Remarks by Terri Robl, Deputy U.S. Representative to ECOSOC at the 68th UN General Assembly Third Committee: Improvement of the Situation of Women in Rural Areas, November 7, 2013

Teri Robl
U.S. Deputy Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council 
New York, NY
November 7, 2013


Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The United States is pleased to co-sponsor this resolution and we thank Mongolia for its leadership as facilitator. In the United States, more women are running farms and ranches, operating working lands enterprises, and producing a greater value of agricultural products than ever before, and we are proud of the role women play in our agricultural system. The United States is dedicated to empowering and including rural women in decision-making with regard to agriculture and rural development. That commitment extends both to our government’s domestic efforts and to our foreign assistance programs.

We are pleased the resolution acknowledges the significant social and economic challenges that rural women face and sets out specific measures states can take to address these needs. Rural women are more likely today to endure the demands of multiple responsibilities, including tending to household and family needs, providing care for children and aging parents, supporting the family farm or working lands enterprise, and working outside the home. As the resolution recognizes, rural women also face particular challenges around control over key assets such as land, capital and income, and we particularly welcome this resolution’s provisions relating to women and girls with disabilities and indigenous women in rural areas. Likewise, the language in the resolution that acknowledges the importance of food and nutrition security and recognizes rural women’s entrepreneurial energy is valuable.

We are also pleased the resolution recognizes the significance of sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights to the empowerment of rural women. Reproductive rights, originally defined in the International Conference on Population and Development’s Program of Action adopted in 1994 and elaborated and reaffirmed in numerous intergovernmental documents since then, provide a foundation for our global efforts to empower women. Reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing, and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so. Respecting and promoting the human rights of women – including the right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality free from coercion, discrimination, and violence – must be at the heart of our efforts to empower women, including rural women.

Thank you.


PRN: 2013/227