Women living in rural areas in many parts of the world face severe deprivations, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday in a message on the International Day of Rural Women, calling for greater support of their rights. Noting that the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women — the only international human rights treaty that specifically addresses rural women — falls this year, Mr, Ban said that women frequently did not benefit from its provisions. “They are among those hit hardest by the inadequate rate of progress in improving maternal health,” he said.

“They have limited access to life-saving resources,” he said, stressing that too “many rural women and girls are not in school, and they lack equitable access to decision-making processes, meaning that their voices are not heard.” In December 2007, the U.N. General Assembly designated October 15 as the International Day of Rural Women. — Xinhua

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