International Women's Day marked on the streets and in the courts

International Women’s Day marked on the streets and in the courts

/ 09:07 AM March 09, 2024

A demonstrator takes part in a march to mark the International Women's Day in Mexico City

A demonstrator takes part in a march to mark the International Women’s Day in Mexico City, on March 8, 2024. (Photo by SILVANA FLORES / AFP)

Paris, France — People around the world marked International Women’s Day Friday with protests and celebrations.

Some countries marked the day by voting on — or confirming — groundbreaking legislation, while the failure of others to pass reforms on key issues such as abortion rights was the focus of some of Friday’s protests.


Here is a round-up of some of the demonstrations.


AFGHANISTAN: Small groups of women staged rare demonstrations in private spaces, after a crackdown by Taliban authorities forced activists off the streets.

A handful of women in several provinces gathered to demand restrictions on jobs, travel and education be lifted, said activists from the Purple Saturdays group.

READ: Japanese male office workers experience simulated menstrual pain

PAKISTAN: Hundreds of women rallied in major cities to highlight street harassment, bonded labour and the lack of female representation in parliament.

“We face all sorts of violence: physical, sexual, cultural violence where women are exchanged to settle disputes, child marriages, rape, harassment in the workplace, on the streets,” said Farzana Bari, lead organiser of the Islamabad event.

IRELAND: Voters took part in a double referendum on proposals to modernise its constitution, which could expand the definition of family from those founded on marriage to “durable relationships”.


Another proposed change would replace old-fashioned language around a mother’s “duties in the home” with a clause recognising care provided by family members.

ITALY: Thousands of people marched in Rome and Milan calling for an end to violence against women following a number of high-profile cases of young women murdered by their boyfriends.

Holding banners, dancing and chanting slogans, at least 10,000 people gathered in the Italian capital at the Circo Massimo, an ancient Roman racing ground, according to police.

READ: Thousands march in Madrid to mark International Women’s Day

SPAIN: Tens of thousands of women marched in Barcelona, Madrid and other cities, many dressed in purple, the colour associated with women’s rights.

According to police estimates, 40,000 women marched in Barcelona alone, with around 30,000 in the streets of Madrid on Friday evening.

IRAN: Jailed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Narges Mohammadi called for an end to “gender apartheid”, which “not only amplifies discrimination and oppression against women but also fortifies the authority of religious and authoritarian regimes”.

She denounced the regimes in Iran and Afghanistan for having “systematically… orchestrated conditions of suppression, domination, tyranny (and) discrimination against women”.

JAPAN: Six couples marked International Women’s Day by filing a case suing the government for the right to use different surnames after marriage.

Under laws in place since the 19th century, married couples must choose the husband’s or the wife’s name, and about 95 percent take the man’s, according to the plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Demonstrators shout slogans during a march to mark the International Women's Day in Buenos Aires

Demonstrators shout slogans during a march to mark the International Women’s Day in Buenos Aires, on March 8, 2024. (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

BRITAIN: Protesters in London dressed as characters from “The Handmaid’s Tale”, Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about a future in which women have been reduced to chattel. They held placards calling for women’s rights in Iran.

A separate demonstration in the capital’s Parliament Square highlighted the plight of women in Afghanistan, and called for the right of girls to go to school.

FRANCE: President Emmanuel Macron presided over a ceremony enshrining the right to abortion into the French constitution, the first country to make such a move.

“We will not rest until this promise is held everywhere in the world,” he said.

Thousands of people, mainly women, marched through Paris and in several cities across France. In Paris there were scuffles between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli activists.

Former prime minister Elisabeth Borne meanwhile denounced the “insidious sexism” she said permeates French politics in an interview broadcast on International Women’s Day.

“Men in politics, they all have an interest in imposing masculine codes, it eliminates the competition,” she told French broadcaster RTL.

DR CONGO: Thousands of Congolese women dressed in black marched in the Democratic Republic of Congo to mourn those killed in conflicts in the east of the country.

The women from all walks of life gathered in Bukavu, capital of the South Kivu province in the east, which has been ravaged by decades of armed violence.

KOSOVO: In the capital Pristina, women marched in a rally for to press for gender equality and to protest violence against women.

Cases of gender-based violence remain high due in part to Kosovo’s patriarchal culture, post-traumatic stress linked to war, and a legal system that has allowed domestic violence to sink deep roots.

SOUTH AFRICA: a group of Jewish women held a march to denounce the government’s silence regarding abuse by Hamas fighters against Israeli hostages.

Organized by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD), the women marched in the scorching Johannesburg sun under the banner “Me Too unless you are a Jew”.

UKRAINE: In occupied Ukraine, masked Russian soldiers in combat gear handed out flowers to women, as Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed women soldiers fighting on the front lines.

A Russian defence ministry video showed soldiers with scarves pulled over their faces distributing flowers in Mariupol, the Ukrainian port city captured by Russian forces at the start of the war.

UNITED NATIONS: Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a worldwide “backlash” against women’s rights.

He singled out the situation in Afghanistan, where girls are excluded from “much of the education system” and sexual violence against women in Sudan, Israel and against Palestinian detainees.

POLAND: Thousands of women angry at the failure of the ruling liberal alliance to move quickly on a reform of the abortion laws took to the streets of Warsaw.

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“We feel betrayed,” Marta Lempart, leader of the Women’s Strike movement, told AFP. “It was women in Poland who decided the outcome of the elections, and now we deserve that work on legalising abortion begins.”

TAGS: International Women’s Day, Mexico

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