After a period of six years of coup and setbacks, the year 2023 will be marked by the restructuring of the Brazilian State. The changes must happen in a real way in people’s lives. For this, the country’s reconstruction plan must contain policies for the rural environment, observing all its diversity and complexity, especially with an effective alternative for the structural fight against poverty and misery in rural and urban areas.
It is therefore necessary to promote national development based on the resumption of its ability to invest and plan the country. And as part of this initiative, it is necessary to constitute an agenda of Sustainable and Solidarity Rural Development with equality between women and men, based on a strategic approach that overcomes the conception, inherited from the recent and historical period, of the rural environment as the backward part in relation to to the urban environment.
The presence of women is increasingly evident in rural areas. In 2017, they were identified as managing 18.7% of the 5.07 million establishments mapped by the Agricultural Census. An important expansion compared to the 2006 Census data, when they represented only 12.7%.
Despite the advances, as a result of specific policies for rural women implemented between 2003 and 2016, the challenges for the promotion of social and economic equality between women and men in the countryside are still latent. Women continue without having their right to land assured.
Only 19.7% of women in family farming and 15.2% in the non-family segment had access to land in 2017. The percentage of landless women was 29.87%.
On the other hand, when women owned land, they owned smaller areas than men: 22.6% of women in family agriculture, as owners, concessionaires or settlers, had areas of up to 20 hectares. Thus, the dynamics of access to land continues to be concentrated in the hands of men.
If Family Farming establishments are characterized by diversity and pluriactivity, women are the main responsible. The establishments run by them are characterized by the production of food, medicinal plants, seedlings and seeds.
They are also engaged in the manufacture of footwear, clothing, furniture and ceramics. This production, in general, is aimed at self-consumption and maintenance of the family. However, women also develop economic and income-generating activities. 46.2% of the establishments managed by them have as their predominant economic activity cattle raising and raising other animals, 35.6% the production of temporary crops and 9.7% of permanent crops.
However, establishments run by women still have less access to machinery, equipment, technical assistance, credit and water. Women continue to concentrate the work of care and reproduction of life, and with lower average monthly income.
Considering the income of the employed population, in 2017 the average income of men was BRL 2,410, while among women it was BRL 1,868. The Undersecretary of Rural Women (SMR) is part of the structure of the Ministry of Agrarian Development with the purpose of promoting equality between women and men, incorporating this perspective in the elaboration and execution of public policies for family agriculture and rural development.
Part of SMR’s strategy is to re-edit and update programs implemented during the progressive governments of Lula and Dilma. Another is the creation of new strategic actions to overcome new challenges such as the fight against hunger in the countryside and climate change, promoting new public policies for the realization of citizenship and promotion of the autonomy of rural women workers.
In this perspective, the construction of three programs aimed at rural women is underway:
1 – Citizenship and Good Living Program, which aims to help rural, water and forest women live with dignity, having their civil, political and social rights assured. The program is based on integrated strategies and actions that guarantee women’s access to documentation, land and territory, to produce and consume healthy food and to enjoy a quality environment and to live without violence and racism.
2 – Rural Women’s Productive Organization Programaims to promote the strengthening of rural women’s organizations, through articulated actions that facilitate access to public policies and that stimulate the development of productive and economic processes, which generate healthy and sustainable food and products and, at the same time, promote the appreciation of work and ensure economic autonomy.
It is based on strategies and actions that must be developed in an integrated manner within the scope of productive, organizational, economic and environmental processes, in which rural women, in their diversity and plurality, are inserted.
3 – Social Management and Networking Programwhose objective is to strengthen democratic processes, expanding the participation of rural women’s organizations and movements in spaces of social participation (eg councils and public policy conferences), intensifying dialogue at national and international levels and qualifying women’s contribution in the social management of public policies.
SMR believes that a Brazil capable of ensuring the citizenship and well-being of rural women, as well as the productive organization for their autonomy in a nationally and internationally articulated way, will promote an equal sustainable and solidary agrarian development, which is fundamental as part of its reconstruction because: seeking to rebuild the rural environment involves combating inequalities of gender, generation, race and income, it necessarily passes through the hands of rural women.
*Undersecretary of Rural Women of the MDA
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho
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