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.
On November 3-5, our founder Margaret Owen spoke at the Poverty Round Table about widowhood in the ECE region.
Our 59th CSW Statement draws the attention of the Member States to the relevance of the 12 critical action areas to widowhood.
Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD) submitted tough questions on issues of discrimination in widowhood, to the governments of Ghana and Guinea.
Statement by Dr. Mohini Girirote to be read out at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on 17 September 2014. She makes eight brief points on conflict reconciliation and the involvement of women in peacebuilding in conflict-torn Jammu and Kashmir (northern India)
In Swaziland, discriminatory customs remain a reality for widows. Report sent to UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Committee in considering Swaziland’s State Report during its 58th session.
Margaret Owen talks about her visit to Rojava with Rosa Bennathan in 2014.
“My mission to go there was really to see what the women were doing, to see what help they needed, technical assistance and training and help so that they could really take part properly in the peace process”