International Widows Day is being observed across the globe today to address injustice faced by widows and their children.
The objective of the day is to recognize widows and their rights worldwide.
Ensure that widows are ‘not left out or left behind’, UN chief urges on International Day
In the “absence of social and legal protection”, he said in his message, “widowed women’s lifetime earnings and savings are often too little to avoid poverty”.
Even in countries with good pension coverage, “women are significantly more likely to suffer poverty in old age than men”, he continued, pointing out that “social services are particularly important for older widows who may live alone or have greater need for elderly care services”.
In many countries, widows do not have the same inheritance rights as their male counterparts, “meaning that they may be stripped of land, property and even rights and access to their own children”, according to the UN chief. “Even where laws do not discriminate, those rights need to be equally applied and enjoyed in practice”.
Moreover, in some societies, widows suffer marginalization, ill-treatment and violence, including sexual abuse, harassment and forced remarriage.
Mr. Guterres also shone a light on the vulneraries of widows in conflict and natural disaster, which are exacerbated through loss and displacement and weakened social and legal protections, stressing that “norms that are used to justify” these discriminatory practices must be tackled.
“On this international day, let us reaffirm our commitment to supporting all widows, regardless of age, location, or legal system” ensuring that they are “not left out or left behind”, concluded the Secretary-Gener