UN Women has called for social and economic reforms addressing the rights of global 258 million widows.

The world marks International Widows Day today, June 23, with a special focus on “Sustainable Solutions for Widows Financial Independence”.

Studies have shown widowhood is strongly associated with numerous deprivations, including relative poverty, poor nutritional status, poor health, quality of life, depression and conflict.

The UN agency says the war in Ukraine has left behind a tragic cohort of widows as an estimated 90 per cent of the 14 million people forced to leave their homes are women and children.

“Around the world, cultural practices and legal barriers can mean that widows are cut off from pensions and unable to inherit money or property,” it notes in its statement.

It says challenges facing the widows ought to be addressed lest the world fails to attain Sustainable Development Goals.

It recommends countries to invest in gender-responsive public services and universal social protection schemes taking into account the special needs of the widows.

UN Women also notes the need for having quality data on widows to inform respective policies.

“We must also work to collect quality data on widows’ lives, to track progress and create accountability, and ensure that women have access to full and meaningful participation as well as leadership roles.”

Full reporting by Daily Nation (Kenya).

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