One of the most traumatic losses that one can suffer is the loss of a spouse or partner. When a person is left to grieve alone, the loss is heightened. In the case of emotional or financial dependence, a woman is abandoned without a confidant, a support system, and a companion.
Throughout their lives, widowed women fight for their rights – both emotional and professional. According to the United Nations (UN), there are over 258 million widows worldwide. In recognition of these widows, the UN celebrates International Widows’ Day every year on June 23. Widows, according to the UN, have long been ignored, unsupported, and unmeasured. COVID-19 has widowed a number of women since 2019. Women deserve to be acknowledged, encouraged and helped instead of being judged. From the past experiences of HIV/AIDS and Ebola, widows should be granted their rights.
Widows have been denied inheritance rights, had their property seized after the death of their partners, and can face stigma and discrimination. In addition to this, they have also been blamed for killing their significant others. In some countries, widows are regarded as bad omens, and their presence on good occasions is forbidden. Even today, in the 21st century, when the world is advancing technologically, there are still evil practices associated with widows. As a society, we must work to ensure their welfare and destroy the lens that refuses to see them as human beings.
The purpose of International Widows’ Day is to protect the rights of widows and to encourage them in life. Widows should receive educational opportunities, pensions, a fair share of the inheritance, and be free from social stigmas. Several international treaties protect the rights of widows. The UN report calls on governments in all member nations to carry out their commitments to uphold the rights of widows. In order to build a better world for ourselves and others, we need to make people aware of equality and the importance of resilience.