WIDOWHOOD PRACTICE IN NIGERIA


WIDOWHOOD PRACTICE IN NIGERIA

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Introduction

Discrimination against women is defined by Article 1 of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women 1979 (referred to as the 1979 Convention) as “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”1 Discrimination then is symptomatic of any situation where patterns of structural inequality are maintained by rules, norms and procedures which dictate a subordinate role for women in all spheres of society. The movements calling for an end to all forms of discrimination against women emphasize the need for a radical re-definition of the process and content of economic, social and political development and stress the need for a holistic orientation which acknowledges the vital role of women in development and engineers their integration into development planning and process as equal partners with men. For this purpose, it is argued that legal and substantive protection at the domestic, regional and international levels must be coordinated for more meaningful enhancement of both the status and situation of women. Discrimination against women in particular societies takes different forms, and thus requires the utilization of differential strategies in different historical epochs and societies. Discrimination against women will continue to be a problem until all the factors responsible for its existence, maintenance and institutionalization are understood and eradicated.Widowhood has also been defined as the state of mourning the loss of one’s husband or wife through death3. The stress of this phenomenon is as real as those of loneliness and divorce. Widowhood is thus seen as a life event with wide range of consequences. For instance, widowhood is known to be responsible for the poor health status of widows and widowers, with minimal long-term consequences and is also associated with intense grief and angry expressions, especially among more widows than the divorced (when) compared.4 This is possibly because of deprivation following loss of spousal intimacy through death. It can thus be concluded that widowhood by implication is a stressful life event demanding practicable support systems. Widowhood Practice

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