Date of Meeting: 15 March 2018

Meeting Organizer: UN Women

ISJC Staff Present: N/A

Reporter: Dr Patience Fielding, SAWSO - CSW Delegate

Which SDG does this topic cover? All

Type of meeting: Town Hall

Brief summary of presentation of information made

The conversation brought together diverse constituencies from around the globe to discuss what it would take to leave no woman or girl in any rural area behind in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Over 400 participants sat at round tables to listen and contribute their experiences from across the diversity of women in rural locations, who were feeling at this point well and truly left behind.  Intergenerational and intersectional activists shared their experience on what leaving no one behind meant for them, and provided a set of policy recommendations that will be used to advocate for change at national, regional and global fronts.

Participants travelled from different corners of the world and included indigenous women, those living with disability, members of the LGBTI community, widows, refugees and migrants and youth activists, who highlighted the importance of including their needs in actions towards gender equality.

Rosaline Orwa, Founding Director of the Rona Foundation, which champions the protection of widows’ rights in Kenya, shared her own experience as a widow and called for action to end the stigmatization and exploitation of widows.

Others spoke up for the land rights of indigenous women and girls, and highlighted the importance of implementing policy and legislation within rural communities.

A great deal was said about intersectionality – recognizing that individuals cannot be categorized with simple language.  Everyone faces a complexity of challenges, but most especially those who are the weakest, the most vulnerable across all societies. After hearing from a wide variety of voices from around the world, participants discussed what policy standards could be created to ensure that the SDG achievement “Leave no one behind” can be realized for women and girls around the world, especially those living in rural contexts.  Ideas ranged from the collection of disaggregated data to ensuring the participation of rural women in government and other structures to the importance of male involvement, accountability and responsibility in gender justice.  These ideas will be shared by UN Women for more input after CSW.


What was of particular significance to share with The Salvation Army globally?

Rural communities, especially women and girls, are often deeply excluded from discussions that shape their own development and that of their communities, countries and the world they live in. In a set of recommendations emerging from the conversations, activists from rural areas and their organizations called for greater representation of women in local and national governments, universal application of existing legislation protecting women and girls’ rights, continued conversations with the UN, governments and NGOs, as well as investment in rural youth and paying attention to the voices of the most marginalized women and girls.


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Tags: United Nations, Events