Women Minister Bathabile Dlamini has called on South Africans to contribute to rural transformation by including women in all their work and developmental projects.
"Those who care for the inclusive development of our country, the primary concern must be on how we can collectively ensure that the multiple forms of violence perpetrated on rural women can be eliminated. These include access to land, patriarchal and traditional forms of masculinities, rapid climate change and the Fourth Industrial Revolution," Dlamini said.
She said rural areas are the persistent sites of underdevelopment, poverty, and precarious land tenure systems.
"Most importantly, it is in the rural landscape that the expression of patriarchal traditional masculinities is most evident. These are propelled by inherited distortions of customary law," she said.
In a statement released on Monday, International Day of Rural Women, Dlamini said it is paramount to think about the factors that distinguish the lived experiences of rural women from their urban counterparts.
She added that it was important to consider how the rapidly changing global and local social, economic and geopolitical environment impacts rural women uniquely.
Annually, 15 October is observed by the United Nations as International Day of Rural Women. The theme for this year was "sustainable infrastructure, services, and social protection for gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls".
"As asserted by the United Nations, this theme places the empowerment of rural women at the heart of fulfilling the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," Dlamini said.
The rapid transformation of global climate patterns, she said, contributes added burdens to the lived experiences of rural women, particularly their access to productive and natural resources.