Margaret Owen interview

“We must not see widows exclusively as victims; but recognise their roles in society and give them a voice. All religions, Islam included, remind us that widows should not be stigmatised.”
Margaret Owen OBE, Founder and President of Widows for Peace, marks International Widows Day 2022 with an empassioned interview on Voice of Islam radio.

Listen to the interview here:


Presenters from the studio, Faheem (on microphone) and Safeer.
Photo credit: Voice of Islam.

Voice of Islam is a digital radio station with listeners across the globe focusing on a variety of topics from contemporary, to cultural and current affairs through an Islamic lens – asking how today’s issues can be dealt with on a societal and individual level.

On International Widows Day (IWD), the Drive Time Show reached out to Widows for Peace through Democracy (WPD) to speak about the status of widows globally and how we can truly ensure their rights are safeguarded.

It is estimated there are 258 million widows worldwide (with more widows every moment this is a conservative ‘guesstimate’), many of whom are almost invisible in the sight of the world due to how they are perceived and treated in their communities.

The show aimed to enlighten the world on how a widow is a person in her own right with her own value away from some of the cultural norms and societal shortcomings that have crept in.

Islam teaches that: “The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah’s Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day.” (The Holy Prophet – peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Listeners of the radio station could not have missed Margaret’s powerful words highlighting the work WPD does to raise the status of widows so that they come out of the shadows, free in the knowledge they will no longer be ‘blamed’ or stigmatised.

The other presenter invited to join the show on IWD was Ms Lubna Chaudry from the Widows Empowerment Trust in Manchester. Working amongst grassroots widows she noted “Widows take themselves away from the social circle. They end up being alone. As a result, they risk getting anxiety and depression increases”. Marginalised widows here in the UK also are stigmatised for their widowhood and often keep of sight and remain in the shadows of society.

Leading up to the International Widows Day interview, WPD has been advocating this year for the following:

  • Help expedite implementation of Member States of UN GA Resolution on Widows, the CSW 66 Agreed Conclusions, UN Security Resolution 1325 and PSVI in the context of widowhood references;
  • Commission a special UN report on widowhood in the context of conflict and post/conflict settings;
  • Appoint a Under Secretary General at the UN on Widowhood;
  • Include the cross-cutting issues of widowhood on the Women, Peace & Security Agenda;
  • Ensure widows voices are properly heard – in order to do that funding is urgently needed to support grassroots widows organisations with specialist training and education , to facilitate sharing of best practices that achieve goals of widows empowerment and protection from GBV;
  • Demand widows be present at peace tables and decision making processes, such as, law reform;
  • CEDAW to develop a General Recommendation (GR) on Widows in response to our WPD Dossier, prepared as suggested by the CEDAW in 2018. WPD needs funding to press forward with these reforms. If you want to mark International Widows Day with an action, please donate here now: Alice Fookes WPD Trustee and Advocate June 2022.

WPD needs funding to press forward with these reforms. If you want to mark International Widows Day with an action, please donate here now.

Alice Fookes
WPD Trustee and Advocate
June 2022

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