Widows and single mothers lack economic opportunities: Report

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Community participation of both men and women.
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BY LYNTON AARON FILIA

Community participation of both men and women.

WIDOWS and single mothers in Solomon Islands are said to be the most disadvantaged people to any economic opportunity, a report shows.

A report compiled by Strongim Bisnis and Oxfam International Solomon Islands found that widows and single mothers in Malaita, Guadalcanal and Western provinces lack economic opportunities.

It said although this group of people receive some support from communities and churches, throughout activities they were identified among those most disadvantaged for any economic opportunity.

This is due to their high care and domestic labour burdens and having less available support from male family members for ‘heavy’ labour required for paid or unpaid work in the gardens or home.

Besides, single mothers from also encountered the similar experiences, according to the report.

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Western province single mothers were identified by adult women as experiencing more challenges in the community and economy due to added layers of social stigma, discrimination and gossip.

On such situation single mother is blame either for not marrying well, or for not being a ‘good’ woman, the report said.

Meanwhile, the study carryout identified various power differences based on gender, age, marital status and disability in a range of spheres that are important to economic empowerment.

However, despite their skills and capabilities, young women’s high burden of care works exposure to violence, lack of voice in household and community decisions.

Their apparent exclusion from community information and economic opportunities is critical and needs to be addressed to prevent inter-generational risks and vulnerabilities, especially related to violence.

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