23rd June, Widow’s Day: Widow’s Rights and Awareness

23rd June, Widow’s Day: Widow’s Rights and Awareness

*23rd June, Widow’s Day: Widow’s Rights and Awareness*

The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, calls on relevant stakeholders to bring an end to hardship and challenges faced by widows.

This is contained in a statement signed by the NAWOJ National Chairperson, Aisha Ibrahim, and made available to newsmen.

She said the loss of a spouse or partner was a heartbreaking and traumatic experience that no one could endure. A widow is a woman, who has lost her spouse or partner and has not remarried.
Unfortunately, widows face numerous challenges, including loneliness, reproach, poverty, and socio-economic and health constraints.

The statement said United Nations (UN) has designated June 23rd as International Widows’ Day to raise awareness about the rights of widows worldwide and the issues that affect them.

In Nigeria, for instance, there are approximately 15 million widows, which is a significant proportion of the global widow population of 258 million. Nigerian widows often face dehumanization, stigmatization, discrimination, and maltreatment due to harmful cultural practices, family ideologies, and societal norms.

Some of these harmful practices include:

– Denying widows the right to inherit land and property
– Forcing widows to marry their late husband’s younger brother or relative
– Punishing or ridiculing widows for socializing or remarrying.
– Forcing widows to shave their hair as a sign of mourning.
– Controlling widows’ daily movements, interactions, and access to healthcare and education.

The UN has recognized that widows’ rights are women’s rights and human rights.

The International Widows’ Day Conference in Gabon in 2011 highlighted the following violations of widows’ rights:

– Ignoring the needs and concerns of widows worldwide
– Denying widows access to property, land, and inheritance
– Forcing widows and their children out of their homes
– Exploiting widows into risky sex work
– Perpetuating inhumane traditional practices against widows

She further said to address these challenges, NAWOJ would collaborate with relevant stakeholders to promote gender equity and work together to eradicate the discrimination and violations faced by widows.

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