GENDER INEQUALITY AND THE STATUS OF WIDOWS IN NIGERIA: IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNSELLING

Gender Inequality


Abstract

This study investigated the counselling needs of widows in Rivers State implication for study. The sample of this study consisted of 2000 widows from Rivers State. These widows were drawn using the purposive sampling technique. The instrument used for the data collection was a self made questionnaire-widows needs assessment questionnaire (WNAQ). This was validated and its reliability coefficient was 0.84 and 66 respectively. The WNAQ sought information on widows counselling needs based on their age, family size, size of children and socio-economic background. Each item had 4 point likerf scale set against it. Gender Inequality

The response options ranged from strongly needed to needed. Each subject was required to indicate the extent to which widows needed guidance or not. Two hypotheses were formulated for the study. T-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses respectively. It was found that widows needed counselling services irrespective of their age and family size respectively. There is no significant difference between this counselling need of young widows and their elderly ones. There is no significant difference between the counselling needs of the widows with large families and those with small family size. On the basis of these findings, it was recommended that Government should design all human rights programme with a gender component to automatically include an assessment of the widow’s situation and their access to economic and social rights.Gender Inequality

The widows should be of height priority and finally programmes for the widows’ empowerment are necessary if their rehabilitation is to be achieved. Introduction Recently, Nigerians have seen the need for counseling services as a panacea for varieties of developmental tasks. Okeke (2003:105) sees it as a dynamic instrument for changes and a tool for national growth and development.Gender Inequality Supporting the above view, Briggs (2005) observed that from a narrow perspective, counselling services are perceived as accomplishment that one acquires in schools, colleges or from private individuals instructors. UNESCO (2004) report signaled that the need and demand for counseling services are assumed to be enormous and will continue to expand. Although, they are difficult to measure.Gender Inequality

The report points to key indicators such as urban population growth increase in the number of working authors, demographic changes and the education profile of the country. A widow is a woman who has lost her husband through death and usually she feels an ominous ring of finality and heartrending grief which is almost incomparable in any other type. This situation is unalike a perceived of a husband louse through divorce, separation, or abandonment or rejection in which they can still meet though not on good terms.Gender Inequality

In Nigeria, when a woman loses her husband, the relatives of the husband deny her the inheritance she should have gotten from the late husband. She is accused of having a hand in the death of her husband and made to pass through agonizing rituals to prove her innocence. The prevailing attitude suggests that a widow cannot own property in her own right. In such situations, widows tend to suffer a lot at the loss of a partner, and this has socio-economic and health implications for the widows. They are at tremendous risk of physical and several abuse. This tragedy is magnified in Africa by HIV/AIDS especially if their late husband had died of HIV/AIDS and infected them with the disease.Gender Inequality