15 June, 2023:Help Age India, released Its’ National 2023 report– “Women & Ageing: Invisible or Empowered? a day ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th.
The report covered the entire length and breadth of the country including rural & urban India. These comprised 20 states, 2 UTs and 5 metro cities including, Maharashtra and Mumbai. The sample size of 7911, included various socio-economic categories. The sample size in Maharashtra including Mumbai had a sample size of 619 respondents.
Out of the elder women residing in Mumbai 61 % owned some kind of asset, namely vehicles, house and agricultural or nonagricultural land. The balance 39 % do not own any moveable or immoveable property. Out of the women respondents in Mumbai 85% did not engage in any work while the balance 13 percent engaged in either full time or part time work.
An interesting point to note was that 79% of the working elder women in Mumbai said that their workplace and work environment in Mumbai was friendly. The senior women who feel secure financially mainly due to the support from their children accounts for 70%. Elder women from other regions in Maharashtra accounting for 55 % own some kind of assets which includes land and house.
The National Help Age report is citied as the first of its kind report that focuses only on older women who as far as their needs are concerned are often lost and the last in line.
Ipsos Research Private Limited was the professional research agency that conducted the survey. It explores the aspects of elder discrimination and abuse, the access to and ownership of financial resources of these older women. It also explored aspects of employability and employment, social and digital inclusion, health care, awareness and use of redressal mechanisms, safety and security in addition to others.
Elder women in Mumbai who accept that elder abuse including physical violence is prevalent in society and therefore accept it, accounts for 57 %. The percentage of women having experienced physical abuse from family that includes sons, daughter in laws, daughters and other relatives accounts for 14 %. The elderly women in other regions of Maharashtra who say that abuse exists in society and accept it accounts for 63 %. Elder women who have experienced abuse from their sons, daughter in laws and other family members account for 23 %.
Rohit Prasad, CEO, HelpAge India, says that it is a stark reality that nationally, women tend to become neglected and almost invisible as they grow older. The report he said, highlights the gender equality gap and the vulnerability that elderly women face nationally. Some hard facts are revealed such as 54 % illiteracy, 43 % widowed, 75% without savings, 16% face abuse, and 66% of older women face insecurity since they do not own assets and are financially insecure. The areas of urgent response are the need for raising awareness about the welfare schemes of the government, healthcare, economic participation programs, priority in pension, recourse to redressal mechanisms for elder abuse and special schemes for elderly women.
The ‘unpreparedness and dependency’ of older women is brought out in the Help Age report. Illiteracy levels and lack of financial security amongst others makes them vulnerable.
Anupama Datta, Head – Policy & Research, HelpAge India, said that females who started with a social, educational and economic disadvantage from an early age, led unimaginable lives even in their old age. They rarely made any choices about their lives and remained secondary in nearly all aspects of life. She added that we needed to rethink on how they could be enabled and encouraged to become self-reliant, as they may outlive their partners who had been taking all decisions on their behalf.
HelpAge India suggested the need to raise awareness on crucial issues like the importance of gainful employment, undertaking capacity building efforts and promoting elder friendly working environments. It also raised awareness on the mental and physical health of older women and their families. Other suggestions were promoting a culture of empathy respect and understanding through educational platforms. Implementing digital training workshops, raising awareness on elder abuse were a few of the many other key suggestions.
# Help Age India # elder women # Anupama Dutta # Rohit Prasad #National Help Age Report # elder abuse # elder women dependence #elder working women in Mumbai # elder women illiteracy # Ipsos Research Private Limited