A cornfield

Women toil in the fields for most of their lives producing food and strengthening the largely agricultural economy of African countries, but when their fathers, husbands or older sons die, they are no longer welcome on land they may have tended for years. This observation was made by Hillary Rodham Clinton, United States secretary of state, at a special session on the status of women at the ongoing Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF4) held in Busan, South Korea. Some 2,500 delegates, including members of ministerial teams from 160 countries, civil society leaders, experts from multilateral organization and academics attended HLF4 to discuss international principles and rules to improve development co-operation, according to a report distributed by the International Network of Street Newspapers. Many, including Michelle Bachelet, executive director of U.N. Women, an entity concerned with gender equality and women’s empowerment, agreed with Clinton’s call to improve the status of women in Africa and Asia who earn their livelihoods from natural resources. “Women still account for at least 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people living in abject poverty,” said Bachelet. “ Women work two-thirds of world working hours, produce at least half of the food. Yet, they only earn a paltry
10 percent of world income and own a negligible one percent of world property,” she added. In return, Clinton supported Bachelet’s plea for change. “I can sense the same frustration in Bachelet’s voice as she made a case for gender equality. The same frustration that I feel. I ask myself, how much longer do we have to make this case?” Clinton said.