Widows Day: WOLDI tasks govt, stakeholders on discrimination elimination

Women Law and Development Initiative (WOLDI) has called on the government at all levels, and stakeholders to join in the fight to eliminate all forms of discrimination against widows and their children, alleviate poverty and elevate their standard of living, including that of their families in the country.

 Founder/Executive Director of WODI, Ms Hauwa E. Shekarau, made the call in a statement she signed in Abuja Tuesday to commemorate Widows Day.

The statement noted that there is, currently, an estimated 258 million widows around the world, disclosing that the number is on the increase following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic which may likely render many more women widows due to human loss.

“The coronavirus pandemic and the attendant lock downs and economic closures that have afflicted the world today have wroth untold hardship on widows, most of whom have no access to pensions, family support, healthcare or even basic necessities to support themselves and their children.

“Aside the pandemic, most widows around the world have been subjected to diverse forms of harmful traditional practices, victimisation, discrimination and abuse,” the statement said.

“These vices are regularly on the increase, especially in the developing societies such as Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria in particular,” it added.

It expressed concern that the voices, needs and experiences of widows are often suppressed and absent from government and societal policies that are likely to impact on their survival.

Noting that this year’s celebration stresses the need for providing Widows with information on access to a fair share of their inheritance, land and productive resources; pensions and social protection that are not based on marital status alone; decent work and equal pay; and education and training opportunities.

“There is also the need to empower widows to support themselves and their families by addressing social stigmas that create exclusion, and discriminatory or harmful practices,” it added.

Shekarau therefore charged government to take steps to ensure that Widows rights and needs are enshrined in International and domestic laws in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The International Widows Day is celebrated on June 23 every year as set aside by the United Nations Resolution A/RES/65/189, to draw attention to the voices and experiences of widows in order to galvanise the unique support that they need.

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