International Women’s Day - IWD - commemorating the political, cultural, and economic achievements by women, was celebrated worldwide on March 8. While not affiliated with any one particular group, the event brought together women’s organizations, corporations, and charities to march and to openly discuss topics ranging from women in film to appearance in the workplace.
There were protests amid the celebrations. Crowds rallied on the steps of the Capitol in Washington D.C. and thousands of protesters in Dublin, Ireland, called for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment to the Irish Constitution, which bans abortion. There were marches in Madrid, Marseille, Sarajevo, Pristina, Rome, Seoul, and Chisinau; rallies in Paris, Manila, Warsaw, and Kolkata; demonstrations in Turkey; chants in Buenos Aires and Dublin; a vigil in Hong Kong; strikes in Australia; symbolic productions in Tbilisi; dances in Yogyakarta, Xiangyang, and Nairobi, and performances in Colombo. Women around the globe stood together to declare that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.
Every year, IWD garners an impressive amount of media attention. According to Time magazine, “on the ground, International Women’s Day sees thousands of conferences, gatherings, rallies, exhibitions, festivals and more each year.”
While IWD as officially adopted by the United Nations in 1975, it was observed for the first time in New York City in the early 1900s. This year, more than a century later, women all across the country were encouraged to participate in “A Day Without a Woman” - a strike created to increase awareness surrounding issues of civil liberties, reproductive liberties, and economic inequality.
Motivated by the tremendous success of the Women’s March in January, organizers strove to continue their protest by encouraging women in the U.S. and worldwide to strike for a day as an act of protest against the economic inequality, prejudices, and insecurities that women face in their workplace. The goal: to raise awareness for women who have been marginalized because of their ethnicity, class, sexuality, or disability. In addition, the organizers encouraged women to wear red “to express their solidarity with the movement if they were unable to strike.”
Women were also encouraged to refrain from shopping, both in stores as well as online, with exception made to small local businesses and women-owned businesses that declared to be pro-movement. According to the blog Women able, women-owned businesses (approximately 11.3 million in the U.S) experienced a notable increase in online sales that day. Many small businesses reduced prices of products by 20 percent or donated the proceeds towards the movement.