New York, NY – March 15, 2022 — The text was adopted by consensus, paving the way for increased attention to their human rights violations and highlighting their important contributions to peacebuilding and local economies.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 “Addressing the situation of widows”, the first ever United Nations resolution on widowhood. The resolution, originally proposed by Sierra Leone, was co-sponsored by the Group of African States. , Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.

In some parts of the world, widows experience human rights violations and harmful practices such as disinheritance and institutional discrimination that limit their ability to access justice, decent work and social protections. Some widows also endure harmful degrading practices such as levirate – forced remarriage to a brother-in-law – and other forms of emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

This resolution aims to provide Member States with specific and concrete measures to raise awareness, mainstream, legitimize and protect the rights of widows within the United Nations system and in their countries, and includes calls for better data collection, registration of all marriages in order to provide women with legal and social protection in the event of widowhood, to condemn and prevent violence suffered by widows, among other components directly linked to the advancement of women and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (ODD).

The text also envisions widows as powerful actors in communities and countries, recognizing their economic contributions and their need for financial inclusion and calling for their full, equal and meaningful participation in discussions on peacebuilding and recovery, an initiative that will strengthen inclusiveness and equity within societies to build lasting and sustainable peace.

About the Global Widows Fund:

GLOBAL WIDOWS FUND (GFW) is the world’s largest international nonprofit organization dedicated to the economic empowerment of widows and is a New York-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We dedicate our work to financial inclusion programs for widows in Africa, the Middle East and India, as well as their children through our financial inclusion programs. Additionally, GFW also advocates for public policy, leveraging its success on the ground to mainstream widowhood as a human rights issue at the United Nations and in countries of operations.

Our microbanks, otherwise known as WISALA (Widows’ Savings and Loan Associations), have been extremely well received by both sovereign governments and the women and families they support. To date, we have enrolled over 20,000 widows in our program.

Global Widows Fund
Marijke Kremin
[email protected]