Today the world is celebrating International Women’s Day; championing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world.
The means of celebration vary across the globe. Some women receive gifts from their partners, similar to Valentine’s Day. Others use it as a protest push to fight injustices against women.
U.K. and Ireland
Hundreds of women from across Scotland will come together to celebrate at the Scottish Parliament. The theme of this year’s event is “Empowering Women” and it will include a number of inspirational speakers, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Other speakers include Agnes Tolmie, chair of the Scottish Women’s Convention and Veronica Fernandez Mendez from UNI Global Union.
London hosted a women’s march on Sunday that was attended by the mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Irish Women will mark the day with a strike in protest against the eight amendment of the Irish Constitution which bans abortion. The Irish movement draws its inspiration from protests in Poland, where women take to the streets in huge numbers to successfully prevent their government from passing harsh abortion laws last year.
A march for the One Billion Rising campaign, supported by 30 women’s groups in India, is set to take place in the capital New Delhi. Spurred into action by gang rape and murder of student Jyoti Singh in 2012, advocates have been making strides in India to beat back the culture of violence against women and help victims find justice.
Women in Italy will enjoy free entry to all of the country’s museums and cultural sites, with exhibitions featuring female art that “celebrate the feminine world”.
Women’s rights groups have planned a march from central Jakarta to the presidential palace. On Saturday, another march saw hundreds of women dress in blood-stained clothes to highlight issues surrounding sexual abuse and violence.
According to a Chinese law, women are entitled to a half-day off today. Chinese feminist Li Maizi, who was detained for over a month two years ago after she and four other young activists tried to hand out stickers about sexual harassment on public transport in Chinese cities for International Women’s Day, addressed an audience in London, noting that “there has been both progress and a backlash against women’s rights”.
Today is marked with the traditional giving of flowers and gifts but this year activists will also be joining in the international strike. At noon a protest will kick off the activity and there will be a march from Congress to Plaza de Mayo.
People are encouraged to “wear red in solidarity” according to the Women’s March organisers in Washington for their “A Day Without Women” which recognises the fight for gender equality. A bold colour for a bold statement.