INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS DAY

On International Widows Day June 23, 2018, Modern Widows Club took our camera to the streets in Orlando and asked citizens if they could pick out the widow from our photo board.  Participants were shocked and amazed by what they discovered. MWC strives to educate and advocate for the widows who are typically over-looked and under-served. Please join Modern Widows Club to bring awareness to International Widows Day. 

Download our International Widows Day Manifesto and help us bring more awareness for those that are over-looked and under-served.

MWC IWD Manifesto

HISTORY OF INTERNATIONAL WIDOWS DAY

To give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across different regions and cultures, the United Nations General Assembly made a decision to observe International Widows Day on 23 June annually through its resolution A/RES/65/189 adopted on December 21, 2010. The resolution was presented to the United Nations (U.N.) for consideration by Lord Raj Loomba of the Loomba Foundation. Not many states in the U.S. currently recognize the special day to honor widows, however, we are making it our mission to advocate for those who are usually overlooked and under-served.

Although academia research concerning widows is very limited, the UN estimates that there are approximately 258 million widows around the world. Generally, we think of a widow as an older woman who has been retired, has no kids living at home and who are living out their golden years alone. We are currently seeing a larger portion of younger widows emerging as illness, tragedy and military service has claimed both the young and old spouses… leaving the widows to single-parent young children.

Why International Widows Day Matters – 3 Questions

Why do we need an International Widows Day.

According to the 2015 World Widows Report, the U.S. has the 3rd largest group of widows with 14M, following China with 43M and India with 42M. In the U.S., 66% of widows are retired while 34% are young and employed in the workforce. The 2010 US Census Bureau report shows over 975K U.S. women become widowed every year. 

It will require looking at the ugly facts and stats. The efforts in serving to empower widows to thrive will take many dedicated spokes of the wheel to build traction. With grander wide-scale awareness and research, the results would be bolder education and greater outreach ensuring the widows of the future will experience a distinctly different reality than those of today.

What are the daily hardships of being a widow?

Military widows have the most available support services such as TAPS, Gold Star Wives and American Widow Project, yet they account for the a relatively small number of widows. These services are provided as long as the military widow needs them. Civilian widows must find social services for grief and financial assistance, like Social Security and public resources, usually non-profit organizations, scattered around the community. Most serve the widow and her family for maximum of 2 years. After that, there is little outreach available and yet, that is when the secondary losses (identity, finances, health, employment, security, etc.) become obvious.

What can those who aren’t widowed do to help the widowed community?

    1. Have self-compassion – you don’t have all the answers, nor do you need to.
    2. Imagine yourself in their shoes – be mindful of the painful experience and have the compassion you would want someone to show you.
    3. Mentally prepare yourself for a long-term conversation – It’s not a short-term quick fix. Widows need the love and support long after many have gone back to their normal routines.
    4. Find resources for widows – bring them the resources at the right moment, in an empathetic manner. When they are ready to move forward, they will utilize the services you have brought to their attention. Be patient and wait until THEY are ready. There is no timeline for “getting over” grief.
    5. Declare a commitment to BE THERE and not leave her. It speaks volumes to them to know you will remain steady and available, be there when they need you in both small and big ways.
    6. Educate yourself on secondary losses and try to find ways to love on the widow in those areas and find ways to serve these women better. Talk to places of worship and community organizations that may be able to help with those secondary losses losses. Many of those losses are not common knowledge and therefore, are overlooked.

Download our International Widows Day Manifesto and help us bring more awareness for those that are over-looked and under-served.

MWC IWD Manifesto

WHY IS JUNE 23rd SIGNIFICANT?

The story of The Loomba Foundation begins on 23 June 1954 when Jagiri Lal Loomba, a successful businessman from the small Punjabi town of Dhilwan in the far North of India, died after battling tuberculosis, which was, at the time, a widespread threat to public health. His wife Pushpa Wati—her name means ‘like a flower’ in Hindi—had to, at the age of 37, care for the family’s seven children.

In accordance with custom, Jagiri’s mother—a widow herself—that same day, ordered her daughter-in-law to remove all her jewelery, and never to wear brightly-colored clothing again. In an instant, Shrimati Pushpa Wati Loomba’s world had been shattered: she went from being blessed and happy to disconsolate and sorrowful.

The contrast had a profound impact on her 10-year old son. “I was too young to comprehend the situation,” Lord Loomba now recalls, “but gradually I saw that her life had totally changed. Before, she was a happy wife. Now, she was a distressed widow.” Over the years, Lord Loomba would discover that the family still had much to be thankful for. But that was of little comfort now, as he watched his mother’s despair.

READ MORE ON LORD LOOMBA

WORLD WIDOWS REPORT
LOOMBA FOUNDATION
UNITED NATIONS IWD PAGE