Prize for women's creativity in rural life

"442 Prizes awarded to-date"

 Rural Women at a glance

Rural women comprise more than one quarter of the total world population. 500 million women live below the poverty line in rural areas. Women produce 60-80 per cent of basic foodstuffs in sub-Sahara Africa and the Caribbean. Women perform over 50 per cent of the labour involved in intensive rice cultivation in Asia. Women perform 30 per cent of the agricultural work in industrialised countries. Women head 60 per cent of households in some regions of Africa. Women meet 90 per cent of household water and fuel needs in Africa. Women process 100% of basic household food stuffs in Africa.

"Rural women the world over are an integral and vital force in the development processes that are the key to socio-economic progress. Rural women from the backbone of the agricultural labour force across much of the developing world and produce 35-45% of Gross Domestic Product and well over 50% of the developing world's food. Yet, half a billion rural women are poor and lack access to resources and markets." (Geneva Declaration for rural women 1992).

Women at a glance

Status of Women

Women have not achieved equality with men in any country.

Of the world's 1,3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70% are women.

Between 75 and 80% of the world's 27 million refugees are women and children.

Women's life expectancy, educational attainment and income are highest in Sweden, Canada, Norway, USA and Finland.

The Fourth World Conference on Women (China, September 1995) resulted in agreement by 189 delegations on a five-year plan to enhance the social, economic and political empowerment of women, improve their health, advance their education and promote their reproductive rights.

Five years later, the economic conditions faced by women in sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe have deteriorated; increased indebtedness of certain countries is associated with deterioration in girl's enrolment in secondary school; household income inequality increased across a wide range of countries, particularly in Eastern Europe and other developed countries, suggesting that "poor women have not enjoyed much of the fruits of any progress".

Political Participation

Only 24 women have been elected heads of state or government in this century.Of the 185 highest-ranking diplomats to the UN, seven are women.

Women and Education

Of the world's nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.

Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girl.

Women and the Economy

The majority of women earn on average about three-fourths of the pay of males for the same work, outside of the agricultural sector, in both developed and developing countries.

In most countries, women work approximately twice the unpaid time men do.

Rural women produce more than 60% of all food grown in developing countries.

The value of women's unpaid housework and community work is estimated at between 10-35 % of GDP worldwide, amounting to $ 11 trillion in 1993.

Women and Population

Women outlive men in almost every country.

By 2025, the proportion of women aged 60 or older will almost double in East and South-East Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and North Africa.

Women and Health

HIV is increasingly affecting women.

An estimated 20 million unsafe abortions are performed worldwide every year, resulting in the deaths of 70'000 women.

Approximately 600'000 women die every year, over 1'600 every day, from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. In sub-Saharan Africa, 1 in 13 women will die from pregnancy or childbirth related causes, compared to 1 in 3'300 women in the USA.

Women and Violence

Each year and estimated two million girls suffer the practice of female genital mutilation.

Worldwide, 20 to 50 % of women experience some degree of domestic violence during marriage.

The primary victims of today's armed conflicts are civilian women and their children, not soldiers.

The use of rape as a weapon of war has become more evident.

(The statistics are culled from a variety of sources and are valid as of December 1999 according to UN DPI/Rev.1.