June 23rd had been designated as International Widows Day by the United Nations back in 2010. International Widows Day is a worldwide observation that takes place each year on the 23rd day of June to increase awareness of the onslaught of problematic issues that many widows tend to experience in various countries around the world after their husbands die.
Widows in the United States and in other countries around the world often face a number of traumatizing challenges in regards to to their health statuses, finances, social situations and personal safety. Therefore, it is time to bring the plights associated with widowhood into the spotlight on a worldwide scale. After all, knowledge is power. The more people know, the more they can potentially help.
Some widows end up living in abject poverty soon after their husbands have died. Poverty has a profound impact on a widow’s health status. According to the World Health Organization (2019), poverty creates poor health since it forces people to live in squalid environments that make them sick, without decent shelter, clean water or sufficiently adequate sanitation.
In certain countries with more traditional societies, widows may be denied the rights to inheritance of marital assets such as money and land. All too frequently, widows and their children are forced out of their marital homes, shunned, stigmatized and subjected to acts of personal violence such as sexual assault and battery. Widows need to be empowered instead of marginalized.
The overarching point of International Widows Day is to initiate positive changes that will lead to full rights in widowhood, more research, elimination of violence, minimization of discriminatory practices and reduced levels of poverty inflicted upon widows and their families. Another goal of International Widows Day is to formulate widespread policies that substantively deal with the negative issues suffered by widows.
World Health Organization. (2019). Poverty and health. Retrieved June 23, 2019, from https://www.who.int/hdp/poverty/en/