WIDOWHOOD IN BRIEF
The United Nations considers the abuse of widows and their children one of the most serious violations of human rights and an obstacle to development. In South Africa, widows are often accorded a lesser social status consistent with cultural and religious norms. Social custom lags behind the law. This makes it difficult for widows to assert their rights. As a result the status of women can change radically on the death of their husbands and the negative practices contributing to the subjugation of women throughout their lives seem to multiply at this time. Widowhood also carries implications for women's livelihood, economic status and quality of life, and increases women's vulnerability to discrimination, abuse, harassment and gender-based violence.
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