DEFINITION

A woman who has lost her spouse by death and has not remarried. [1]

 

FACTS

  • In Afghanistan there are two million widows nationwide which includes 500,000 who live in the capital of Kabul.[2]

  • Due to cultural restrictions and woman's ability to work and travel outside the home they face lives of grinding poverty and isolation.[2]

  • UN estimates show that 85% of women in Afghanistan are illiterate.[3]

  • Men are the main breadwinners of their families. So when a husband dies, women struggle to find food and raise children. In Afghanistan the law permits the husband’s family to assume custody of the children if the widow remarries outside his family so most widows choose not to remarry.[3]

  • There are more than 245 million widows worldwide; 115 million of these widows live in extreme poverty. [4]

  • According to the report, the countries with the highest number of widows in 2010 were China with 43 million, Indian with 42.4 million, the United states with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 Million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with 4.7 million each. [4]

  • Over 500 million dependent and adult children of widows are caught in a vicious underworld in which disease, forced servitude, homelessness and violence are rampant and youngsters are denied schooling, enslaved or prayed upon by human traffickers. [4]

  • In the world 1.5 million widows' children die before their fifth birthday. [5]