Filter by country:

You are here

Home

Widows

Cameroon: Matrilineal Custom Puts Widows in Limbo

June 8, 2012

DIKOME BALUE, Cameroon -- James Elangwe, 87, belongs to the Balues, the only clan in which inheritance passes through the female line.

But this doesn't mean that women inherit. Instead, it means that when a man dies, the first son of the man's sister inherits.

Elangwe says matrilineal inheritance puts women at a greater disadvantage than patrilineal inheritance because wealth leaves the immediate family.

India: How one religious scholar fought for women's rights and won

February 6, 2012

Oxford, United Kingdom - "Tradition" is usually taken to be an obstacle to reform. "Traditional societies" are assumed to be reluctant to change, or worse, harbour nostalgic notions of going back to some mythical golden age. Gandhi was criticised for imagining an India of ancient "village republics" for which no historical evidence could be found. In the Islamic world, traditionalists are often assumed to wish to return to medieval times, in a pejorative sense. In many contexts the term "traditional" is actually used to mean "backward".

Nepal: Widows' Organization to Address Discrimination & Rights

March 17, 2011

When my husband died I was 29 years old with two young children. I was educated and from a professional middle-class family in Katmandu, the capital of Nepal. My husband was of similar background.

But with his death I realized for myself that education could make inroads into a society only up to a point. In Nepal which is mostly a Hindu society, deep-rooted religious traditions, some of them blatantly discriminating against women, are difficult to change. And this is what I faced, an experience so traumatic that I was jolted into working for change.

Widow Cleansing: Harmful Traditional Practice

April 13, 2009

Violence against women still is universal, and while it has many roots, especially in cultural tradition and customs, it is gender inequality that lies at the cross-cultural heart of violent practices. Violence against women is deeply embedded in human history and its universal perpetration through social and cultural norms serves the main purpose of reinforcing male-dominated power structures.

India: Haryana widows battered to death

April 19, 2011


Two widows have been bludgeoned to death by a man in the northern Indian state of Haryana, officials say. Police arrested a 23-year-old man, the nephew of one of the women. He was on parole, having served a sentence for rape.

Eyewitnesses told police he killed his aunt and another woman in full view of other villagers, after he accused them of being in a lesbian relationship.

Haryana is a deeply conservative and patriarchal region.

Correspondents say that so-called "honour killings" are relatively common in the area.

UN Women: Bringing Widows to the Forefront in South Asia

April 15, 2011


New Delhi—UN Women has launched a three-year regional programme to address the needs of widows in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Funded jointly by UN Women’s Swiss National Committee and the Standard Chartered Bank, the programme will be implemented to reduce the social ostracism faced by widows. This will be done by collecting data and evidence to highlight the stigma widows face, working with widows’ coalitions so they can speak up and access public services, and by guaranteeing that discriminatory social practices against widows are reviewed and repealed.

Afghanistan: Widow Burnings, Violations

November 7, 2010


HERAT, Afghanistan — Even the poorest families in Afghanistan have matches and cooking fuel. The combination usually sustains life. But it also can be the makings of a horrifying escape: from poverty, from forced marriages, from the abuse and despondency that can be the fate of Afghan women.

Widow "Cleansing" Tradition - Rights Violation

April 13, 2009

Widow cleansing dates back centuries and is practiced for example in countries like Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Angola, Ivory Coast, Congo and Nigeria. It gives a nod to a man from the widow’s village or her husband’s family, usually a brother or close male relative of her late husband, to force her to have sex with him – ostensibly to allow her husband’s spirit to roam free in afterlife.