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Advancing the Rights of Rural Women


Economic empowerment and education are two of the Sustainable Millennium Development Goals
that are crucial for realizing women’s rights. On March 17th, the Institute for Women & Girls held their annual symposium in celebration of International Women’s Day.

This parallel event for the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women was titled “Advancing the Rights of Rural Women: Challenges and Best Practices.” Presenters included Dr. Barbara Adams, Chair of the Executive Board of the Global Policy Forum and former Chief of Strategic Partnerships and Communications for the UN Development Fund for Women, Dr. Araba Sey, Principal Research Fellow at UNU-CS, and Dr. Sorosh Roshan, the Founder of the International Health Awareness Network (IHAN).

Presentations and panel discussions focused on the uses of technology to empower rural women around the world. Students were invited to submit papers that discussed a plan to disseminate ideas on how to effectively use technology.

Winning Student Paper Summaries



Dr. Sandra Turner, Director of The Institute for Women & Girls and Kathy Elisca Clermont, GSS MSW Student.

“Rural women are the true heroes of their countries; they are the ones that provide food and care for their family no matter the circumstances. Most of the challenges that they face are lack of resources such as food, water and more importantly health services. When I visited Haiti for the first time back in 2001, I traveled with my grandmother to the street markets, where she sold spices and rice for income. Women like my grandmother are in need of solutions to help overcome their challenges. For example, Vendedy is startup company that connects travelers to street markets depending on the country that they are traveling to. This form of technology helps women that are working the street market to use their business to transform the country’s economy. When it comes to rural women, the common challenge that they face is not being able to provide for themselves and their family. Technology can empower women. For example, Surtab is a Haitian technology company that creates mobile devices that are used in Haiti and throughout the world. The mobile devices can be used in schools, business, and hospitals. The company employees are mostly women, and they provide training for them. With these mobile devices, women are able to monitor pregnancy to full term and other health crisis. Empowering rural women through education on the use  of technology will create a pattern of educating the rest of the women in the community.”


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