OLDER WOMEN IN NIGERIA: ISSUES FOR POLICY ATTENTION
The paper examines the quality of life of older females in the context of a rapidly aging population, high youth unemployment, high rate of extreme poverty and the diminished capacities of adult children in fulfilling their filial obligations. Using secondary materials, including census figures and published research findings and newspaper reports, the paper highlights the risks, disadvantages and vulnerabilities of older women. The increase in the number of skipped generation households, the visibility of female elders engaging in public alms solicitations, emotional and sexual abuse of older women are some of the trends identified and discussed as signaling compromised quality of life of older females. Paper concludes that women become disadvantaged in old age because the society, institutions and some cultural practices over the life course puts them at a disadvantage. Paper therefore makes three recommendations: the need for a full range of policy actions to address the risks, vulnerabilities, discriminations that women face through the life course that culminates in poor quality of life in old age; need for a safety net mechanism that will be available at critical periods of temporary vulnerability in a woman’s life as well as policy and programme responses for those older women who have fallen through the net. Paper also recommends the establishment of a national data set on older women to identify geographical and social vulnerability indicators in order to enhance accurate targeting of programme interventions.
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