The Rural Woman

Defining a rural woman poses a challenge, is it out of her physical residence or the circumstances she finds herself in. I engaged with an audience at the Quora platform and I got different responses. A rural woman is mostly seen as a person who comes from the rural areas.  There are other aspects of the behavior where a rural woman is considered to work too hard to have a fantasy life. The perspective of a rural woman about the urban woman is that she has a flashy life, she is arrogant, proud, too outspoken and selfish.

The inability of her to wrap her mind around the behavior of the urban woman is not only a culture shock but generates the name ‘rural woman’ or her being backward.

SUSAN NYABENA

The urban woman considers rural woman as being ‘polite and humble’, not being able to fend for herself or rather low levels of education or those in vocational training centers. She is considered to be rigid and not open minded, not fluent in English which is used as a yardstick. All these just boil down to stereotypes of rural women to be raw and unrefined.

A rural woman is marginalized by the stereotypes that surround her. Empowerment of rural woman heavily depends on agriculture as her source of income and food. She plays the biggest role in food nutrition and security. She, however, gets subjected to unpaid work as she is mostly engaged as a family worker. But there is more to a rural woman than just agriculture. 80% of the women contribute to agriculture, planting, weeding, and income is earned by the men. The legal and cultural constraints make it impossible for women to own land or participate at the decision-making level to influence how land is utilized. Not every other woman have the interests in farming. The obstacles surrounding her efforts to own land limits her ability to engage in cash crop farming as a source of income. Most of the capacity building and sensitization in the rural areas is done on topics related to agriculture.

A rural woman often picks up triple roles; productive, reproductive and community roles. She shields the heavy burden of reproductive and community roles. She spends her time, fetching water, getting and cooking food, caring for the sick and the old. Low literacy levels continue to create the gap between the urban and the rural woman not forgetting the poor infrastructure and public services offered and fewer opportunities that are available to them.

A rural woman is always taken from the village to come and help in the urban areas in child rearing or to take care of the sick. If not the sick are taken to the village and another burden is added to her daily expected gender roles.

SUSAN NYABENA

The amount of time the rural woman spends on the reproductive and community roles sips away all the hope they would have had in either getting a formal education, vocational training or extension, and entrepreneurship training. Rural women are not homogeneous, their dependence on agriculture does not translate to all of them engaging in agricultural activities.

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