Amanda Demechi-Asagba, President of AWLA, wishes all widows a Happy International Widows’ Day.

International Widows’ Day 2022

Here is wishing widows all over the world happy International Widows’ Day.

June 23 annually is a United Nations ratified day of action to address the “poverty and injustice faced by millions of widows and their dependents in many countries in the world.

This day is specially set apart to identify, recognise and acknowledge the
challenges widowhood bring with the goal of proffering solutions and extracting commitments for action to ameliorate the excruciating effects of widowhood.

As widows go through their individual experiences of grief, loss, or trauma after the death of a spouse, this is aggravated by economic insecurity, discrimination, stigmatization, and harmful traditional practices on the basis of their marital status. This is what we call “triple jeopardy ” likely to send one to the psychiatric home, nursing home or early grave

A husband’s death plunges a woman into a state of widowhood—enforced by cultural, social, or legal bonds—she cannot leave. Widows are treated as outcasts and stripped of their possessions, their land, and even their children and accused of witchcraft, marine spirit etc. They are seen as bad omen and avoided like a plague. However, this treatment and or stigmatization is not meted to Widowers – This is Gender Based Violence



Despite the fact that there are more than 258 million widows around the world, widows have historically been left unseen, unsupported, and unmeasured in our societies.

In achieving SDG 5 there is need to leave no one behind. We must be deliberate and intentional in getting widows to be seen, supported and measured. This is a clarion call on all to go the extra mile to extend a helping hand to Widow’s and their children.
Widowhood is not a disease nor is it infectious. It is part of life and living, a season of life. So be deliberate in helping widows and plan for the rainy days. Quit the old fashioned mentality of being a housewife, it is dangerous. Be a working, financially independent wife
and educate your girl child specially to be financially strong and Independent.
Don’t be caught with this unpleasant surprise of widowhood. Yes we must work and plan towards attaining gender parity.


Widowhood is a season of life that must be weathered. It’s not a disease nor an infectious disease. We must quit treating widows as a plague and or outcasts. Life happens and it can happen to anyone at any time. For the widow, be resolute to give your children the best by share determination, hardwork and focus, you’ll
weather the storm. Quit wallowing in self pity, it can only get you depressed. Move on in life and you’ll be glad you did. Tell your story to encourage others to avoid the pitfalls and to get help, come together and stand together for a formidable force for support and to effect change and get measured for policy making and planning. GET INVOLVED AND BE AT THE DECISION TABLE – be politically active.


As at June 2021 Statistics show that Nigeria has over eight million disadvantaged widows with over 21 million children. These statistics appear to be on the increase due to the prevalence of crisis, terminal ailments, crimes, religion, security challenges and politics

There are more than 258 million widows around the world

One in ten African women above the age of 14 is widowed, and six percent are divorced. Many more have been widowed or divorced at some point in their lives

Widows and widowers represent almost seven percent of the American population aged 18 and older (although approximately 5,000 widowed persons are under age 18


We have laws to protect Widow’s and their children,
The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act
Convention on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW )

MAPUTO Protocol

The Convention on Rights of Children (CRC)

These laws are there to protect women and children from discrimination and abuse. However, most widows are not aware of these laws and access to justice, thus despite these laws Widow’s and their children continue to experience one form of Injustice or the other.


We implore the government to go the extra mile for widows and their children in ensuring that indigent widows are given welfare support in the area of subsidised accommodation, education, medical care, feeding and job. A one stop shop for these interventions with adequate statistics to aid effective planning and policies. Take welfare to the widows doorstep. Leave no stone unturned to get to the WIDOW.


We at African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) are resolute to see an end to indignity to women and children. To this end we offer free legal services to indigent women and children and go the extra mile to protect and advance the cause of widows.



+234 903 740 4272

+234 810 099 6340

+234 913 500 0501

+234 803 331 4899

Toll free


Paper presented by
Amanda Demechi-Asagba
President AWLA
AAAF Widows’ Day Event
Held at UNIC
Ikoyi, Lagos

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