Our Founder – Margaret Owen, OBE

Margaret Owen is a widely acclaimed and celebrated womens’ rights activist.

Margaret brings to Widows for Peace Through Democracy an astounding range of experience gleaned from an extraordinary career path. Born in 1932, the daughter of a solicitor and a doctor, Margaret studied law at Cambridge.

After qualifying as a barrister, Margaret also worked on television documentaries and has a degree in anthropology as well as a Diploma in Social Administration from LSE.

At every stage of her distinguished career Margaret has used her legal expertise and outstanding advocacy skills to benefit the most vulnerable worldwide. She has worked as a lawyer for the UK Immigrants Advisory Service; legally represented US Vietnam War draft avoiders; headed the Law and Policy division of the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF); been a founder member of GAPS-UK (Gender Action on Peace and Security), and monitored trials and elections in Turkey. Margaret is adviser on women and children’s rights to the KHRP (Kurdish Human Rights Project), as well as being a Patron of Peace in Kurdistan.

But it was only after the death of her husband in 1990 that Margaret learnt, while teaching judicial administration to Commonwealth magistrates and hosting a Malawian mother with her sick baby, of the horrifying plight of widows overseas -particularly in conflict and AIDS afflicted countries. This led her to found Widows for Peace Through Democracy, the first international organisation to comprehensively address human rights issues in the context of widowhood.

In 2013 Margaret received an O.B.E for her contribution to the advancement of women’s human rights, and particularly for her pioneering work on widows’ rights. She continues to be a regular participant at the UN Commission on the Status of Women and plays a key role in consulting on widowhood issues to the UN. In addition to her own publications, Margaret`s inspirational work has been celebrated in numerous articles and interviews, some of which are listed below.



Interviews, News and Biographies