AWLA Lagos celebrated the International Widows Day and the Day of the African Woman on the 31st of July 2023 with the widows of Folashade Olukoya Foundation.
The Special Guest of Honour, Hon Justice Sheri Solebo (rtd) spoke to the widows on the theme: Digit All: Innovation for Technology and Gender Equality.
She said digital transformation is evolving at an exponential pace and is impacting entire systems of production, management and governance. This represents a unique chance to address the gender gaps in technology and innovation, transform social norms, and empower women and girls, as the digital revolution represents both an opportunity and a threat.
These technologies can also support gender equality by addressing the various constraints undermining women’s participation in agri-food value chains and by providing new means and channels for women’s socio-economic empowerment.
Hon. Solebo called on governments, activists and the private sector alike to reinforce their efforts to make the digital world safer, more inclusive and more equitable. “We have a chance to create a better future—not just for women and girls, but for all humanity.”
Mrs Caroline Obi spoke on the topic “Widowhood; the Challenges Ahead” to mark the International Widows Day.
The United Nations set aside June 23rd of every year to be observed as International Widows’ Day, for the purpose of addressing the poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents across the world, and to generate awareness of the issue of widowhood.
Mrs Obi noted that the death of their husbands often leave widows holding the short end of the stick. They are invariably disadvantaged in every possible way.
Starting from the feeling of trauma, grief or loss following the death of their husband, widows often face economic insecurity, discrimination, stigmatisation and harmful traditional practices, simply because of their marital status. In many countries, widows do not have equal inheritance rights, they may be stripped of their land, evicted from their homes or even separated from their children. Furthermore, they may be denied access to inheritance, bank accounts and loans, which can have significant financial impact on them, their children and future generations.”
In order to safeguard and advance widows’ rights, she suggested a range of actions that governments, policy makers and each of us by: adopting social and economic reforms to improve widows’ access to inheritance, land, pensions and other social protections, by ending discriminatory laws and patriarchal systems that have long disadvantaged women, and empowering widows to support themselves and their families and to live with dignity by ensuring access to education and training opportunities, decent work and equal pay, and by reversing social stigmas that exclude, discriminate or lead to harmful and violent practices against widows.
The purpose of these commemorations organised by AWLA(Nigeria) Lagos State to is reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women, who have played an extraordinary role in the history of Nigeria and Africa at large.
These designated Days serves as an opportunity to advocate the daily struggles in the life of women\widows, thereby shedding light on the importance of creating new opportunities, policies, and provisions for their survival.