International Widows’ Day

Every year on June 23rd ...

Not only is it the first day of astronomical summer and also International Day of Yoga, but it is the Day of Widows, a group little thought of in international circles otherwise. No major UN documents take their situation into account.
[Editor: UN on International Widows’ Day]

NGO/CSW Geneva held a conversation about the issues today after their monthly meeting. We shared our understanding of the situation of widows and what, if anything our organisations are doing on this issue. Widows Rights International gave a brief overview of its concerns and aspirations for the year.

Still Life: Caffé Cup, Glasses, Last Will and Fountain Pen

In societies where women are only integrated in relationship to a man, the loss of the man in their lives presents grave problems. Some do not recognize a widow as an heir and the wealth of the late husband goes to other family members, leaving her and her children (if she as a widow is allowed to keep her children) without her usual resources.

Feminists actively work against child marriages and a new aspect of their privation opened up in that in some countries a girl child, who would be protected by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, upon her marriage, falls out of that category and if she is widowed before reaching her majority, she remains cut off from those protections.

It is not enough to think, widows are protected by the usual human rights documents, custom will often elude such pronouncements by treating a widow differently from other women. The many conflicts in the world today have the effect of producing more and more widows and the international community is called upon to do more for their particular well-being.

Young woman kneeing at a demetary in front of a grave with red carnation flowers in her right hand.


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