International Widows' Day History
International Widows' Day serves to recognize widows and their unique situations worldwide. Widows are women whose husbands have died. After their husbands have passed, many widows are forced to fight for their human rights and overcome many obstacles to ensure their social and economic development. It is estimated that there are over 245 million widows worldwide, nearly half of which live in extreme poverty and are subject to cruel violence.
International Widows' Day was declared by the United Nations and first celebrated on June 23, 2011 in an effort empower widows and help them to regain their rights, which have long been ignored and violated.
International Widows' Day Facts & Quotes
- Vast numbers of women are widowed due to armed conflict. It is estimated that in the Republic of Congo, nearly 50% of women are widows.
- There are an estimated three million widows in Iraq and over 70,000 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
- It is estimated that 7 to 16% of all adult women in the world are widows.
- Women are more likely to be widowed than men for two reasons:
1) Women live longer than men;
2) Women tend to marry older men.
For many women, becoming a widow does not just mean the heartache of losing a husband, but often losing everything else as well. – Cherie Blair, wife of former Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
International Widows' Day Top Events and Things to Do
- Donate or volunteer for Widows and Orphans International. All funds that are donated are used to help support widows in need. There are lots of volunteer opportunities in countries such as Kenya that allow volunteers to help widows and orphans get their lives back on track.
- Watch a movie about the life of a widow. Some suggestions are: Water (2005), Black Widow (1987), and Passionada (2002).
- Read a book about the lives and struggles of widows. Some suggestions are: The Amish Widow’s Secret, A Widow’s Story, and The Writings and Later Wisdom Books.
- Use the hashtags #InternationalWidowsDay, #IWD and #WidowsDay on social media to help spread awareness of the holiday.
- Visit an old age or retirement home. Retirement homes are often home to many widows who receive no visits and little interaction with people outside of the homes. They will appreciate your visit.