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Help us achieve 10,000 signatures for older women around the world

Published on 08 November 2021 12:00 AM

We've had an amazing number of signatures on our petition calling on the UK Government to include older people in its new International Development Strategy - but we need your help to reach a key milestone.

We have been delighted by the response from our supporters since the launch of our Older women: the hidden workforce report and petition last month, which has helped us gain over 7,000 signatures – an amazing achievement! But we need more to guarantee a response from the UK government and ensure our message is heard, so we are asking you to please share the petition with your friends and family to help us get over the line.

A day in the life

Almaz in Ethiopia shared with us what a typical day is like for her - taking care of her household, family and community members.

Why are we demanding equal rights for older women?

Our report describes how older women around the world like Almaz are doing vital work and care that’s often unpaid and unrecognised even though it's vital to families, communities and economies. Despite their essential role and the work they carry out throughout their lifetime, they are taken for granted. This means it is harder for women to save for older age and to access pensions.

Older women need their contributions and rights to be recognised and their voices to be heard to ensure that they have access to decent work and a secure income. Without including them, wider gender equality goals cannot be achieved.

What is the International Development Strategy?

The Government is now in the process of creating a new strategy for its international work following the merger of two departments - the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with the Department for International Development (DFID) - earlier this year to form the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The strategy will inform the work and priorities for the FCDO over the coming years.

Although the Government promises to continue its commitment to eradicating poverty, it is still shaping the detail of its plans. International NGOs in the UK have been working with the FCDO to ensure that the focus does not become too narrow. Without pressure from NGOs and the public during this shake-up, there is a risk that progress on the inclusion of groups such as older people, and particularly older women, could be lost.

Why now?

With the department merger, budgets being slashed and the Government’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on overseas aid being removed until 2024, this is a really important chance for the government to commit to ensuring that older people, and especially older women, are not forgotten in its work and plans going forward.

Older people have too often been overlooked in development work and policies, even where they are amongst the most directly or drastically affected by an issue, such as with the COVID-19 crisis. Even within the Government’s work towards women’s empowerment, the crucial roles of older women have been invisible. This must be addressed urgently to ensure older women can have more support, control and choice.

We now have a window of opportunity to make a difference by calling on the government to recognise older women's rights and contributions through our petition.

How can I help?

Please share our petition with your friends and family and ask them to sign it too to help us reach the key milestone of 10,000 signatures and ensure the UK government has to provide a response to our plea. You can also share our posts on social media.

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Last updated: Nov 19 2021

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