“Gender equality and the empowerment of women are gaining ground worldwide. There are more women Heads of State or Government than ever, and the highest proportion of women serving as Government ministers. Women are exercising ever greater influence in business. More girls are going to school, and are growing up healthier and better equipped to realize their potential.
Despite this momentum, there is a long way to go before women and girls can be said to enjoy the fundamental rights, freedom and dignity that are their birthright and that will guarantee their well-being. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world’s rural areas. Rural women and girls — to whom this year’s International Women’s Day is devoted — make up one quarter of the global population, yet routinely figure at the bottom of every economic, social and political indicator, from income and education to health to participation in decision-making.”