Activists denounce rural violence against Brazil women

More than 3,000 female farm workers from around Brazil marched in Brasilia Thursday to demand an end to rural violence against women and measures to assist them.

"Violence against women in rural areas is a silent reality. We know it exists and reports have increased although there are no statistics," said Eliane Jahn of the Peasant Women's Movement.

She said the protest coincides with a three-day meeting focused on "violence and the lack of public policies".

"Over the years, we won a maternity allowance and the right to have farmland in our name, but we are still lacking many things," said Priscila Maciel Duarte Lopes, an indigenous woman from the village of Dourados in the central state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

"Our salaries are too low and investments in health and education are insufficient,"said Irene Moraes, a female farm worker from the same area.

"I left my work at home, the cows to milk, the garden to tend, but being here is worth it," she added.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff came to meet the protesters and pledged to implement special measures to help them.

"Brazil needs female farm workers who are citizens and not just producers," she noted.

"This message of support is wonderful. Now we hope that she will honor her promises," said Leiza Novadezilhi, who came from the southern state of Santa Catarina with her 12-year-old daughter.