A blog by SI UN Representative in New York, Frances Zainoeddin.
“A convention formed to protect the rights of older persons will, of course, include older women, who are in the majority of people over the age of 60 – the fastest growing demographic cohort. The arguments for a convention point to existing gaps in human rights treaties and emphasise the need for a specific legal instrument for older persons, much like those for women (CEDAW), children (CRC), and persons with disabilities (CRPD), all of which made a huge difference in addressing their rights. The arguments against a convention point to the fact that rights of older persons are already sufficiently covered by other human rights treaties, but this has been contested by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It’s “gaps” report concludes that current arrangements at the national and international level to protect the human rights of older persons are inadequate. Read the full report here.
Many NGOs are advocating for a convention and in 2011, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) was established specifically to address this issue – see their website for tool-kits on advocacy. https://www.rightsofolderpeople.org/
I urge Soroptimists to pay attention to the concerns of older women who are among some of the most poor and most vulnerable – in many countries, they are often with little or no social security, less education, less access to health, less rights to inherit property when they become widows, less care for themselves, sometimes abused, neglected, ostracised and abandoned (often by members of their own families). Their plight, after a lifetime of discrimination, is extremely serious and needs to be addressed.
Our work for women and girls must continue to include older women! They must not be forgotten!”