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Africa: Older Women Face Hardships, Discrimination, Report Shows

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Thursday, March 10th, 2016
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Millions of older women in Africa face health, economic and social problems which are inadequately addressed by government policies without providing lasting solutions, even as the world celebrates International Women’s Day.

Global Age Watch Index Report 2015 published by HelpAge international and sent to CISA states that “older people all over the world experience many hardships, are discriminated against and abused, with few able to access the basic social services.”

The Global Index measures four key domains for older people, covering the most crucial aspects of their wellbeing, experience and opportunities including; income security, health status, capability, and the enabling environment.

According to the report, older people depend on Social Security for income however, due to decades of discrimination and exclusion from formal employment, only fewer women can actually access the social security.

“A lifetime of gender discrimination combined with the inequality of old age have a devastating effect on older women… this is becoming a huge challenge as the global population continue to grow older,” adds the report.

According to United Nations reports of 2013, in Africa older people currently account for 5.3 per cent of the population, or 24.8 million people. This population of 60 and above will increase to 39.5 million people by 2030.

The Global Index report further calls on African governments to introduce and strengthen national laws and policies to protect older people as well as the implementation of, a protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older People which was adoption by Heads of States in January 2016.

The charter outlines governments’ specific human rights obligations to older people through developing policies and programmes to advance the human rights of older people and have specific articles addressing older women.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated annually on March 8 to generally show respect, appreciation, and love towards women. This year’s theme for the day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

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