The Book

The Book

Rural Women Around the World

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation
on Agriculture (IICA)
17.78 cm x 22.86 cm
Number of pages
Concept and edition
Manuel Otero
Editorial coordination
Jorge Werthein and Guido Nejamkis
Organization and
style correction
Randall Cordero and Lidy Astorga
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This book, edited in Spanish, Portuguese and English by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), compiles written pieces by authors who, from very diverse perspectives, examine the status of rural women and their real contribution to agriculture and development in rural areas.

The purpose of the book is to commemorate the International Day of Rural Women, established by the UN and observed on October 15 each year, as well as to provide a powerful opportunity to reflect on this topic, which will provide an initial framework for the development of solid public policies geared toward rural women.

The authors, most of whom are women, accepted an invitation from the Director General of IICA, Manuel Otero, within the framework of the new institutional road map of the inter-American organization, which specializes in agriculture and rural development.

The 2018-2022 Medium-term Plan (MTP) is the roadmap that will guide the Institute’s work, including its new programs and projects, which incorporate gender and youth as cross-cutting issues.

The authors dissect data and statistics on the lives of rural women, and explain the urgency of creating opportunities to empower them; they also describe the reasons for which rural women should be prioritized in national and international agendas, with a view to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Additionally, some of the authors share personal, intimate accounts of their own rural origins.

Sebastião Salgado, a renowned social documentary photographer and photojournalist, generously provided IICA with four photographs that form an integral part of the publication. Salgado received the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts in 1998, an accolade that described him as a photographer “who has known how to portray the human condition and to render the inequalities of the modern world with an artistic treatment that is personal, engaged, poetic and technically rigorous.”

Among the authors of the book, one of the largest compilations of unpublished visions and articles on rural women ever printed, are a prime minister (Barbados); three vice-presidents (Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama); and a former president (Costa Rica). Several ministers of state who are responsible for equity and social development issues in their respective countries (Portugal, Spain and Argentina), as well as several leaders of women’s movements (in Mexico and Brazil), also participated in the initiative.

Some of the articles are written by senior officials of international organizations, such as the President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, the Chief of Staff of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Secretary General of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO) and the Rector of the University for Peace (UPEACE), among others.

Some of the authors, including the CEO of magazines published by Editora Globo y Globo/Condé Nast in Brazil and the gender correspondent for Spanish newspaper El País, represent the world of journalism, while others are opinion or business leaders.

The enlightened voices come from five continents. The authors hail from New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.



Manuel Otero Director General
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
Coffee plantation • The Cuchumatanes Range, Guatemala 2006 • Sebastião Salgado

Coffee plantation
The Cuchumatanes Range,
©Sebastião Salgado

Rural Women on the Agenda...
Rural Women’s Agenda

It is Time to Shine the Spotlight on Rural Women
Susana Balbo Chair
Women 20

The Rural Women and Agenda 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean: A Labor Market Perspective
Alicia Bárcena Executive Secretary
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

In defense of rural women: a matter of justice and fundamental rights
Carmen Calvo Vice-President of the Government of Spain
Rural Woman in Sustainable Development
Margarita Cedeño Constitutional Vice President of the Dominican Republic and Ambassador Extraordinary of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Empowering Women in Rural Areas: Progress and Challenges in the Context of Agenda 2030
Laura Chinchilla Miranda Former President
Republic of Costa Rica

Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Women in Mexico
Nuria Costa Leonardo Director General
National Rural Women’s Network (RENAMUR) Cuernavaca, México

Inequality Is Our Greatest Challenge
Isabel de Saint Malo de Alvarado Former Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs
Republic of Panama

The Unreported Alliance Between Vogue, IICA and Women 20
Daniela Falcão Managing Director
Edições Globo Condé Nast

Empowering the “Force of Nature”: International Policy Coordination for Global Recognition of Rural Women
Angela Joo-Hyun Kang Founder and Executive President Global Competitiveness Empowerment
Forum (GCEF). A B20 member and a W20 Delegate
Republic of Korea

Rural Women – A Gender Perspective
Mara Marinaki Ambassador, Principal Advisor on Gender and on the implementation of UNSCR1325 on Women, Peace and Security, European External Action Service (EEAS)
Brussels, Belgium

The Opportunities for Transformation Open Up When Women Have Land Rights
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka United Nations (UN) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
Rural Women of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Rosa Monteiro Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality
Government of Portugal

Empowering Our Female Farmers to End Food Insecurity
Luis Alberto Moreno President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Rural Women and their Policies – a Matter of Equality
Marta Lucía Ramírez de Rincón Vice President of the Republic of Colombia
Rural Women – Making the Invisible, Visible
Gabriela Ramos Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Chief of Staff, Sherpa to the G7 and G20 and Special Counsellor to the Secretary- General
Paris, France

Imagine the Future: Rural Women In Latin America and the Caribbean
Katie Taylor Executive Director of Pan American Development Foundation (PADF)
Coffee picke • San Marcos de Tarrazú, Central region, Costa Rica 2013 • ©Sebastião Salgado

Coffee picker
San Marcos de Tarrazú,
Central region, Costa Rica
©Sebastião Salgado

Figures that Loudly Portray Reality

Poverty and Productive Involvement of Rural Women
Josette Altmann Borbón General Secretary of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO)
Opportunities and representation for rural women
Tereza Cristina Corrêa da Costa Dias Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply

Rural Women: The Need for a Development Model with a Differentiated Approach
Carmen Rosa de León-Escribano Executive Director of the Institute of Education for Sustainable Development and Representative on the Board of Directors of the Rural Development Bank (BANRURAL)

How Crop Diversity and the Efforts of Rural Women Are Bringing Latin America More Nutritious Food
Marie Haga Executive Director
Crop Trust

Agriculture's future is female
Julia Klöckner Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture
Addressing the Persistent Gender Gaps Becomes Imperative to the Economic and Social Development of Our Region
Carmen Moreno Ambassador, Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission of
Women (CIM)
Organization of American States (OAS)

Rural Women in the Caribbean: Key Agents of Transformation for Genuine and Sustainable Development
Mia A. Mottley, Q.C., M.P. Prime Minister

The Vital Contribution of Rural Women
Soledad Murillo de la Vega Secretary of State for Equality Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Equality

Rural Women in the Northern Triangle of Central America Play a Key Role in the Food and Nutritional Security of Their Families
Patricia Palma de Fulladolsa Director
Program of Information Systems for Resilience in Food and Nutritional Security in the Region of the Central American Integration System (PROGRESAN-SICA)

Territorial Development: Brighter Prospects for Rural Women
Susana Pinilla Director and Representative
Latin American Development Bank (CAF)

From Knowledge to Action: Supporting Women in Agriculture in Latin America
Francisco Rojas Rector
University for Peace San José, Costa Rica

Towards Gender Equality, a Challenge that Brings Us Together
Carolina Stanley Minister of Social Development
Argentine Republic
Meeting of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) prior to occupying land • Paraná, Brazil 1996 • ©Sebastião Salgado

Meeting of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) prior to occupying land
Paraná, Brazil
©Sebastião Salgado

In Our DNA

The pivotal role of rural women in the development of Paraguay
Silvana Abdo First Lady of the Republic of Paraguay
Weaving My Way into the Fabric and Looms of Argentina’s Rural Women
Verónica Alfíe Fashion designer. Creator of the Veroalfie brand
Buenos Aires, Argentina

The Woman Whose Tears Flowed from One Eye Only
Pilar Álvarez Molero Journalist. Gender correspondent for El País newspaper

More women in agriculture to feed the world
Dana Bolden Senior Vice-President of External Affairs & Sustainability of Corteva Agriscience
My Name Is Epsy Like My Grandma, a Brave Rural Woman
Epsy Campbell Vice President
Republic of Costa Rica

The Declaration on the Rights of Peasants to improve the situation of rural women across the globe
María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés President of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
How I learned to see agriculture (and everything else) as a gender issue
Melinda Gates Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
New Zealand’s Rural Women: Past, Present and Future
Sarah Paterson Agricultural specialist. Leading expert in trade policy and stakeholder relations
New Zealand

A History of Effective and Affective Struggle for all Women’s Rights
Rita Teixeira Movimento de Mulheres do Nordeste Paraense – MMNEPA (Women ́s Movement of Northeast Pará)
Pará, Brazil
Rural worker in the Brazilian semi-arid region • Ceará, Brazil 1983 • ©Sebastião Salgado

Rural worker in the Brazilian semi-arid region
Ceará, Brazil
©Sebastião Salgado