Nepali Women Protest $600 'Marry-a-Widow' Incentive

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 5:15 AM CDT
A Nepalese woman offers prayers after pinning a coin to a wall in Kathmandu.   (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
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(Newser) – Hundreds of women marched through Kathmandu yesterday to protest a government plan to offer $600 to anybody who marries a widow, the Independent reports. The government says the scheme will help overcome social stigmas attached to widowhood, but the women say it is insulting and warn that it will lead to an increase in human trafficking and to widows being treated as "cash cows."

Nepal's decade-long civil war left thousands of women widowed. "There are many of us who are young and want to remarry but our main concerns are our children," one 25-year-old widow at the protest said. "This one-time provision is not enough to raise our children and provide them with proper education. Moreover, there is no guarantee that we will even get to use the money."