How International Women's Day Was Proudly Celebrated In 8 Countries Around The World — PHOTOS
In case you missed the Google Doodle, March 8 is International Women's Day! Over 100 years after the United States, Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland first celebrated the holiday in 1911, International Women's Day is recognized by countries on every continent (OK, maybe not in Antarctica). In fact, according to the official International Women's Day organization, many countries including Cuba, Afghanistan, Vietnam, China, and Russia recognize March 8 and IWD as a national holiday. The United States began celebrating Women's Day even before it became an international event, holding the first Women's Day on Feb. 28, 1909. This inaugural Women's Day celebration commemorated a garment worker strike — in which women laborers protested poor working conditions — held a year earlier in 1908.
A century later, IWD is celebrated with marches, festivals, hashtags (this year's official IWD hashtag is #PledgeForParity), and events commemorating women's struggles for rights worldwide. As feminist activist Gloria Steinem reminded us in a statement, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."
For this reason, it's important that IWD is celebrated through solidarity with, and between, women around the world. Without a doubt, the IWD 2016 celebrations from Taiwan to Scotland to Turkey prove that women's rights are on the forefront of peoples' minds across the globe. Maybe someday, IWD will be celebrated, and officially recognized as a holiday, by all nations — along with women's (and human) rights. Here's a look at what International Women's Day 2016 looks like in eight countries.
In Taiwan, IWD focuses on young women leaders in technology. Girls in Tech, held on March 8, is an event focused on empowering young women scientists, and honoring the top "40 under 40" Taiwanese women leaders in the technology industry.
In honor of IWD, a traffic light in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia, will be replaced with a female pedestrian symbol. The green light is the silhouette of Mary Rogers, one of the first women elected to public office in Australia.
There is, sadly, only one Mary Rogers traffic light in Australia. However, in honor of IWD, city officials in Valencia, Spain, also unveiled traffic lights depicting a woman crossing the road throughout the city, El Pais reported.
London's WOW - Women of the World Festival was a fabulously fun way to celebrate IWD. There were numerous thought-provoking events included in the festival's schedule, including a reading by author Caitlin Moran, and a performance by London-based, all-women pop choir, Lips. Festival attendees also had the opportunity to take a partner dance class that taught women to lead on the dance floor.
On March 8 in New Delhi, over 500 people carried signs and handed out pamphlets as they marched through India's capital city. The marchers called for 50 percent of the seats in India's parliament to be saved for women — certainly an important step in achieving parity.
6. The United States
In New York, Emma Watson, goodwill ambassador to the U.N., announced the first HeForShe Arts Week in a speech alongside Chirlane McCray, who is married to New York City's mayor Bill de Blasio. The festival's events, from ballets to Broadway shows to museum exhibits, are meant to generate a discussion on gender equality.
Amid government-imposed limitations on public assembly in Turkey, hundreds of people gathered in Istanbul in honor of IWD. Unfortunately, soon after the rally began, police reportedly began shooting rubber bullets at the crowd of women carrying banners, and calling for social and economic rights, Reuters reported. The devastating outcome of this event certainly shows why women need IWD.
Some events recognizing International Women's Day 2016 are festive, while others prove that women worldwide are still far from reaching parity. However, it's undeniable that women have come a long way since the first IWD in 1911 — and have a long way to go before every day is as empowering, and female-focused as IWD.