Imperatives of social inclusion, economic empowerment for older women
The vulnerability, abuse, violence suffered by older women occasioned by discriminatory societal attitudes and non-realisation of human rights may not abate until they are socially and economically empowered, the Centre for Gender Economics (CGE Africa) has said.
The abuse suffered by older women is often exacerbated by poverty and lack of access to legal protection. In some parts of the world, harmful traditional practices result in abuse and violence of older women.
To this end, Centre for Gender Economics (CGE Africa), a research and capacity development organisation is presently executing a project titled, ‘Promoting Socio- economic Inclusion of Elderly Women through Well-being Parties’ (WEP-4-SIEW), in four communities in Lagos.
Executive Director of the Centre, Ms. Uchenna Idoko, said there is need to raise awareness about the abuse of the elderly, especially women and its various forms.
Idoko added that there is need to track and produce data on older people’s issues, including the voices of those that experienced marginalisation in order to aid policy making.
According to her, elder abuse is clearly a human rights issue and a public health concern.
“We also need to create awareness that preventing and reporting elder abuse is everyone’s responsibility. The public will be encouraged to provide confidential information to law enforcement authorities, both at the federal and state levels on abuse of the elderly especially women,” she explained.
Idoko, who spoke at a media roundtable in Lagos with the theme, ‘An equal world is an enabled world: A call to end elderly women’s abuse in Nigeria’, said elders care should be considered in all aspects of analysis and policymaking, and included in all development interventions.
She said: “We cannot let this continue. We can, and we must, put an end to elder abuse. Today, it is our grandmothers and grandfathers, mothers and fathers who are suffering. Tomorrow, it will be us.”
She called on government and all stakeholders to mainstream elderly studies in higher institutions general studies curriculum, establish well-funded day care centres where old people can meet, socialize and receive information.
Earlier in her remarks, Project Officer, Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL) Project, Abosede Oladeinbo, said the project is a social inclusion project for the elderly women that aims to encourage access to training, increase elderly women’s knowledge about volunteering, improve their employability status as well as work with stakeholders to ensure elderly women’s inclusion in politics, access to economic and leadership at all levels.
Oladeinbo disclosed that the project is expected to last for four years with pioneer communities to include Itedo, Sura, Obalende and Maiyegun area in Lagos with intent to train elderly women on volunteerism and register them as trained community social workers.