International Rural Women’s Day in Cockpit Country (and beyond)

Happy International Rural Women’s Day!

This year, the focus is on women farmers. Frequently lauded for their strength, hard work and resilience, they are a solid presence in rural Jamaica – over one third of rural women are farmers. Three years ago, I met a group of them at a Farmer’s School graduation ceremony, and learned a lot from them about their challenges. I thoroughly enjoyed their company, and wrote about them here. I hope they are all doing well. At that event, over sixty percent of graduates from the Farmers’ School were women.

A great meet up with women farmers from St. Thomas in 2018. (My photo)

My friend and fellow blogger Wayne Campbell wrote an excellent, detailed post on the topic today. It tells you everything you need to know about the status of women farmers globally and in Jamaica; note that of the thirty percent or so registered women farmers in Jamaica, only eleven percent own the land they work on. This is somewhat below the global average of some fifteen percent of women farmers, according to UN Women – still a woefully low number.

Agriculture is the most important occupation for rural women in developing countries. UN Women notes that this is “a sector that largely falls within the informal economy with little or no social protection and labor rights.” (Infographic from UN Women)

Meanwhile, in our beautiful but threatened Cockpit Country, women from the South East Cockpit Country Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society received training in Agroforestry from Jamaica’s Forestry Department, in recognition of the day. Thanks to the Forestry Department for these photos:

One beautiful touch was that the seedlings were planted with a pink ribbon, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

A pink ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Meanwhile, in St. Ann, women of the Grants Mountain Local Forest Management Committee Benevolent Society did some agroforestry, creating a community/school garden at the Grants Mountain Primary School. These photos are from the Benevolent Society’s Instagram page:

Meanwhile, the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) in Jamaica highlighted the great work of the Jamaica 4H Clubs in empowering young women farmers. This takes place through the schools.

I hope these photos inspire you! Happy International Rural Women’s Day – and let’s support our rural women everywhere!

I love this photo! In rural Manchester, a 4H Clubs teacher Alicia Patterson had record harvests from the school farm, feeding students and gaining income for her school, Medina Primary, through a Japan/UNDP project. (Photo: UNDP)

3 thoughts on “International Rural Women’s Day in Cockpit Country (and beyond)

  1. Emma, what a beautiful, image-filled article. We often forget firstly, that we are nothing without the farmers and secondly, that many woman farmers exist. Thanks for this!


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