Early childhood education is practically non-existent in rural areas and the progressive closure of rural schools brings problems such as education that is unrelated to the reality of rural children. As for health, a problem becoming more and more visible is pollution by pesticides, causing an increase of early menarche in women, reproductive health problems and cancer.

How can women’s social status and economic autonomy be improved?

To strengthen women as farmers, it is necessary to start by acknowledging the work they already do and the knowledge associated with it. In their backyards, women grow food and medicinal plants, raise small animals, domesticate varieties, select seeds, and make agroecological experiments. This production for self-consumption is fundamental in the family economy; also, through exchanges or gifts women’s produce is fundamental in guaranteeing diverse food for the community and for relatives living in the city. We must acknowledge this economic contribution and value it. Some examples: registration in PRONAF – a national programme for strengthening family agriculture – by means of a Declaration of Aptitude (DAP) which allows access to public policies to strengthen family agriculture, should consider production for self-consumption as part of the income of the family production unit; Technical Assistance and Rural Extension, and funding policies should consider backyards and kitchen gardens as production spaces. Acknowledging what women farmers already do strengthens them to open up new paths: to negotiate with husbands and fathers about other production forms in the family or community establishment, to set up collective production systems managed by women's groups, and to have an active voice in associations and co-operatives.

In everyday life, power inequalities between women and men take different forms – from subtle discrimination through to physical violence. How do things stand on that?
In rural and urban milieus, gender violence is very present, but it has its own characteristics.