Testimonies by rural women stir emotions at the Brazil launch of Warriors – Rural Women around the World  

Brasilia, 18 October 2019 (IICA). “I am black and my parents, who could neither read nor write, were the descendants of slaves. My great-grandparents arrived in Pará on slave ships to work on rubber plantations and my family settled in the small town of Santa María do Pará, where we struggled to survive”.

The testimony of social worker Rita Teixeira, Project Coordinator for the women’s movement, Movimiento de Mujeres Paraenses del Nordeste (MMNEPA), and a contributing author of Warriors – Rural Women around the World struck a chord with the public figures, representatives of international organizations and embassies and business executives attending the Brazil launch of the second edition of this book – published by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), with the support of Corteva Agriscience.

In recognition of International Day of Rural Women, the book was launched simultaneously in Brazil and 13 other countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Spain, the United States and Uruguay.

Authors of this new edition include figures such as Melinda Gates, Co-President of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; the Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Brazil, Tereza Cristina Corrêa da Costa Dias; and the Minister of Food and Agriculture of Germany, Julia Klöckner.

Based on the professional and personal experiences of the authors—personalities from the five continents, most of them women—the previously unpublished texts and original perspectives break down the data and statistics and explain the urgency of creating opportunities to empower rural dwellers.

The publication, which is also a valuable source of reference on the status of women in the countryside and on possible strategies to improve their living conditions, features photographs from renowned Brazilian photojournalist, Sebastião Salgado.

In her article, Minister Corrêa da Costa Dias revealed that the number of women heading rural businesses in her country, Brazil, has tripled since 2012 and that 48% of participants in the Food Acquisition Program (in which producers sell directly to the Federal Government) are women.

President of Corteva Agriscience for Brazil and Paraguay, Roberto Hun, explained that partnerships between the State, the private sector and international organizations can spur the transformation of the reality of rural women, and he appealed to men’s sense of responsibility to facilitate these changes in the rural sector. “Faced with these difficulties”, said Hun, “these women can overcome the challenges, but today, I issue an appeal to the men, because if we do not strive for inclusion, we will be perpetuating the current situation and becoming accomplices”.

In addition to the national authorities, ambassadors, technical experts and researchers, the Brasilia launch was attended by Gender Specialist at IICA Brazil, Cristina Costa; the IICA Coordinator for the Southern Region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay), Caio Rocha; and the IICA Representative in Brazil, Hernán Chiriboga.

Approximately 58 million women live in rural areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Of this total, some 17 million are considered to be economically active and only 4.5 million of them define themselves as agricultural producers, according to data from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Moreover, almost 40% of rural women in Latin America and the Caribbean do not earn their own income and less than one third of them are landowners.

The three versions of the book (Portuguese, Spanish and English) are available on IICA’s website at ruralwomen.iica.int.

Coordinator for IICA’s Southern Region, Caio Rocha; the President of Corteva Agriscience for Brazil and Paraguay, Roberto Hun; IICA Representative in Brazil, Hernán Chiriboga; Rita Teixeira, Project Coordinator of the MMNEPA and contributing author of the book Warriors; and Gender Specialist at IICA Brazil, Cristina Costa, after the presentation of the book.   

About IICAIICA is the specialized agency for agriculture in the Inter-American system, with a mission to encourage, promote and support its 34 Member States in their efforts to achieve agricultural development and rural well-being through international technical cooperation of excellence.
More information:
Camila Campanerut, Communication Advisor, IICA Brazil.