Make widows "more visible" says UN chief

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Ivorian widows run a small restaurant in Yopougon with the help of the non-governmental organization, Les Compagnes de Ruth. UN Photo/Ky Chung

Greater efforts are needed to make sure that widows are "more visible" in society.

That's the message from the UN chief to mark International Widows' Day celebrated annually on 23 June.

In some cultures women whose partners have died are often the most marginalized and isolated.

Deganit Perez reports.

The UN says that almost half the world's 259 million widows are living in poverty and that they have very limited economic opportunities.

In developed countries, the value of women's pensions can be some 40 per cent lower than men's.

In a statement on International Widows' Day, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that widows are often stigmatized by their families and communities.

He added that many suffer discrimination based on age and gender. Others have lived lives marked by "physical and sexual abuse."

The UN General Assembly established International Widows' Day in 2010 to give special recognition to the situation of widows of all ages and across regions and cultures.

Deganit Perez, United nations

Duration: 45″

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