According to the United Nations, “There are an estimated 258 million widows around the world, and nearly one in ten live in extreme poverty.” To bring awareness about the struggles faced by widowed women around the world, June 23rd is marked as International Widows Day. It is essential to discuss this issue as it is an uncontrollable one and the only solution to this is to empower women to be independent.
What is International Widows Day, and Why is it important to Discuss it?
A widow is someone who has lost their husband. The word widow is derived from an Indo-European word that means “be empty.” This is because it describes how the person feels after losing their significant other.
It is important to discuss this because many women around the world are shunned by society if they are widowed, even though it is not in their control. Despite the devastating feeling the person goes through, there are several other societal stigmas that make them feel worse with their outdated “rules” a widow needs to follow. They become emotionally drained and make it impossible to bounce back to normal. They would face even more issues if their husband were the sole bread earner of the family. It puts them in a difficult position in both financial and emotional ways. That’s why 23rd June marked as International Widows Day for these widows.
What are the Problems Faced by Widowed Women?
As already mentioned, many women have to go through a lot of unrealistic and outdated rules by society. Women who are solely dependent on their husbands to support the family financially may struggle fiscally, mainly if the women belonged to a family with lower economic status. In some regions, women are not allowed to inherit the property that the husband was an heir to.
Women who belong to remote areas often do not have a bank account; hence they do not have the option of gaining pension from the government or even have insurance to take care of her and her family. In a situation where a husband passes away, it immediately looks as if the wife brought in “bad luck “in the family, which in turn is the reason for the demise of her spouse. As soon as a woman is widowed, and is expected to give up dressing in bright or dazzling colors. This curbs her individuality and puts more stress on her. We need to learn to be sensitive and understanding towards them that they have just lost their significant other, and it is not the time to impose any kind of regulations on them.
The Current Scenario:
In the past two years, many precious lives were lost due to the pandemic, and Millions of people have lost their loved ones. In times like these, economically backward women face a lot of issues, and there are no new job opportunities for them to take up, nor do they have the facility to keep themselves safe amid the pandemic. The mental health of these women is also affected a lot because they may feel lonely, and it is not even possible for them to step outside to escape from the pain they are going through.
How to Support them?
If a woman you know has recently lost their partner then, talk with them and help with small things like taking care of some household work, or if they are willing to share, then support them emotionally and help them overcome the loss. It is impossible to subdue the pain, but give them the time to heal. If your house help or someone of lower fiscal status has faced such a loss, then try to support financially too.
It is high time that we stop the stigmatization around widows and start treating them just like how we would treat anyone else. On this International Widows Day, let us break the taboo and be supportive of them. They are already enduring a great irreplaceable loss.
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