There are about 33 million widows in India, representing 8 per cent of the total female population (Census of India 1991). The proportion of widows in the female population rises sharply with age, reaching over 60 per cent among women aged sixty and above. Despite the concentration of widows in older age groups, there are still a large number of widows below fifty years of age. In spite of these numbers, relatively little is known about the actual living conditions of widows in India or what widows need and want. This article presents the voices of a cross-section of rural widows from nine states of India: over 550 widows who were interviewed during a recent field study and 25 widows who participated in a recent workshop. The first section contrasts the dominant images of widows with the everyday realities of widowhood. The second presents the expressed needs and demands of widows. A concluding section calls for a transformation of widowhood


Chen, Martha. “Listening to Widows in Rural India”. Women: A cultural review 83 (1997): , 8, 3, 311-318. Web.