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A presentation by: Women for Human Rights, single women group(WHR). Background. Nepalese society is patriarchal, but where powerful goddesses are women However, in real life they are given subordinate roles. Glimpses of subordination of women. PHYSICAL ABUSE OF WOMAN.
A presentation by: Women for Human Rights, single women group(WHR)
Background • Nepalese society is patriarchal, but where powerful goddesses are women • However, in real life they are given subordinate roles.
Glimpses of subordination of women PHYSICAL ABUSE OF WOMAN GENDER ROLES IN COMMUNITY
In a strong patriarchal society how can women without husbands exist, live and survive?
Women for Human Rights,single women group Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC of the United Nations Women for Human Rights (WHR), single women group is an NGO established in 1994 to address the rights of single women (widows) in Nepal
Women for Human Rights, single women group (WHR), established in 1994, is a Non Governmental Organization working for the socio-cultural, economic and political rights of the widows of Nepal. • WHR envisages to create a just and an equitable society where there will be “No discrimination on the basis of Marital Status'. • WHR has organized over 84,000 widows in 1050 Village Development Committees and municipalities of 73 districts of Nepal and has succeeded in mobilizing them as key "Agents of Change" in their respective communities.
Situational Analysis of Widows Aren’t these extreme Human Rightsviolations? • Inhumane cultural practices • Code of conduct • Ill cultural practices • Restrictions
67% - are between 20-35 years 33% of them are literate Around 2% of widows obtained higher degree of education. • Early marriage • Daughters are seen as burden • Lack of access to Education • Widow’s work not valued as Productive • Dependent on Male members
Widows do not have access to the property of their husbands. They are denied their rights to access resources and capital. They become dependent on others. Source: Challenges & Problems faced by widows in Nepal- WHR 2010. So, don’t you think this situation engenders exploitation on widow’s by family and community members?
Nepal is signatory to CEDAW Articles, but is the CEDAW Article really being implemented? • Article 1 of CEDAW states that no one should be discriminated on the basis of their marital status. • In case of Nepal, widows are discriminated because their husbands are no more living. • Widows are socially, legally and culturally discriminated .
State–Social Security Policies • Rs. 500 as allowance to widows over 60 years (now removed age bar) • Over 85,000widows below 45 year registered only 1050 VDCs as WHR members • No other social security for widows by the state Is the Allowance Scheme justifiable ? Can we imagine how many widows will be in the remaining VDCs?
Conflict Affected Displaced Widows • In Kathmandu alone there are more than 800 conflict affected displaced widows) • 67.9% of these women are displaced to community different from cultural background than from the origin which has denied their rights to culture and its prevention. • 35.7 % of these displaced women lies between the age group of 25-30. • Forced to share a small room with 3-4 kids, living in unhygienic environment with inadequate clean drinking water and sanitation. • Where can this section of population seek justice? • Has the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 which addresses the right of conflict affected women actually been implemented?
Contd… • 82.9% of these women are living in economic crisis having severe difficulty to have two meals a day for themselves and their children • Conflict affected displaced widows in urban centers are forced into informal sectors such as cabin restaurants, dance bar, sex work, massage center for the livelihood of their children while their children do not have access to education. • Unaware of the process for the compensation, legal services, rights and other facilities. • Source: Impacts of Conflict-Displaced Women by Shrestha Sumeera. • Where is the provision of fulfillment of right to basic needs? • Where is the consolidated package of service and proper mechanism? • Isn’t a holistic approach to service necessary ?
Displaced women have been affected by conflict in following major areas In this scenario can they enjoy their fundamental rights? • Financial deprivation • Physical victimization • Psychological trauma • Social exclusion • Institutional discrimination
Results on Beneficiary Level Justice, Human rights and Peace - Pillar III Economic Empowerment and Mobilization - Pillar II Socio-Cultural Empowerment and Movement – Pillar I Local Governance - Pillar IV Institutional and Organizational development – Pillar V Pillar Components
To provide scholarship to the needy children of widows and young widows To provide loans with low interest without any collateral (group guarantee) to women who wish to set up small business. Program Components To provide skill development trainings to widows for income generating activities. To provide immediate services to conflict affected, vulnerable and needy widows and their children. To support displaced conflict affected women, their children and family through holistic approach of integration model.
Working Strategy of WHR National Level (Central Level) Regional Level (Five Development Regions of Nepal) District Level VDCs/ Ward Level International Chapter South Asian Regional Level South Asian Network for Widows' Empowerment in Development (SANWED)
Networking • WHR has its own decentralization strategy. It has formed the links and networks with organizations working on women’s issues and human rights issues. • WHR has involved all its stakeholders in its programs to sensitize everyone about the issues and plights of single women and work integratedly for the empowerment of widows. • WHR is in an alliance named Sankalpa(Women’s Alliance for Peace, Democracy and Inclusive Constituent Assembly) for lobbying and advocating for women’s issues.
Development Regional Office District Committees Widow’s Groups Program/Resources flow WHR Central Office Government/ INGOs/ NGOs Village Development Committees
CHHAHARI safe space for Widows Sunsari - Kathmandu- Surkhet- Jhapa - Kavre Saptari (under construction)
Common Issues of Widows Almost all widows face the problems related to the burden of extra work, exploitation, violence, sense of loneliness and insecurity. Lack of quantitative and qualitative authentic data on widowhood. Widows are often excluded from income generating activities due to lack of skills and funds and this is followed by children, particularly girl children, dropping out of school and decrease in access to basic needs such as food, clothes, shelter and health care.
Common Issues of Widows........................... • Negligence of increasing number of widows mainly due to armed conflict, ethnic conflict, ethnic cleansing, harmful traditional practices, HIV/AIDs, accidents and natural disasters. • Widows are stereotyped exclusively as either victims or beneficiaries, and their roles as key resources and social capital in development and peace building are ignored. • Widows face discriminative legal and Government polices and programmes.
Common Issues of Widows........................... • Lack of education which consequently increases their poverty, emphasizes low status of widows and due to which they are more vulnerable to exploitation, violence and abuse. • Widows are often isolated, not "banding together", their voices unheard and they are not recognized as "Agents of Change". • Limited, restricted or lack of access to services such as health, nutrition, housing, social security schemes.
Common Issues of Widows........................... • Most widows face psychological problems and mental stress and are tormented by psychological changes in their children after the death of their husband. • There is significant increase in homelessness, displacement, migration, "property grabbing" and "chasing off" of widows due to the conflict and are highly vulnerable to trafficking and abuse.
Common Issues of Widows........................... • Widows face the problem of lack of employment opportunities and secured shelter (safe space); no or limited access to market; no collateral to access to credit; and discriminatory wages. • Widows are still blamed for their husband's death and are considered to be harbingers of misfortune. • Still the widowhood is not recognized as an issue to be addressed.
How Can You Join Us In Widows' Movement? • Support for economic empowerment of widows and provide help for the educational opportunities for widows and their children. • Provide financial and technical support for WHR activities for the empowerment of widows of Nepal. • Support for building "Safe Space" for widows for their holistic development. • Assist for conflict affected women and children.
How Can You Join Us In Widows' Movement? • Support in advocacy campaigns for the rights of widows, es and programmes for the widows. • Advocate for appointing UN Special Representative for Widows. • Support for the adoption of Widows' Charter and its implementation and enforcement at the National and International level. • Establish a basket fund for tackling widows' issues in the world.
Widows in groups are the strength to society Widows’ issue is a national issue, they are the victims of cultural and traditional practices of society and are from all castes and creeds. To ensure widows’ rights is to ensure a just and egalitarian society