International Day of Rural Women

Today (October 15th, 2019) is the day to honor rural women. In Saskatchewan, virtually every woman is a few blocks away from being a rural woman. I live in Regina, the capital city of Saskatchewan, and I can pretty much see rural Saskatchewan from my back yard. But, I digress.

Today is about real rural women. In Canada, that includes women like my sister, Lorraine.

Since we grew up and moved from our small town home, Lorraine has built her life in the country. At four- foot- ten and never having seen the right side of a hundred pounds, Lorraine can and does work head and shoulder above most men. This summer, three months after adopting one of her son’s kidneys and still struggling with the side effects from the drugs she takes to ensure her body does not reject it, she was still going harder and stronger than I ever have.

Lorraine is a smart, strong, fearless woman. She can build a fence, kill a chicken, pull a calf, drive anything with a motor, fix anything with a motor, find the answer to any dilemma on Google, file government forms, plant a garden or a field – all the while juggling a home, family and helping out a neighbour. Plus, she can and does make it look easy. She and her husband love the rural, independent life they live and they are both more than willing to pay the price to live it.

Such is the case with many Canadian farmers. It is beyond sad that family farms in Canada are virtually a thing of the past and that small rural towns are vanishing with them.

In many third world countries, small family farms are still the norm. In Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, eighty percent of food is supplied by small holder agriculture. Much of the work to produce this food is done by women living in poverty, without access to equipment, training, education, infrastructure or even basic healthcare to support them. These women are working to provide for their families, while caring for their families. They are struggling with the increasing effects of climate change while dealing with the ongoing issues of gender inequality.

Rural women around the globe are a special breed of women. I, for one, am glad to see them getting this day of recognition. I support the women in third world countries, struggling to raise crops and livestock. I admire the women in all countries, who work and live in the agricultural industry. I know it isn’t easy even when you make it look that way. Today, I gladly take time to acknowledge all of you🌱

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