New York, 23 June 2022 (TDI): The United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres commemorated the International Widows Day with the rest of the world on 23rd June 2022.

In 2005, an NGO called Loomba Foundation located in the United Kingdom established International Widows Day. This was after Lord Rajinder Paul Loomba’s father passed on making his mother a widow.

The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted June 23 as International Widow’s Day in December 2010. According to the estimates of the UN, there are 258 million widows in the world.

In most parts of Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), 50% of women are widows. Among these widows, one in every 10 widows lives in extreme poverty. The UN is making efforts to address the plight of widows and their dependents in the world.

Many widows are forced to participate in harmful degrading practices as a part of mourning and burial rites. This year’s International Widows Day falls under the theme of “Invisible Women, Invisible Problems.”

Importance of International Widows Day

This day is an opportunity to strive for full rights and recognition of widows. This includes offering them information on how to obtain their share of the inheritance and other assets.

Governments should also empower widows and address social stigmas that exclude, discriminate and make them participate in harmful practices.

Therefore, Governments should adhere to laws such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

In the light of Covid-19, widows should not be segregated but brought closer to build back better. Governments should encourage widows to participate in peacebuilding and reconciliation processes in post-conflict situations

International Widow’s Day also reminds governments to put in place programs and policies to end violations against widows and children. This is an important day that looks at some of the problems widows face and how to address them.

Judicial offices should also encourage widows to turn to the justice system and seek reparations. The UN Secretary-General has acknowledged the importance of the Widows Day.