International Widows Day is observed across the world on 23 June to spread awareness about the problems widows face and to gather enough support that they need. The day also draws attention to the voices of widows and looks to help them access basic rights.
This day is a United Nations (UN) approved one that addresses "poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries”.
Significance of International Widows Day
Along with working towards achieving full rights for widows, the United Nations helps in providing them with a fair share of their inheritance, land and productive resources. The UN is working towards their pensions and social protection which is not based on marital status alone.
History of International Widows Day
This special day was established and recognised by The Loomba Foundation, which is an NGO dedicated to improve the lives of widows. The main objective is to inform people about the issue of widowhood. This organisation is run by Lord Raj Loomba CBE and his wife Lady Veena Loomba.
The date was picked for International Widows Day as on this day Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba, mother of Lord Loomba, became a widow in the year 1954. After its recognition, the first International Widows Day was observed in 2005.
After years of wait, the day was formally accepted and acknowledged by the United Nations on 21 December, 2010. To commemorate the day on the sixth edition, events and programmes were held in countries including, the United States (US), UK, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Syria, Kenya, India, and Bangladesh.
Lesser-known facts about International Widows Day
- As per the UN website, there are more than 258 million widows around the world. Many of them are still not getting their basic rights and dignity
- From the estimated 258 million widows around the world, nearly one in ten live in extreme poverty
- Meanwhile, few parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo have around 50 percent of women, who are widows