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THE DEVELOPING WORLD, WIDOWHOOD AND INHERITANCE

Women make up half of the world’s population, they nurture, the earth and its beings, yet burdened by the poverty and problems associated with women, men, children and the environment. It is disheartening too know that several African countries have non-implementable, non-implementing, or refused to be implemented law on widowhood and inheritance, and even when they are ready to implement this law, it takes the lifetime of the affected woman before judgment is proclaimed, this due to the cumbersome nature of out courts proceedings.

Widowhood and inheritance should not be a subject for 2010, if we are really developing, but today they are two peculiar challenges faced by women yet unaddressed by our leaders through their non-implementable instruments, it will be right then to say that the laws of the clan supersedes that of the land, or do we agree that the problems of our women is the least of our governments’ problems. Will it also not be wrong to conclude that gender imbalance or unequal representation of gender at the helms of affair has part to play in this? Stories and unending cries, it is unbelievable that some women have to be married to their brother in law in order to have access to their children and their husband’s property, mind you they worked together for the property and when we dig deep, into productive roles, and activity profile we will submit to the fact that women play overwhelming roles in the acquisition of these property, yet are denied of them, after the death of their spouses.

Apart from India, that ensures that all inheritance go to the wife, there are no countries in our developing world who is truly interested in the plight of the widows and their inheritance, this is a condition not desired by any woman but accepted because no one can question her maker. Several women in the developing world have been denied the right and desire to mourn their husbands because of inheritance grabbing, imagine a woman sitting beside the late husband’s corpse and watching as her life’s saving is being grabbed not by strangers but practically disinherited by in laws.

Patriarchy has been institutionalized to disinherit women of all dignity, it has been used for hundreds of years and it is still being used, although subtly in the areas of patriarchy- predator- protection. It will be satisfying if one can get the answer to who is a predator and who is a protector? Who is to be protected, who seeks protection from whom? Lots of generative questions we would agree. Have you ever read or witnessed ceremonies on widowhood rites? Then it may be right to say that everywoman needs protection from women and men in this regard, because elderly women are used to perpetuate the worst form of human’s inhumanity to human when it comes to this dastard rite, it must be a topic for another day.

What are our leaders doing? In Nigeria, we have the available instruments, but what of the unwritten codes? Do you sue the clan? Fight against the in laws, in our world where MARRIAGE IS CONSIDERED AN INVIOLATE INSTITUTION! And these widows remain in appalling conditions because of their children. May be we should also take a closer look at the fact that even as beautiful as this legal instruments look like and presented by our not so working or slow institutions, the court proceedings are re-traumatizing and always filled scenarios of mad rush of emotions. Consequently, may we be moved enoug to retrospect on the double burden being borne by a single widow.

My mother became a widow on May 9th, 1976, I was barely three years old, afterward, we moved out of my father’s house on the 15th of June same year or thereabout, just to allow my mother to experience the mandatory forty days mourning of her husband, you will not believe that my next visit was when my husband accompanied me back there on the eve of our wedding, to pay his respect to the dead you will say, nobody from my father's clan visited us after the eviction, my mother single handely funded my education up till Masters level when I said I had had enough, she was a dedicated woman.

I am interested in real life stories from developing countries, and we can collaborate to plan the way forward, is it mass education or enlightenment campaign?, is it true that we are faced with hopelessnesss with regards to our men?, I do not believe, men can learn, re-learn and can unlearn too, and on a positive note, we can also educate the boys of today, a popular adage form the Western region of Nigeria says, "we must prune the Iroko tree while it is young and budding if not it will soon be demanding for sacrifice and worship, forgetting that we planted it" .

It is hard to think about a woman who is passing through this agony presently but the next widow must not be allowed to undergo that deadly challenge again, the world must act. It begins with me. It begins with you.

Comments

JaniceW's picture

Pruning the tree when it is young

Olutosin,
You hit the nail on the head in saying that not only must we as women fight against this practice but we must educate the men and sons to respect women of all ages so that this abuse does not continue. After all, in these stubbornly male-dominated societies, it is the men who perpetuate these deep-seated prejudices and class barriers with their laws, practices and actions.

I look forward to hearing about what is bring done in other countries and thank you for keeping this issue on the forefront of our discussions. With love,
Janice

olutosin's picture

Gathering information

I am equally interested in this information.......and wants friends from these affected parts of our world to respond too....
It raises concerns......
Thanks for responding dear friend.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Insha Allah's picture

Need a change!

Dear Olutsin,

I had heard the widow of generals in the army had to be married with one of the soldiers of her husband after deciding by draw in the past when I was very young. When I first heard, it is very difficult to understand and express my sad and unsatisfied emotion as a girl. As you said, the problem of our women is the least of our governments’ problems especially in army which is a very patriarchic society. Although, in our days, we haven’t experienced those inhumane cases, as you point out we also haven’t seen any movements for widow. I understand that women in some part of the world are still suffering. So the world must exactly act as women cover over half of this world.

From you personal story, I am very proud of you for having up to Master level education even in tough situations and having such a strong and brilliant mother.

I wish you could be an initiative for the change you want to see in the society.

With Love,
Shwe Wutt Hmon
Myanmar

Shwe Wutt Hmon

olutosin's picture

READ THE RESPONSE

I goofed LOL, pls read the response to your comments below

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

olutosin's picture

So good wish

Thanks darlingfor the response...I will really love to be teh change I want to see, this is a crucial topic in class that areally generated emotions adn caused me sleepless night, because of the horrible conditions that were highlighted.....as you can read oneof theresponses in this same journal at teh End Gender Based Violence, there is Property Grabbing in some African countries, whereby in laws will move out everything belonging to the affected family into teh extended family home, the woman is most of the time left with nothing.
In my avenue, then, there was a woman from my village tht lost her husband, a military personnel, after teh burial, they left the village and came to Lagos, do you know that these family members came from my village adn moved everything form teh house, the carpet spread in the kitchen was inclusive. the woman sat onthe floor and all her five children sat round her, they moved the family's belongings till the afternoon, when they were about to leave the close, the landlord's association had met and locked teh gate that leads to the avenue, tehy told the man's brothers to return teh property as they met them, there was real fight to finish and they returned everything they offloaded the truck till late in the night, you will not believe that in less than a week, the close met and helped the woman to sell the house, she ran away, I have not seen her till today.
This still boils down to the fact that women are still treated as objects in some African countries, which my country is not an exception.
All we are saying is that now that we are developing, there wont be allround development if all section of the society is not carried along.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Presilicious's picture

The many ills of our world

I had to read this story twice to really understand the pain and also appreciate the victory your mum must feel to be able to nurture you alone with little external help. I don't know what the practice is in other developing countries but in Nigeria the problem is laced in our culture and outdated traditions.

Women are relegated to the background and the laws formulated to protect women are hardly implemented. The shocking reality is that sometimes other women tend to be involved in these practices too especially if they are relatives of the deceased. I have friend whose mother had to fight her late husband siblings for investments he made in her name!

I think it is time we changed our mentality towards one another especially women and children. Grass roots programme targeted at abolishing those parts of our culture that are unjust should be a focal point. I believe strongly that these practices chan change if we all as women in one voice collectively decide we have had enough.

Many thanks for sharing.

Precious.

Positive change is possible

olutosin's picture

MENTALITY MUST CHANGE!

Thanks for respondingto tis post, I also believe that our mentality must change too, from teh little boy to teh leader, it is all inclusive.....my prayer is that we are able to take the right step towards teh right directionand no woman experiences thsi horrible practise again, we may not really know how it pinches but those who passed through the road know that it is not an easy road.

Can you imagine fighting for what is rightful and legally yours, I tire o.
How are you my sister? God is our strength o....Thanks for stopping by and also for keeping on, hoping Nigeria go better.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

AchiengNas's picture

Women

Olutosin,
I am very interested in contributing to your journal. There are evidential cases here that I will give you soon. Women and Girls have no right to properties here in Uganda. It belongs to the men and boys.

Thank you for this topic.

Beatrice

I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

olutosin's picture

Appreciation

Thanks so much, the learning event is for all of us from the developing World.....My prayer is tht may we learn.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Sarvina's picture

Interesting article!

Dear sister Olutosin,

Your article is so interesting and I'm so happy reading it. I'm really proud of your mother even she's a widow but she could afford you to study high. I really understand about Nigeria's widowhood condition.

You know my aunt became a widow since my cousin was just born only 1 day and she has tried to do everything for her life and her 4 children lives. I know it is hard to raise children and send them to school but she could do it until my cousins finished high school. Living in developing country (Cambodia), widowhood is always sometime looked down as they think maybe she might do something wrong or she's bad that make her husband die or run away from her. Actually, being a widow is a true leader coz she can take care and raise all her children alone. Another thing in my country is that when she become a widow, she will be rejected or remarried again as Cambodian always clings tightly to traditional that she shouldn't remarried.

Nowadays in Cambodia, widowhood is seem being changed coz many widows can run their own business. Most of them can get the property half with their husband after they are judged from the lawyer when they divorce but still have some men who don't give value to widow and mostly in province. They don't understand about the law that the government has just released or made a new regulation.

It is very good if all women in the world fight against this issue. Women and widow every where will be self living and freedom to live in society.

Best Wishes,
Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

olutosin's picture

So proud of your sister too

Thanks so mcuh Dear friend and sister, How I wish I can give your aunt a good good hug, my belief is that with just a little support these women can go places, the initial stage may be difficult but we must remember that they have their lives to live too.
Thanks so much as we work altogether to touch one widow at a time, it is not magic but if everyone decides to change, I men a real positive step towards ever widow, we will be writing another story, We can live our reality and write our stories.......
How do you do Sarvina?

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Sarvina's picture

Yeah sister! I thank you for

Yeah sister! I thank you for my aunt...of course it is great to support the widows and I hope we can help them to go to their places and have no more injustice for widow anymore in this world.

Hey...I'm pretty well and so excited with the VOF. Yesterday I met up with Janice and she talked about you a lot. I have also tagged you some photos of us in FB. I hope you are great too! Enjoy your weekend....

Take Care,
Sarvina

Regards,

Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

olutosin's picture

Oh thats lovely

Thanks so much for remembering me you guys are good..............Congrats as regards VOF, pls make good the opportunity, raise the voices of the affected people and the underreported too, it is a call to service that must be appreciated and not just to dump it....you know. Janice is a lovely lady....I respect her ea lot.
Thanks for writing and for tagging me.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Ruun Abdi's picture

Dear Olutosin, Reading your

Dear Olutosin,

Reading your post made me really sad of how widows been badly treated everywhere in this world as well as making me proud of your mom for been such a strong woman taking care of you till masters that is a prove of woman's power.

Here in Somalia widows have been treated badly sometime back though now its kinda of changing a bit and people are getting to reason. After their husband dies they used to be forced to marry the brother or the cousin of the deceased husband, whether he was married to another women or not, so that the wealth of the husband wont go with the wife who might marry another man, and he is the one who will manage the wealth.

In Islam women have defined rights whether they are girls, married women or widows, they cant be forced to marry unless they agree with it, and when they become widows the brothers/cousins of the deceased husband neither her family can force her to remarry from that family unless she wills to do so, the inheritance of the widows, kids and each member of the family has been defined in Koran, but you know this male dominated societies forces women to do what they want and mostly people are not well educated/known of their rights based on religion or not, that is what contributes to this tragedy events, here its kinda of changing day after the other and women are at least becoming able to agree or disagree with some issues though there are some regions which still practice this culture.

On the other hand, if a woman becomes a widow and she has sons well some men fear to marry her thinking if they mistreat this lady her sons sooner or later will defend her and wont allow their moms to be mistreated. after the civil war well women at least proved their ability to cope with life and take care of the family whether they became widows or those whose husbands are still alive but are nowhere to be seen, they run small businesses send their kids to school take care their families and so on.

Warmest regards,
Marian

olutosin's picture

Good comment dear

Thanks so much darling, you brought out good points here and most especially men afraid of widows who have sons, here patriachy plays a major role, we now look at men as potectors adn predators, how long will women and men continue to look at women will such eye, it is still very unclear. Is the new suitor planning to abuse the widow that makes me suspect that her son may retaliate, so widows with sons in Somalia may find it hard to remarry, may be it is everywhere then...
Thanks dear so much.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Nusrat Ara's picture

You are right. IT BEGINS WITH

You are right. IT BEGINS WITH ME

Love

Nusrat

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