Let us consider a woman in her 70s in the small village where she was born and raised. As with so many of her generation, she was made to marry early, with minimum education. She had children early, pregnancies were unplanned, childbirth was risky. Her husband, many years older, died a long while ago, leaving her a widow, unprepared to enter the workforce or properly fend for herself. Her children left the village for the city, adding to her isolation. This is the scenario many older women now face – with the added risks, burdens and effects of COVID-19.
But imagine if, as an adolescent, this woman had been able to take that other branch of the road: completing school and higher education; achieving gainful employment; marrying as an adult and of her own choice; having healthy children and being able to invest in their well-being; and, ultimately, enjoying a secure old age. – World Economic Forum, 1 October 2020