Asian Rural Women’s Network Statement

I came across this statement from the Asian Rural Women’s Network today and thought that it was an inspiring call for all women whether you participated in the conference or not. I also think that us non-Asian feminists can easily stand in solidarity with these goals. Finally, the statement stands in stark contrast to the ways Euro-American feminists (often regardless of racial background) imagine and represent feminism as an urban phenomena. Rural women are articulating and enacting feminism around the world.


We, the participants to the First Asian Rural Women’s Conference are sending a call for rural women to defy injustices and raise our voices against all forms of discrimination and violence on women. We, the rural women and supportive activists resolve to continue to challenge and resist neo-liberal globalisation, imperialist and fundamentalist forces and militarisation.

We call for genuine agrarian reform and rural women’s ownership and access to land and productive resources which include access to credit and training; we demand for food sovereignty, to healthy and local foods and healthy agriculture and to reclaim rural women’s knowledge and skills.

We demand direct access and control of coastal and marine resources with meaningful participation and decision-making of fisherfolk in all policies related to our livelihoods and marine resources.

We demand for the end of development aggression in indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands, state and corporate plunder of our resources and demand for the right to self-determination.

We demand a ban on hazardous agro-chemicals and technologies including pesticides, inorganic fertilisers and genetic engineering in food and agriculture, in favor of ecological and biodiversity-based agriculture.

We condemn the land alienation, state oppression and violations of human rights of Dalit Women; and we say that Dalit women’s rights are human rights. We demand for the end of caste system and untouchability practices. We collectively demand the state to protect our right to land, right to expression, right to decision making, right to political spaces and right to life with dignity for Dalit women and that the state is held accountable if these rights are not upheld.

We demand an end to trade liberalisation and privatisation and for livelihood security and decent work for all women. We, the Asian Women workers movement, demand fair living wages, safe and decent working conditions, job security, and the right to freedom of association.

We absolutely repudiate the emphasis of all Asian governments to push micro credit as a tool of development and empowerment of rural women. We demand that governments provide a system to enable rural women access to credit on their own terms.

We demand an end to forced migration kept in place by the agenda of corporations and governments. For migrant workers, we demand protection of all rights including the right to stay or move and work with dignity.

We condemn the revival of fundamentalist and communal forces that are unleashing violence on society, particularly women and children. We demand that all states/governments ensure the representation of all peoples of
different religions, diverse ethnic groups and the most marginalised sections, particularly women, so that women’s rights are protected. War of aggression has no place in our society and we demand an end to all state-led and state-supported wars; and we demand justice for all human rights defenders and affected communities. We call for the removal of all US bases in Asia, the prioritisation of budget allocations for food production, education and health, social services and empowerment of women over military budgets. We demand the repeal of repressive laws such as the security and anti-terrorism legislation and an end to all extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.

Participation of women in the democratic movements and in the political process is necessary to push for pro-people and democratic societies in Asia. We should learn from the successful experiences of Asian countries, express our solidarity with the democratic movements all over Asia and ensure the participation of women in the peace process.

Rural women demand the right to control their bodies, to assert their sexual and reproductive health rights, and choose on issues of contraception, marriage, pregnancy and child birth. We also call for the end of exploitative sex selection and other reproductive technologies.

Now is the time for rural women to come together, create a visible force, consolidate gains and strengthen the global women’s movement. To strengthen the rural women’s movement, we, participants of the first Asian Rural Women’s Conference, are forming ourselves into an Asian Rural Women’s Coalition for rural women’s rights, empowerment and liberation. Our voices will be heard.

Long Live Rural Women’s Solidarity!!!

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