As the world prepares to mark International Women’s Day, a spotlight is focused on how we can improve the lives of a group that is often overlooked and invisible – women and girls who live in rural areas – we must ensure that education appears high on the list of solutions.
Educating girls and young women in rural communities is the surest way to break the cycle of poverty and famine.
Women and girls who live in rural areas are often uneducated and have few choices in life, apart from toiling in the fields, marrying as teens and caring for their children. In fact, girls in rural communities are among those at greatest risk of missing out on education.
“Gertrude Beasley’s memoir of growing up dirt poor in and around the Bible Belt town of Abilene, My First Thirty Years, was released in 1925 by Contact Press in Paris. That’s the same press that published James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein. H.L. Mencken hailed Beasley’s book as one of the best coming-of-age books ever …
“Despite these accolades, her memoir is largely unknown. Its violent and sexually deviant material caused it to be banned in Britain, where Beasley was living at the time. Most copies were destroyed by Scotland Yard and U.S. Customs. The few that made it to Texas were mostly yanked off shelves by the Texas Rangers, probably on the orders of prominent Texans maligned in her book. Then the author vanished. She was 35. Continue reading
In October of 2001, nine of the approximately (at that time) 150,000 women farmers in the US filed suit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture for discrimination against women farmers in the administration of USDA farm loans.
Rosemary Love (center in the photo), who had grown up on a Montana farm and then became a rancher herself, had applied for a farm loan in Montana after a series of natural disasters during the economic recession of the 1980s. Although male ranchers all around her were being given loans by the (all-male) FSA decision-makers, her applications were repeatedly denied. When a loan was finally approved, it was with the imposition of the harshest of conditions, among them, that she must liquidate her ranching operations. She was the only rancher upon whom such loan conditions were imposed. She developed cancer, and during her treatment, she was hounded by USDA authorities about completing the liquidation. At one point, 48 hours after she had undergone cancer surgery, an FSA supervisor visited her in the hospital demanding that she comply or agree to the filing of yet more government liens against her property. She could not run her farm, her animals were going without food as she lie ill, and finally, she sold her sheep and livestock to male ranchers in her area and declared bankruptcy. She was left with nothing but her land. She went to work at a grocery store as a sales clerk. Continue reading
The YSR government formally issued an order, famous as GO 421, that outlined who is to be considered a farmer and what is to be considered a genuine farmer suicide. Once that is established, the family gets one lakh rupees to be able to start life afresh with some livelihood activity and another 50,000 rupees is used to settle all outstanding loans.
The problem is that … [w]omen are not identified as farmers, especially because land is rarely bought or registered in their names.Read the rest.