International Widows' Day

Quick Facts - GB

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2024 Date23 June 2024
2025 Date23 June 2025

International Widows' Day

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International Widows' Day History

International Widows' Day is an observance dedicated to raising awareness of the hardships that widows face and promoting measures to alleviate their suffering. This day serves as a reminder of the challenges that millions of women face worldwide due to the loss of their husbands. It seeks to raise awareness and spur action towards empowering these women who often suffer from lack of access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.

International Widows' Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2010 in response to initiatives by non-governmental organizations that aimed to draw attention to the plight of widows. In the United Kingdom, there are an estimated 676,000 widows, with around 70% being over the age of 65. With age, widows may also experience physical and emotional challenges, such as loneliness, depression, and financial difficulties. Many widows also face legal challenges, such as inheritance laws, property rights, and pensions.

In the United Kingdom, International Widows' Day is observed through events and initiatives by charities and civil society organizations. These activities aim to raise awareness of the struggles that widows face and promote support for these women. International Widows' Day is observed on the 23rd of June in the United Kingdom. This day provides an opportunity to come together to support and empower widows in the United Kingdom and around the world.

Facts about International Widows' Day

  • In some countries, widows are forced to take part in rituals, such as drinking the water used to wash the body of their dead husband or have sex with an in-law or stranger.
  • 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.
  • According to a study by the UK's Department of Work and Pensions, the median age of widowhood for women is 59.5 years, while for men, it is 65.5 years.
  • To support widows, the UK government offers several bereavement benefits, such as the Widowed Parent's Allowance, Bereavement Support Payment, and Bereavement Allowance.

Top things to do in the UK for International Widows' Day

  • 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.
  • Use the hashtags #InternationalWidowsDay, #IWD and #WidowsDay on social media to help spread awareness of the holiday.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about widowhood in the United Kingdom. Here are our suggestions:
    1. Widows: The Forgotten Victims (2015) - A BBC documentary that highlights the stories and challenges faced by widows in the UK.
    2. The Battle for Britain's Widows (2009) - Another BBC documentary that investigates the struggles faced by widows in the UK, particularly those dealing with the legacy of the First World War.
    3. The Wives Left Behind: When The Fishing Boat Sinks (2009) - A Channel 4 documentary that shares the heartbreaking experiences of the wives and widows of fishermen who have lost their lives at sea.
  • Read a book to learn about the experience of widowhood in the United Kingdom. Here are our top picks:
    1. Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War by Virginia Nicholson
    2. Independence And Involvement: The aims and activities of war widows in English society after Waterloo by Hera Cook
    3. The Widows' and Dependants' Pensions: A Practical Guide to the New Scheme by Robert H. Kislingbury

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