A World of Widows provides a global overview of the status for widowhood. Neglected by social policy researches, international human rights activists and the women's movement, the status of the world's widows - legal, social, cultural, and economic - is an urgent issue given the extent and the severity of the discrimination against them. Margaret Own explores the process of becoming a widow; poverty and social security in the context of widowhood; differing laws and customs regarding widow's inheritance; the situation of widows who remarry and issues of sexuality and health. She also looks at the needs of specific groups of widows - refugees, older widows, child widows - and widowhood in the context of AIDS. Throughout, she shows the prevalence of discrimination against widows in inheritance rights, land ownership, custody of children, security of home and shelter, nutrition and health. The book concludes with a summary of widowhood as a human rights issues and an overview of widows themselves organising for change.