A ground-breaking report that provides invaluable but deeply disturbing evidence of worldwide widow discrimination and abuse.
Statement for CSW63 on the priority theme: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD) presented to the CEDAW committee in Geneva on 16th July 2018, a dossier on issues of discrimination in the case of widowhood.
Widows for Peace through Democracy participated in the task force forming the flagship Recommended Policy Standards from the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women, ensuring the voices of widows were heard and taken into account in the standards on Women & Girls In Rural Communities.
Widowhood is an issue that affects the economic, political and social situation of women and is a barrier to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
Ellen Mlalazi is a widow from rural Zimbabwe. She supports a household of 10, both children and grandchildren, despite the limited economic opportunities in the Binga region that reflect the ongoing crises and prevalent gender inequality. Ellen is just one of millions of widows around the world who struggle to claim their equal human rights after the loss of a husband; an event that can lead to enduring poverty for women and their families.
The gap in data, in qualitative as well as quantitative information on, for example , the life-styles, needs, roles, hopes, survival strategies, social support sources, experience of diverse forms of discrimination, abuse and violence, access to justice, participation in decision-making and the benefits of law reforms of the most hard-to-reach sub-sects of women – such as widows – seriously impedes the full enjoyment of their human rights.
Never in world history have we seen such an unprecedented increase in the numbers of widows, of all ages, and wives of the “missing” due to armed conflict, sectarian strife, natural disasters, HIV and AIDs, and harmful traditional practices, such as child marriage to far older men.