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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                        (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
For Immediate Release                                   October 15, 1997




Our world has been continually uplifted and renewed by the contributions of women. Women of courage and conscience, women of strength and compassion, women of vision and talent have enriched every aspect of international society. In our own Nation, the names of such extraordinary individuals as Harriet Tubman, Susan B. Anthony, Jane Addams, Rosa Parks, Dolores Huerta, and so many more, are etched on our history and in our hearts. But there are millions of other women who live and work among us whose names will never be known, but whose efforts and energy contribute profoundly to the quality of our lives. Rural women are numbered among these many quiet heroes.

Today rural women comprise more than one-quarter of the world's population, and they form the basis of much of the world's agricultural economy. In the United States, working on farms and ranches, they play a vital part in ensuring a healthy, safe, and abundant supply of food and fiber for our people. In developing countries, as small farmers, laborers, and entrepreneurs, rural women help produce most of the food, create many of the jobs, and manage most of their countries' natural resources. While millions of rural women worldwide live below the poverty level, struggling to survive with scarce resources and little training and education, they still manage to feed their families and contribute to their communities.

When the international community came together in Beijing in 1995 for the Fourth United Nations World Conference on Women, rural women made their voices heard by world leaders, and their hard work and sacrifice were at last recognized by people across the globe. Next year, when the United States hosts the Second World Conference on Women in Agriculture, we will continue to focus on the status of rural women and their contributions to our world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15, 1997, as International Rural Women's Day in the United States. I call upon the American people to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities in recognition of the extraordinary contributions rural women make to the quality of our lives, both in America and around the world.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-second.


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