International Widows' Day: Time to destroy the social stigma & give all a chance to thrive

International Widows' Day: Time to destroy the social stigma & give all a chance to thrive

As per the United Nations (UN), there are over 258 million widows around the world.

Losing a partner or a spouse is a devastating loss that can push a person to the darkest places. The loss gets amplified when a person is left to fend for herself while grieving. A woman, who has been emotionally or financially dependent on her partner throughout her life, is left without a confidant, a support system and a companion.

Women, who are widowed, have to fight for their rights - both emotional and professional - throughout their lives. As per the United Nations (UN), there are over 258 million widows around the world. To recognise these widows, the UN celebrates International Widows' Day every year on June 23.

International Widows' Day: Time to destroy the social stigma & give all a chance to thrive
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Widows are 'left unseen, unsupported, and unmeasured'

As per the UN, widows have been "left unseen, unsupported, and unmeasured" for years. Since 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has widowed several women. Women, who need to be acknowledged, helped and encouraged, not judged. Taking a lesson from past experiences of HIV/AIDS and Ebola, widows must be granted their rights.

In the past, widows have been denied inheritance rights, have their property grabbed after the death of a partner, and can be subjected to stigma and discrimination. Not only this, but they have also been blamed for causing the deaths of their significant others. Several countries in the world see widows as bad omens and forbid their presence on good occasions. Even in the 21st century, when the world is making technological advancements, there are evil practices associated with widows. Efforts must be made to ensure their welfare and to demolish the societal lens that refuses to see them as human beings.

On International Widows' Day, efforts must be made to safeguard the rights of widows and to encourage them in life. Widows must be given educational opportunities, pensions, a fair share of inheritance and freedom from social stigmas. As per the UN, governments of all member nations must take action to uphold their commitments to ensure the rights of widows as enshrined in international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. People must be made aware of equality and the importance of resilience as we build a better world for ourselves and for others.

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