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The things we take for granted

Posted by Beate Stalsett Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Written by Clare Bishop-Sambrook, IFAD Gender team 

This year is the 20th anniversary of
the Fourth  World Conference on
Last Friday, the Rome-based UN agencies celebrated International Women’s Day in IFAD. For me, the presentations threw into sharp relief the many aspects of our daily lives that we take for granted, yet would be a dream come true for millions of rural women.

Some of the things that came to mind were:

To have …. 

The right to own assets, including land
The self-confidence to make the right decisions for our families
Easy ‘turn the tap/switch the switch’ access to water and power/energy
An influential voice in decisions in the household, including what money should be spent on
Control over my body, including how many children I want to have
A fairer sharing of unpaid tasks among the members of my family

To be free from …. 

The threat of child marriage
Harmful traditional practices, including female genital mutilation
Verbal and physical abuse, violence and rape

To be able to …. 

Continue to learn and acquire new skills
Benefit from information and communication technologies for work and play
Feed all household members well, free from cultural norms
Get health care when I need it
Earn my own income and to decide when and how to spend it or save it
Move freely and safely outside the home without being judged
Spend time with my friends and family when I want to
Live my life to my full potential

Please feel free to add to this list in the comments section below.


  1. Napsy said:
  2. get an education and decide my specialization

    vote and express my political opinion in public without being judged/threatened

    choose if I want to get married and/or have children

    date someone of my same sex without being killed/prosecuted

    decide what to wear, based on my taste and appropriateness to the climate

    Thanks Clare for this, it is very important to remind ourselves how lucky we are, as well as to remember that there is still a lot to do for women and by women. Both in 'developed' and 'developing' countries...

  3. Anonymous said:
  4. Be able to..

    decide for my own life
    move around and travel if I want to

  5. I would add:
    - have leisure time when I can decide what to do, where to go and who to go with.

    I would also say that it's not only rural women in developing countries who are lacking some or all of the things you mention. There are women everywhere who - because of poverty, ethnicity, marginalization and other reasons - do not have the things we take for granted.

  6. Men pushing prams!

    In the current generation of fathers, there are planty of men who are happy to take an equal role in parenting.