International Widows' Day

Quick Facts - US

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2024 DateJune 23, 2024
2025 DateJune 23, 2025

International Widows' Day

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International Widows' Day History

International Widows' Day seeks to raise global awareness of the unique vulnerabilities and injustices faced by widows across the world, as well as to promote their rights and empowerment. Established by the United Nations, this special day aims to encourage social and economic opportunities for widows and to combat discrimination, poverty, and violence that they often encounter. The observance is aligned with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to ending poverty and promoting gender equality.

The origins of International Widows' Day can be traced back to the work of the Loomba Foundation, which launched the initiative in 2005 in the United Kingdom. In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted the observance and designated June 23rd as the annual day of recognition. In America, this day serves as an opportunity for citizens and organizations alike to recognize the unique challenges faced by widows and to address these issues both at home and abroad. It is crucial for Americans to actively engage in advocacy and support initiatives that aim to secure the rights and welfare of widows around the world.

International Widows' Day in America is marked by various events and activities designed to raise awareness of the plight of widows. These may include conferences, workshops, and campaigns organized by non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and government agencies. Participants in these events aim to create dialogue, promote understanding, and find concrete solutions to the issues faced by widows worldwide. Though the challenges faced by American widows may differ from those of their global counterparts, International Widows' Day provides a platform for solidarity, empathy, and collective action in support of this often marginalized group. International Widows' Day is observed annually on June 23rd.

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 InCharge, In 2021, the U.S. Census reported more than 11.6 widows with the median age being just under 60.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Top things to do in the US 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 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.
  • 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.

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