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‘Still I Rise’ — UN agency launches film tribute to rural women and girls featuring Maya Angelou

Languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish

15 October 2019

Rome, 15 October 2019 – A powerful short film featuring acclaimed poet Maya Angelou was launched today by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on the International Day of Rural Women to raise awareness of the power and potential of rural women to help fight global hunger.

The film “This Is How We Rise” is produced by award-winning production company Somesuch & Co. and is part of IFAD’s global campaign ‘Real Groundbreakers’ which aims to increase investments in the economic and social empowerment of women through rural and agricultural development.

"With hunger rising over the past few years, women's empowerment needs to be at the forefront of all development work,” said Gilbert F. Houngbo, IFAD President. “Women are a cornerstone in building holistic and sustainable food systems. We all rise – men and women, communities and nations – when the 1.7 billion women and girls who live in rural areas have equal access to resources.”

Woman make up about half of the agricultural workforce globally, yet the gender gap in food and agriculture remains extensive. Women are more likely to be food insecure than men in every region of the world.

As producers, rural women face greater constraints than men in accessing essential productive resources and services, technology, market information and financial assets.

Numerous studies have also shown that when women are able to earn their own incomes, they invest the majority of their earnings back into their families - on nutrition, food, healthcare, schooling, and farming activities.

"If we can mobilize political support to empower rural women and increase funding to agricultural development through IFAD and others, there will be higher overall food production, better nutrition, poverty reduction and increased access to education," said Houngbo.

The film includes the voice of Angelou reading lines from her iconic poem “Still I Rise.” Images in the film are of rural women from IFAD-supported projects in Mozambique and Nepal who face the daily challenges of life in some of the world’s poorest rural areas. Like in Angelou’s poem, they demonstrate their fortitude and resolve as they go about their daily tasks and build their own agricultural businesses.

”The women in this film are locally cast. They’re real farmers, fisherwomen, mothers, sisters, friends and community leaders. It was deeply humbling to be in their company," said the film’s director Camille Summers-Valli.

"We wanted to show the beauty and potential of rural women and girls by showing them in their everyday environments and routines,” she said. “The film is about sending a message of hope and of strength."

Angelou, a poet, humanitarian and civil rights activist who passed away in 2014, touched the lives of millions around the globe through her teachings, writings and actions. Through her works, she championed women’s rights and gender equality.

The film will be broadcast on global television networks and other channels.

Note to editors/producers

About IFAD's work with rural women

Promoting gender equality is a key element of IFAD’s work to reduce rural poverty and improve food security. Women make up about half of all participants of the projects IFAD supports. The projects help rural women grow more food, connect to markets, increase their incomes, and become more literate and financially skilled. 

Watch the film

Download still photos from the film

Campaign website


PR/41/2019

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub. 

More about IFAD: www.ifad.org.