"LET'S remove discriminatory practices and let's work together to provide rural women with all the opportunities and services to assist in expanding their horizon."
Those were the words of Women's Minister Dr Jiko Luveni as she officially opened International Rural Women's celebrations at Suva's Civic Centre this week.
Dr Luveni said the event aimed to bring rural women out of obscurity at least once a year to remind society how much they owed rural women and to give value and credit to their work.
And with this year's theme of 'Empowerment of Rural Women and their Role in Poverty and Hunger Eradication', the minister said wherever one looked, they found women among the most resourceful and committed to new ways to improve their lives and that of their families and communities.
"Eradication of poverty can be achieved when we empower women with education, both formal and informal and with business skills," she said.
Dr Luveni said rural women became powerful agents of change when opportunities arose.
"As agents of change, women play an important role in the sustainable development which cannot be achieved without women's equal participation," she said.
Dr Luveni said her ministry was working with rural women to encourage them into small income generating projects.
"Our challenge is that our domestic market is limited given the limited consumers available to them in their communities," she said.
Dr Luveni also advised close to 500 rural women attending the function to continue to be agents of change in their homes, villages and settlements.