For information only - not an official document

21 June 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

Message on International Widows' Day

23 June 2016

VIENNA, 23 June (UN Information Service) - There are some 245 million widows around the world, and nearly half are living in poverty. Widows are often stigmatized by their families and communities. Many suffer discrimination based on age and gender and have lived lives marked by physical and sexual abuse.

Older widows often have few economic assets, after a lifetime of hard but unpaid work. Even in developed countries, the value of women's pensions can be some 40 per cent lower than men's.

Younger widows face other challenges, as heads of households with childcare responsibilities and very limited economic opportunities.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with its pledge to leave no one behind has a particular resonance for widows, who are among the most marginalized and isolated.

On International Widows' Day, let us pledge to make widows more visible in our societies, and to support them in living productive, equal and fulfilling lives.

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