The role women living in rural areas play in agricultural development and food security is often an unsung one.
In communities across the world located miles from cities, women and girls are often the bedrock of families as well as accounting for the substantial proportion of the labour force.
That’s why the United Nation’s first International Day of Rural Women was observed a decade ago.
Eradicating poverty was a key part of the annual October 15 celebration’s aims from the get-go.
And it’s easy to see why with the vast majority of the world’s one billion people living in poverty concentrated in rural areas.
But even then, women can be overlooked. The UN found that women farmers have less access to land and high-value agrifood chains while they are less able to obtain lower prices for their crops.
Started by Samantha Morshed MBE, Pebble’s colourful characters are brought to life by a World Fair Trade Organisation fair trade co-operative.
That means that the women hand-making each toy are paid a fair wage and given flexible work to accommodate their family commitments and smallholdings.
Without this job offer, they would be forced to leave their families and head to the Dhaka in search of work to lift their family out of poverty.
And that carries the risk of working in a factory or sweatshop in very poor working conditions.
Every toy – ranging from racing car rattles to deer to unicorns – sold in The Big Issue Shop helps Pebble Toys to ensure that more women in Bangladesh have an opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty.
And, as the world turns its attention to rural women on October 15, there is no better time to support that cause.