SINGLE WOMEN: Light On Their Plight

A two-day international conference on single (widowed) women highlighted their plight

Feb. 10, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 06 No. -16 Feb. 08- 2013 (Magh 26, 2069)

At a time when a group of activists have been staging demonstrations under the Occupy Baluwatar campaign, raising the issue of growing incidents of domestic violence against women, an international conference on single women discussed the ways to prevent violence committed in Nepalese Society.

Organized by Human Rights for Women and Single Women Group (WHR), the program brought the participation of more than 200 women representing 17 countries of the region. According to the recent census report, there are about 500,000 single women in Nepal and globally there are 245 million widows. According to the Census Report, out of them, 67 percent Nepalese widowed are aged between 20 -25.

This showed a majority of single women in Nepal are younger in age. Out of these women, 89 percent are illiterate and only 11 percent literate.

"There is reason behind this. In some communities, many young girls are married before their first menstruation. If her husband dies of some causes, the young girl becomes a widow," said Lily Thapa, chairperson of WHR.  "One of the aims of the international conference is to raise the issue of discrimination and provide the legal rights and justice to the single women. The resolution passed by the conference will be sent to the 57th general convention of United Nations. "

Like in other parts of the world, a woman is considered worthless and polluted in Nepal once she becomes a widow. Along with shock and trauma of losing husband, widowhood also increases sexual vulnerability and discrimination.

For more than a decade, WHR has been providing a safe place for widows in Nepal and Lily Thapa is raising the voice and protecting the women with much needed legal advice and providing the skills training to earn money.

Holding the international conference, WHR has also shown that it is capable enough to take issue globally.

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