We women are going to build the future
14 October 2022 International Day of Rural Women
Tomorrow's International Day of Rural Women celebrates the work and achievements of rural women around the world. For this special occasion, we spoke to women in the forestry sector to learn more about them, their work, and their passion for forests.
One of them is Sara Vale Pena, the President of A.S. Costa Norte (Spanish Forest Owners Association North Coast). The association in northern Galicia, Spain, advises and brings together 180 foresters and forest owners, almost half of whom are rural women who are committed to the sustainable management of their forests.
In the Galician territory, most properties are small, so creating alliances and associations to support each other is essential when it comes to managing the forests in the area.
How did you become involved in forestry?
I grew up in Asturias, Spain, and at the age of 18 I started visiting Mañón, a village in La Coruña where my mother was originally from. I married a forestry agent with a great passion for his work. That made me become interested and passionate about the forestry world too.
Later we moved to Mañón and inherited land, decided to invest and manage the forest to obtain income for our son's future. Years later I joined the forestry association in which I have been involved for 12 years now because I wanted to improve the forest owners’ situation.
What role do women play in your association?
48% of the members of the association are women and they are the most active: they take part in meetings, they want to be trained, they share ideas and actively seek help.
Has the role of rural woman changed over the time?
Women evolve more than the environment around them, so overall it is difficult to see any noticeable progress. The women in the association are more active, but even if they are empowered, the rural culture keeps women in charge of care work.
There is still a lack of credibility in women's decision-making, and even disparaging treatment, so there is still a lot to do.
Do you like being a rural woman?
Yes, I love the rural environment in which I live, it is beautiful and enviable. I am happy here.
International Day of Rural Women
On International Day of Rural Women, we celebrate women's achievements, raise awareness against gender bias and take action for equality. We highlight this day by giving the word to rural women in forestry, to hear about their work, what the forest means to them, and what has changed in their field over time.