International Widows Day celebrations are occurring throughout the global community in recognition of the plight of widows. The United Nations has ratified the 23rd of June as the official date of International Widows Day, encouraging various celebrations over the course of the month. Kenya began their events on Monday, June 10th and many other countries are continuing to observe this day of recognition. Kenya’s celebrations on 23 June included hosting the Minister of Gender, the creation of a Widows Fund, the creation of a Council for Widows, and treating the issue of widowhood as a new Human Rights issue. All of these actions were unprecedented. Banners decorated the event and the government donated 2000 t-shirts to the celebration. Days such as International Widows Day are meant to encourage action globally to end the neglect of widows.
This recognition is significant for both widows and the cause of widowhood as a whole. In the developing world there are an estimated 284 million widows; 115 million of whom live in abject poverty. Widows are often subjected to traumatic life events such as loss of property through acts of disinheritance, discrimination, and harmful traditional practices including sexual cleansing acts inciting violence and contributing the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Through acknowledging these struggles on an international day of recognition, the path for making effective change becomes clearer as the global community becomes increasingly aware.
Although a large scale issue, many global citizens live in darkness to the conditions that widows face. International Widows Day legitimizes the movement and provides methods of change through action. Governments are encouraged to protect widows and their children through implementing protective policies, including anti-discrimination laws and schooling for all children. International Widows Day accredits the cause as well as provides necessary awareness to the circumstances of widowhood.