Considering the challenging conditions that widows in Nigeria and the world over face, the need to support them in living productive, equal and fulfilling lives has been emphasised.
While speaking at the 2016 International Widows’ Day, organised by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Lagos, in collaboration with the Hope for Life Initiative, yesterday, wife of the President, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, noted that widows are the most vulnerable people in the society, and that they need all the kindness and assistance they can get to continue living after the death of their husbands.
Mrs. Buhari was represented by wife of Lagos State governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode.
While noting that widowhood is a challenge that no woman ever wishes to face, Mrs. Buhari said it is important for women at this category to pursue economic empowerment and urged everyone who could to offer all the kindness and assistance that they can get, especially financial assistance, to continue living pruductive lives. The president’s wife also called for an end to harsh and life-threatening widowhood rites for Nigerian women.
Also at the event, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, who was represented by the Director, UNIC, Lagos, Mr. Ronald Kayanja, while urging the world to pledge to make widows more visible in the society and support the vulnerable group to live productive lives, said older widows often have fewer economic assets after hard but poorly paying work.
He noted that even in developed countries, the value of women’s pensions could only be put at about 40 per cent lower than the men’s.Noting that many of them often suffer discrimination, the UN chief stated that the younger widows also face other challenges, as heads of households with childcare responsibilities, but with limited economic opportunities.
Ban said, “There are about 259 million widows around the world and nearly half are living in poverty. Widows are often stigmatised by their families and communities as many suffer discrimination based on age and gender.
Some have lived lives marked by physical and sexual abuse.”On his part, Kayanja, also said that the 2020 Sustainable Development Agenda of the UN seeks to assist widows, and urged everyone to also support them.