Rome, 5 August 2022 (TDI): Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations highlighted indigenous women’s role in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge before Indigenous Day.

FAO organized an important talk on the issue by collaborating with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated globally on 9 August. It marks the date of the inaugural session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. Moreover, the theme for this year is the role of indigenous women in preserving and transmitting traditional knowledge.

Indigenous women and traditional knowledge

FAO and UNDESA emphasized that indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities. Additionally, they play a crucial role in preserving and transmitting traditional ancestral knowledge.

International consultations jointly facilitated by UNESCO and the Internal Council of Science (ICSU) have also sought to define traditional knowledge.

“Traditional knowledge” according to this definition, is “a cumulative body of knowledge, know-how, practices, and representations maintained and developed by peoples with extended histories of interaction with the natural environment.”

Indigenous women in this regard play an integral community role as keepers of traditional knowledge. However, they are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world today. The international community now recognizes that special measures are required to protect their rights and maintain their distinct cultures and way of life.

Empowerment of indigenous women

The Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has also highlighted significant issues encountered by indigenous women.

This includes high levels of poverty, low levels of education, and illiteracy. Additionally, they face limited access to health, basic sanitation, credit, and employment. They also have limited participation in politics.