such as education, healthcare, nutrition which they can more easily access because of their improved financial standing. This improved image has also been felt with the perception of the rural women by themselves and other actors; to the extent that we find women from this background occupying positions no one could ever imagine could be occupied by them.
The situation has been boosted by new investments in the rural areas. Henceforth, it is no longer necessary for the rural woman to live within the urban milieu in order to benefit from the bounties of modern life. Proactive government projects have taken roads to inaccessible areas and the creation of schools and health units all over the place has brought development to their doorsteps. But this state of affairs can only be sustainable or long-lasting if the rural woman goes beyond reaping the handy fruits swinging over their heads and, rather reaching out for those found much higher up the tree.
By this, we mean that the rural woman would only be considered to have improved her lot when she goes for some of the important and strategic positions, elective or otherwise which are either almost the exclusive reserve of men or for women living in the cities. This is so because she tends to be satisfied with the immediate benefits whereas her new-found potential enables her to go out of the village milieu or, at least, be better seen through seeking elective representative office. This is what the challenge of making the rural woman autonomous is all about. It is only with such autonomy that she can effectively and efficiently contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.