The United Nations(UN)’s International Widows’ Day is annually observed across the globe on 23rd June to voice out the experiences of the widows and to take action to provide the support they need.
- The day also focuses on the issues affecting widows across the globe and the efforts to be taken to safeguard and advance their rights.
The day also offers a platform for action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows. This includes information on access to a fair share of their inheritance, land and productive resources; pensions and social protection; decent work and equal pay; and education and training opportunities.
i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/65/189 on 21st December 2010 and proclaimed the 23rd June of every year as International Widows’ Day.
ii.The first ever International Widows’ Day was observed on 23rd June 2011.
i.The key problems for widows in developing countries are Poverty, Violence, health and Conflict-related issues.
ii.Some of the issues faced by widows include,
- No access to credit and other economic resources for childcare or education.
- No rights or limited rights to inheritance under customary and religious laws.
- Widows, disowned by relatives, are forced to work in the informal sectors as domestic labourers or turn to beg or prostitution.
- Subjected to physical and mental violence including sexual abuse related to inheritance, land and property disputes.
- Forced to participate in harmful, degrading and even life-threatening traditional practices as part of burial and mourning rites.
i.It is estimated that there are around 258 million widows across the globe and one in 10 widows lives in extreme poverty.
ii.A large number of women are widowed due to armed conflicts, it is reported that in some parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo around 50% of women are widows and it is also estimated that there are around 3 million widows in Iraq and 70000 in Kabul, Afghanistan.