International Widows’ Day 2019: Everything to know about today’s day

The observance of today’s day by the United Nations addresses the poverty, discriminations and various problems faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries. According to the United Nation’s estimation, there are around 258 million widows around the world, out of which nearly one in ten live in extreme poverty. Today’s day draws attention to the experiences of all those widows. It’s devastating to lose a partner, for both men and women. But for many women around the world, simply losing their husbands makes them face difficulties and harassments. 

The widow women face social stigma; they are shunned, evicted from their homes mostly by their in-laws, or shamed, denied of their rights to inheritance, forced into unwanted marriages, made to go through traumatizing widowhood rituals and abused.  Agonizingly, these ill treatments of widow women are mostly normalized. They have to struggle for the basic needs, their human rights and dignity.   

International Widows Day calls for actions towards empowering widows so they can support themselves and their children or families.
Today’s day encourages working towards achievements of full rights and recognition for widows, to end social stigma and injustices done towards widows, especially widow women. 

International Widows Day: Establishment and U.N. recognition

International Widows Day was established by The Loomba Foundation.
23rd June was significantly chosen for this day since, during the same day in 1954, the foundation’s founder Lord Loomba’s mother, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba became a widow.   

The International Widows Day thus first took place in 2005. It was launched by Lord Loomba and the foundation’s president, Cherie Blair. The motive of this establishment was to raise awareness of the issues faced by widows around the world due to poverty and social stigmas.  They presented their study to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 June 2010.
On 21st December 2010, the United Nations officially recognized 23rd June as International Widows’ Day and it’s been observed by the UN since then every year.

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