List of Open Letters & Themes


Rural women around the world play a major role in ensuring food security and contribute to the development and stability of rural areas. Yet, with little or no status, they frequently lack the power to secure land and water rights or to access vital services such as credit, inputs, extension services, training and education. The International Day of Rural Women aims to bring rural women to the forefront - to remind society and governments how much they owe rural women so that they value and compensate their work.

After 10 years of WWSF lobbying and campaigning, the UN General Assembly decided on 6 November 2007 to declare that 15 October of each year shall be officially proclaimed and observed as a UN International Day of Rural Women.

WWSF, principle organizer of the World Day campaign since 1996, writes and publishes annually an Open Letter to Rural Women of the world (all published on the Internet).


Every year WWSF selects a special theme, which becomes the central message and Call to action.

  • 1995 Launch of the idea of a World Rural Women’s Day during the Beijing Women’s Conference
  • 1996 Creation of a viable project and soliciting funds to start the campaign
  • 1997 Launch of the Day at the United Nations in Geneva and at FAO in Rome
  • 1998 “Human Rights for all Rural Women”
  • 1999 “Give Credit for Rural Women”
  • 2000 “Celebrating Biodiversity”
  • 2001 “Protect your Traditional Knowledge”
  • 2002 “Claim your Right to Safe Water”
  • 2003 “Claim your right to Information and Communication Technologies ICTs”
  • 2004 “Claim your right to decision-making”
  • 2005 “Hold your Leaders to account: Demand that promises are kept – keep on moving forward!
  • 2006 “Claim your right to adequate housing”
  • 2007 “Claim your right to food”
  • 2008 "Claim development as a women’s right”
  • 2009 “Claim your right to health and well-being”
  • 2010 “Claim your right and your Daughters’ Right to Education”
  • 2011 "Claim your right to Land and Inheritance"
  • 2012 "Claim your Space in Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change!"
  • 2013 "Claim your Right to Dignity and Education"
  • 2014 "Celebrating 20th anniversary WWSF Prize for women's creativity in rural life (1994 - 2014)"