LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     13 October 2011

Plight of widowed,single and divorced women in india


'It’s not as simple as providing us with some cash'

A monthly pension of Rs 200 is all that a widow gets, while unmarried and divorced women are mostly deprived of government support. Being a single woman in India means being legally invisible, reveals a new report

New Delhi

In some villages, it is still considered inauspicious to see a widow first thing in the morning

A widow in Bihar gets Rs 200 as a monthly pension. In Gujarat and Rajasthan she would get Rs 500, in Jharkhand Rs 400 and in Himachal Pradesh Rs 330. For many women across India, this meagre amount, which is often irregular, is the only source of income.

Single women, broadly defined as unmarried, widowed, separated and legally divorced, are usually the most vulnerable section of society especially if they come from a low-income group. A recent report titled Are We Forgotten Women? released by the National Forum for Single Women's Rights looks at the challenges of being a single women in present-day India. The report that surveyed 386 respondents across six states—Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Rajasthan—was released here on Tuesday.

The survey sample was representative of all castes and communities in the region with the number of tribal Muslim and Dalit women surveyed being higher in the sample than their demographic proportion in the population of India.

Susheela, from Udaipur, Rajasthan, was widowed at 22. Rejected by her maternal family and her in-laws, she is now in her 60s and has stayed afloat doing odd jobs, tailoring and seeking help from NGOs. Susheela is a typical example of what happens to single women who don’t have the support of their families. " A widowed woman is suddenly left financially responsible for her children, often has to pay off her husband’s debts and to make things worse, she is stigmatised by her family,” said Susheela.

There are superstitions, for instance, that single women are witches and that they bring bad luck to the villages they live in—droughts, famines etc. In some villages, it is still considered inauspicious to see a widow first thing in the morning.

As the report outlines, the key challenges for single women invariably revolves around the following:

Housing: After separation/divorce/widowhood, women often don’t have a place to live in. Forty per cent of the widows surveyed lost access to their marital homes. Separated women who don’t have legal documents to prove their divorce have even fewer rights. Only 12.5 per cent availed government-housing schemes such as the Indira Awaas Tojana. Similarly, transfer of land ownership documents is almost impossible because women are never recognised as heads of families.

Social security or pension schemes: Such schemes only reached a quarter of the respondents. Divorced, unmarried and widowed women younger than 40 years of age are rarely taken into account for any social security schemes run by the government.

Maintenance and custody: Out of 23.4 per cent of the women who had applied for maintenance, 23.1 per cent received help. That makes only nine women out of all the women surveyed. The question of maintenance and custody also depends largely on the lack of knowledge about these schemes. Most single women seem to be unaware or lack the courage to claim their dues.

What makes economically weak single women especially vulnerable is obviously related to issues of stigma, s*xual exploitation and presumably lower levels of education. This makes it harder for them to become financially independent. As one journalist asked, why were these women complaining about the lack of government schemes instead of empowering themselves by developing cottage industries or finding jobs? The answer is not simple. Stepping out of their homes into a patriarchal society that considers them inauspicious and/or heretic and making a living is not an easy task. It is social and psychological realities that are subversive. Economics only plays a role when these can be overcome.

In Gujarat, for example, the Vidhva Sahay and Talim Yojna scheme is the only scheme of the kind benefiting widowed women between the ages of 18 and 40. Under the Manav Garima Yojna, which has schemes for widowed women, Rs 3000 is given on a monthly basis to women to develop livelihood skills. Additionally, women between ages 18 and 60 are given Rs 500 and Rs 80 per child for two children.

Hansa, 40, from Gujarat sums it up best. “So of course, we work. We set up a cottage industry. But we need to market our products in markets that will buy it. An industry needs many workers for it to be viable. It’s not as simple as providing us with some cash,” she said.


 7 Replies


When this half blind authors and researchers will start seeing plight of divorced, single or widowed husband? - whose plight starts from the day the Ex wife starts to have fund.


Wife who go for divorce - gets child, maintenance and social sysmpathy? What about men on other side?

1 Like

Nadeem Qureshi (Advocate/     13 October 2011

very well said

Nadeem Qureshi (Advocate/     13 October 2011

very well said

Aishwarya (Teacher)     13 October 2011

this post is going over facebook..i read it feeling so so ill now all cold , crying....cant help to share it here..some may know  but some may sorry but i read roshnis post then i read this too on facebook....

a single women..

if u google her name u will find pictures of her torture....

..God Why my friend had to post this ..

Junko Furuta. The girl who went through 44 days of torture.

DAY 1: November 22, 1988: Kidnapped
Kept captive in house, and posed as one of boy’s girlfriend
Raped (over 400 times in total)
Forced to call her parents and tell them she had run away
Starved and malnutritioned
Fed cockroaches to eat and urine to drink
Forced to masturbate
Forced to strip in front of others
Burned with cigarette lighters
Foreign objects inserted into her v**gina/anus

DAY 11: December 1, 1988: Severely beat up countless times
Face held against concrete ground and jumped on
Hands tied to ceiling and body used as a punching bag
Nose filled with so much blood that she can only breath through her mouth
Dumbbells dropped onto her stomach
Vomited when tried to drink water (her stomach couldn’t accept it)
Tried to escape and punished by cigarette burning on arms
Flammable liquid poured on her feet and legs, then lit on fire
Bottle inserted into her anus, causing injury

DAY 20: December10, 1989: Unable to walk properly due to severe leg burns
Beat with bamboo sticks
Fireworks inserted into anus and lit
Hands smashed by weights and fingernails cracked
Beaten with golf club
Cigarettes inserted into v**gina
Beaten with iron rods repeatedly
Winter; forced outside to sleep in balcony
Skewers of grilled chicken inserted into her v**gina and anus, causing bleeding

DAY 30: Hot wax dripped onto face
Eyelids burned by cigarette lighter
Stabbed with sewing needles in chest area
Left nipple cut and destroyed with pliers
Hot light bulb inserted into her v**gina
Heavy bleeding from v**gina due to scissors insertion
Unable to urinate properly
Injuries were so severe that it took over an hour for her to crawl downstairs and use the bathroom
Eardrums severely damaged
Extreme reduced brain size

DAY 40: Begged her torturers to “kill her and get it over with”

January 1, 1989: Junko greets the New Years Day alone
Body mutilated
Unable to move from the ground

DAY 44: January 4, 1989: The four boys beat her mutilated body with an iron barbell, using a loss at the game of Mah-jongg as a pretext. She is profusely bleeding from her mouth and nose. They put a candle’s flame to her face and eyes.

Then, lighter fluid was poured onto her legs, arms, face and stomach, and then lit on fire. This final torture lasted for a time of two hours.

Junko Furuta died later that day, in pain and alone. Nothing could compare 44 days of suffering she had to go through.

When her mother heard the news and details of what had happened to her daughter, she fainted. She had to undergo a psychiatric outpatient treatment . Imagine her endless pain.

Her killers are now free men. Justice was never served, not even after 20 years.
They deserve a punishment much greater than they had put upon Furuta, for putting an innocent girl through the most unbearable suffering.

This story from 1989 is true. Please spread her story around. Everyone should know about the existence of Junko Furuta’s unimaginable and incomprehensible suffering, and this is why this group has been made.

Invite your friends. Never let her story be forgotten. If this story changes the life of at least one person then it has been worth it.

Rest In Eternal Peace,
Junko Furuta


can such people exist..? Am sorry for sharing this..but its like sharing the pain now..God

2 Like

Roshni B.. (For justice and dignity)     13 October 2011


  Wife who go for divorce - gets child, maintenance and social sysmpathy? What about men on other side? "



@ only false


you ought to read this news again to know how easy it is to get child support,sympathy or maintenance in india.


if one manages to get these amply,it's by way of excellent lawyers,which not all women encouinter.


We are discussing plight of poor women..


if u want to highlight plight of divorced men,u are free to start a new thread on one stops u.


unfortunately u sound somethin g like this......that becoz some separated men also suffer,so we have no right to talk about the plight of suffereing women.this is absurd reaction from you..


it's high time u identify urself as a crusader for human rights,instead of talking only in relation to men

1 Like

Aishwarya (Teacher)     14 October 2011

roshni de 

after redin tht5 wre u able to sleep..? i still cant get over tht..u knw i get such horrible events to hear evn frm skul kids as thy live in slums. all r minor girls..

i dnt knw wht ive to9 ak or say but i hope u can make out how one may feel abt such thngs..


In case of Widow women : It's a case of destiny.

About single women: It's a matter of her aims in life or she must be a sufferer of financial things (Like her parents unable to meet demands of some greedy persons)

About divorced women:  These type of women mostly financially strong, But after some time even their family members neglect them or any of their cloase friends/ relatives. In most of the cases they searching another "Bali kaa BAKRA". In some cases, They are victims too.  But i salute those womens, Who after divorced wants to take care off her childs, If any from her wedlock.


If we talked about husband in these cases:

If husband is widowed: Then he had a easy option to go for second marriage. But it reacts the life of his child if any from previous one.

If he is Single: He able to live his life happily, But in his middle age he too needs a faithfull partner. But a word of caution to all, Never disclose all your facts to your wife at any case.

If he is divorced: If he lost the good partner due to divorce, Then he has a bad luck.  and if he get rid from a bad partner in a minimum possible time, Then he is most lucky one in the world.


But overall, In above of the both cases of man & women, Life is difficult in most of the times.

So be ready to live life in every aspects & situation.

There are more other things to do in humans life irrespect of married life.

Do some great & achievable jobs in your life, As many un-married mans or womens made a landmark in his life. If we go thru the past or in history.

So try to live life as a good human first and respect your elders & younger ones too.



Abhinatre Gupt.

Leave a reply

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register  

Related Threads


Popular Discussion

view more »

Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query