© Amy Toensing

Widowhood implies more than losing your life partner. Property rights, the right to remarry, and the rights of your children are all dependent on national laws. But, what’s more, cultural taboos also heavily dictate opportunities for widows. In her project ‘Widowhood’, independent photojournalist Amy Toensing exposes what the social position means for women living in Uganda, Bosnia and India. In all case studies, Toensing found a long tunnel with a faint light at the end.

In India, for example, she saw that widows are ostracized and expected to mourn indefinitely. But efforts are being made to lift the stigma, if only with ceremonial gestures like allowing widows to participate in holidays; something they could have never dreamed of a decade ago. In Uganda, tradition has led to widows’ homes being raided by family members within days of their husband’s passing. Currently though, real efforts are being made to enforce laws which firmly protect widows rights. Toensing’s project shows that while there is much work to be done in defending widows’ dignity, first steps are being made…