International Widows' Day

A BLOG POST BY BARONESS GOUDIEIvorian widows run a small restaurant in Yopougon, Côte d'Ivoire. UN Photo / Eric Kanalstein On the 23rd of June we celebrated the first United Nations International Widows' Day.  The commemoration of International Women’s Day has been marked as a day that we salute the achievements of women all over the world who have suffered the great loss of losing their husbands but have stood up in that adversity and continued to care for their children and attempt to balance a work and home life.

These incredibly strong women need our support. Gender equality advocates, like myself, help to raise the voice of International Women’s Day and make sure that steps are taken to help empower widow’s. These voices are an integral part of all of our efforts to advance gender equality.

When the subject of International Widows Day was brought up in the House of Lords, I noted that the Government were not planning a specific event on the occasion, which highlights the fact that more support is needed on this issue.

During the discussion, I brought forward the notion that if we had more women on the peace table in post-conflict times, then widows would be taken better care of. At present, it is men on both sides, who say that they don’t want women involved in these delicate matters.  However if more women had a seat at the table, we would be able to ensure that women and widows in post-conflict areas, would have schools for their children, proper medical aid and the chance of getting work through investment into those countries.

At present, attention to widows in post-conflict resolution is an exception and rarely the rule. It is therefore important that our representatives at the UN and in post-conflict areas start listening to a wider selection of voices and consider all giving more seats to women in these high tension situations.

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