"By denying women rights and opportunities, we deny their children and societies a better future," Ban said.
Ban said too many women in rural settings don't own the land they farm and are denied financial services that could help lift them out of poverty, the United Nations said in a release issued from New York. Eliminating discrimination will help rural women realize their full potential, which is crucial to ending global hunger and poverty, he said.
International Day of Rural Women, observed Oct. 15, was established by the U.N. General Assembly in 2007. It recognizes the role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.
In his message, Ban said rural women typically live without the guarantee of basic nutrition, health services and necessities such as clean water and sanitation.
"When food and nutrition security are improved, rural women have more opportunities to find decent work and provide for the education and health of their children," Ban said. "With equal access to land, credit and productive resources, rural women can increase their productivity and sell their goods. As equal members of society, rural women can raise their voices as decision-makers and propel sustainable development."
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