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As Ageing Population rapidly grows, rights of older women must be prioritized

CSW60 BannerWomen outnumber men in older age, particularly in the developing world, and designing relevant polices is a challenge that States must embrace, the sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) heard today.

Yanira Argueta, Minister for Women of El Salvador, speaking for the Group of Friends of Older Persons, said that between 2015 and 2030, the number of people older than age 60 was expected to grow by 56 per cent — from 901 million to 1.4 billion, and to more than 2 billion in 2050. She said, adding:  “The situation of older women must be a priority in all of our actions.”

The opportunity was to benefit from the contributions older persons could make to society, while the challenge was to design relevant policies.  “The situation of older women must be a priority in all of our actions,” she said, noting that the high incidence of poverty among them was related to lack of economic resources — especially credit and land ownership — lack of access to education, and minimal participation in decision-making.

Older women in rural areas were especially vulnerable, as their role was around unpaid family care and dependent on others for their survival.  The neglect, abuse and violence against them often went undetected, a risk that must be reduced by increasing awareness and protection, she said, underscoring the importance of general recommendation No. 27 of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.  That recommendation recognized the gendered nature of ageing and the disproportionate impact on older women.  States must ensure the full and equal participation of older women in decision-making, while UN-Women must mainstream their situations across its work.  She advocated for the creation of an international instrument for the protection of older persons’ rights.

Noting that neglect, abuse and violence against older women often went undetected, she called upon States to ensure the full and equal participation of older women in decision-making, and advocated for the creation of an international instrument for the protection of older persons’ rights.

Germany’s delegate stressed the importance of communication and information sharing in combating violence against women.  Finland said women could have more time for social and economic life if men and boys did more domestic chores.  Burkina Faso’s representative noted how difficult it could be for women to access microcredit, while Kuwait’s delegate urged all peace-loving nations to join forces for peace and to “dry out” the resources of terrorism.

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