There are an estimated 350 million widows worldwide, collectively responsible for 540 million children, combined, they comprise approximately 13% of the world population. This data, however, is nearly a decade old and does not take into account the increase in armed conflict, nor the global health challenges of the Ebola epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. This lack of information and substantive research prevents the international community from adequately addressing the unique needs and the human rights challenges widows face in sustainable development programming and policymaking. As a result, widowed women constitute one of the most universally disadvantaged and impoverished demographics in the world.
While widowhood remains as one of the most neglected gender and human rights issues, there has been increasing momentum to address the rights violations and implications of widowhood, which links to not only to poverty, hunger, and health, but across the 2030 Agenda on education, decent work, child marriage, extremist recruitment, in addition to Women, Peace, and Security frameworks. The recognition of the issue by impactful actors in the international space has come to the fore within the UN General Assembly, with the Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone bringing a Resolution to the GA’s Third Committee in the 76th Session.
By bringing together gender experts across thematic agendas, this side event will encourage panelists and participants to reflect on the ways in which widows are present or could be incorporated in their own work, and provide recommendations on ways in which widowhood can be mainstreamed across the UN system and operationalized going forward.
The event is co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations and Global Fund for Widows.