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Why the world observes 'International Widows Day'? - Answers

Questions answered : 962||Last updated on : September 24th, 2018 At 09:30am (ET)

Why the world observes ‘International Widows Day’?

World map depicting Widow population

It might be the 21st century, which is globalized and has an open-mind, but there are many underdeveloped or developing countries where extreme deprivation is faced by widows. In some nations, these women are rendered helpless, as they face issues like denial of land and inheritance rights. While struggling with poverty, they are forced to spend their lives in segregations, harassment, and extortion. They are invisible in the eyes of public, and even their children are pushed into child labor, prostitution etc.

The only ray of hope is the work done by numerous non-governmental organizations and researchers who focus on the issue, and with the help of the United Nations aim to eliminate the inhuman practices. Loomba Foundation seeks to address this deprivation, and raised the issue enough that the world now observes International Widows Day on June 23rd, to raise awareness and help widows attain their full rights.

Report released by them in year 2015 stated that around 38,261,345 million widows, that accounts for 14.8% of all widows, live in extreme poverty where basic needs are not met. Widows in India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and in sub-Saharan African regions, are often accused of being the cause for the death of their spouse. It is suggested that negligence and insufficient care is the reasons for the death of their husbands. Moreover, the old religious myths are still believed and supernatural factors are linked to put the blame on the women. In Angola, Botswana, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and numerous other African regions, widows are forcefully evicted from the homes by the family members of the husband.

In the developed countries like the United States of America, women who have low educational qualifications face economic insecurity as good income jobs for lesser skilled workers are not available. This leads to massive impact on childcare, for the families are usually depended on two incomes.

Here is the percentage of global widow population who have a maritable age, as per 2015 census of Loomba Foundation: 

Country Age Range Percentage of widows (2015) Year used in 2015 LF report
Afghanistan 10+ 21.3% 2007
Ukraine 15+ 19.2% 2001
Belarus 15+ 18.4% 2009
Lesotho 10+ 18.3% 2006
Bosnia-Herzegovina 15+ 18.2% 2011
Bulgaria 15+ 18.2% 2011
Croatia 15+ 18.2% 2011
Lithuania 15+ 18.2% 2011
Hungary 15+ 18.1% 2011
Russia 15+ 17.8% 2010
Serbia 15+ 17.5% 2011
Georgia 15+ 17.3% 2002
Latvia 15+ 16.2% 2011
Korea, North 15+ 15.6% 2008
Moldova 15+ 15.6% 2004
Poland 15+ 15.6% 2011
Romania 15+ 15.6% 2011
Estonia 15+ 15.3% 2011
Montenegro 15+ 15.1% 2011
Greece 15+ 14.7% 2011
Comoros 18+ 14.3% 2003
Italy 15+ 14.3% 2011
Mauritius 15+ 13.9% 2011
Armenia 15+ 13.9% 2011
Slovakia 15+ 13.8% 2011
Japan 15+ 13.7% 2010
Czech Republic 15+ 13.6% 2011
Slovenia 15+ 13.5% 2011
Germany 15+ 13.2% 2011
Portugal 15+ 13.2% 2011
Zimbabwe 15+ 12.9% 2012
Korea, South 15+ 12.9% 2005
Austria 15+ 12.9% 2011
Finland 15+ 12.8% 2011
Kazakhstan 15+ 12.7% 2009
Chad 18+ 12.4% 2003
France 15+ 12.2% 2010
Belgium 15+ 12.1% 2011
Spain 15+ 12.0% 2011
Djibouti 10+ 11.7% 2002
Kenya 18+ 11.6% 2003
Turkmenistan 15+ 11.3% 1989
Uruguay 12+ 11.3% 2011
Myanmar 15+ 11.2% 1991
Tuvalu 15+ 11.2% 2002
Uzbekistan 15+ 11.1% 1989
Rwanda 12+ 10.9% 2012
Kyrgyzstan 15+ 10.8% 2009
Egypt 16+ 10.7% 2006
Azerbaijan 15+ 10.7% 2009
Luxembourg 15+ 10.7% 2011
Vietnam 15+ 10.6% 2009
Turkey 15+ 10.6% 2011
Macedonia 15+ 10.5% 2002
United Kingdom 16+ 10.5% 2011
Thailand 13+ 10.3% 2010
Cote d’Ivoire 18+ 10.2% 2003
Morocco 15+ 10.1% 2004
Argentina 14+ 10.0% 2010
Mongolia 15+ 9.9% 2000
Lebanon 15+ 9.8% 2007
Denmark 15+ 9.8% 2011
Netherlands 15+ 9.8% 2011
Palau 15+ 9.7% 2005
Switzerland 15+ 9.7% 2011
United States of America 18+ 9.6% 2010
Malta 15+ 9.6% 2011
Kiribati 15+ 9.4% 2010
Burkina Faso 12+ 9.3% 2006
Norway 15+ 9.3% 2011
Sweden 15+ 9.3% 2011
Indonesia 10+ 9.2% 2010
Canada 15+ 9.2% 2011
India 10+ 9.1% 2011
Fiji 15+ 9.0% 2007
Timor-Leste 15+ 9.0% 2010
Samoa 15+ 8.9% 2011
Iran 10+ 8.8% 2011
Taiwan 15+ 8.7% 2010
Liechtenstein 15+ 8.7% 2010
Angola 10+ 8.5% 2010
Democratic Republic of the Congo 10+ 8.5% 2010
Eritrea 10+ 8.5% 2010
Guinea 10+ 8.5% 2010
Guinea-Bissau 10+ 8.5% 2010
Australia 15+ 8.5% 2011
New Zealand 15+ 8.5% 2006
Israel 15+ 8.5% 2008
Tunisia 15+ 8.5% 2004
Mozambique 12+ 8.4% 2007
Togo 10+ 8.4% 2010
Zambia 12+ 8.4% 2000
Singapore 15+ 8.4% 2010
Cameroon 12+ 8.3% 2005
Cambodia 15+ 8.3% 2008
Iraq 12+ 8.3% 1997
Tajikistan 15+ 8.2% 2010
Albania 15+ 8.2% 2011
Cyprus 15+ 8.2% 2011
Burundi 10+ 8.1% 2008
Ghana 12+ 8.1% 2010
Chile 15+ 8.1% 2002
Ireland 15+ 8.1% 2011
Gabon 10+ 8.0% 1993
China 15+ 8.0% 2010
Tongo 15+ 8.0% 2011
Trinidad & Tobago 14+ 8.0% 2011
Sierra Leone 10+ 7.9% 2004
Laos 15+ 7.9% 2005
Malawi 10+ 7.8% 2008
Mauritania 15+ 7.8% 1991
Brazil 10+ 7.8% 2010
Micronesia 15+ 7.7% 2000
Philippines 15+ 7.7% 2010
Central African Republic 10+ 7.6% 1988
Cuba 10+ 7.3% 2012
Guyana 15+ 7.3% 2002
Ethiopia 10+ 7.2% 2007
Malaysia 15+ 7.2% 2010
Papua New Guinea 15+ 7.2% 2010
Algeria 15+ 7.0% 2008
Uganda 15+ 6.9% 2002
Dominican Republic 15+ 6.9% 2010
Republic of the Congo 18+ 6.8% 2003
Nauru 15+ 6.8% 2011
Dominica 15+ 6.8% 2001
Botswana 15+ 6.7% 2011
South Africa 10+ 6.7% 1996
Bahrain 15+ 6.7% 2010
Oman 15+ 6.7% 2003
Niger 10+ 6.6% 2001
Libya 15+ 6.6% 2006
Sri Lanka 15+ 6.6% 2012
Mexico 12+ 6.6% 2010
Bangladesh 10+ 6.5% 2011
Barbados 15+ 6.5% 2010
El Salvador 10+ 6.5% 2007
Suriname 15+ 6.5% 2012
Benin 10+ 6.4% 2013
Solomon 15+ 6.4% 2009
Columbia 10+ 6.4% 2005
Jordan 15+ 6.3% 2004
Kuwait 15+ 6.3% 2011
Yemen 15+ 6.3% 2004
Grenada 15+ 6.3% 2001
Qatar 15+ 6.2% 2010
United Arab Emirates 15+ 6.2% 2005
Haiti 15+ 6.2% 1996/2006
Syria 15+ 6.1% 2009
Bolivia 15+ 6.1% 2012
Namibia 15+ 6.0% 2011
Saudi Arabia 15+ 6.0% 2007
Liberia 10+ 5.9% 2008
Bahamas 15+ 5.9% 2010
Equatorial Guinea 10+ 5.8% 2002
Seychelles 15+ 5.8% 2010
Pakistan 10+ 5.7% 2007
Jamaica 16+ 5.7% 2011
Guatemala 12+ 5.7% 2002
Ecuador 12+ 5.7% 2010
Peru 12+ 5.7% 2007
Madagascar 10+ 5.6% 1993
Mali 12+ 5.6% 2009
Panama 15+ 5.6% 2010
Venezuela 15+ 5.6% 2011
Palestine 12+ 5.5% 2007
Nicaragua 12+ 5.5% 2005
Sudan 12+ 5.3% 2008
Iceland 15+ 5.3% 2012
Bhutan 10+ 5.2% 2005
St. Lucia 15+ 5.2% 2010
Antigua and Barbuda 15+ 5.1% 2001
Costa Rica 12+ 5.1% 2011
South Sudan 12+ 5.0% 2008
St. Vincent & Grenadines 15+ 4.9% 2001
Honduras 12+ 4.7% 2001
Senegal 10+ 4.6% 2002
Nepal 10+ 4.6% 2011
Vanuatu 15+ 4.5% 2009
Belize 15+ 4.5% 2010
Brunei Darussalam 15+ 4.4% 2001
Paraguay 10+ 4.4% 2002
Somalia 10+ 4.2% 2002
Tanzania 15+ 4.2% 2012
Marshall Islands 15+ 4.2% 1999
Cape Verde 12+ 4.0% 2010
Swaziland 12+ 4.0% 2007
Gambia 10+ 3.5% 2013
Nigeria 10+ 3.5% 2006
Maldives 15+ 1.7% 2006
Sao Tome and Principe 12+ 0.8% 2012

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