As noted on the website, “various organizations identify their own International Women's Day theme, specific to their local context and interests. Many charities, NGOs and Governments also adopt a relevant theme or campaign to mark the day. For example, organizations like the UN, Oxfam, Women for Women, Care International, Plan, World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) and more - run exciting and powerful campaigns that raise awareness and encourage donations for good causes. The UN has been declaring an annual equality theme for many years.”
In London 600 women marched to demand equality. Dr. Helen Pankhurst, the great granddaughter of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst participated with her 20-year-old daughter. Celebrities included singers Annie Lennox, Paloma Faith and Made In Dagenham actress Gemma Arterton. The entourage gathered and marched near London’s City Hall. Some women dressed in antique clothing representing 20th century Suffragettes.
In 1918 the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed an act granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities.
Sunday’s march included demonstrations calling for equal representation for men and women in parliament.
“Women's rights are human rights!" shouted by some amid an uproar of car horns, drumbeats and police commands, reported by Associated Press.
Marchers started in the plaza near the United Nations and ended at Times Square where participants called for gender equality and comparable worth pay for women. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife Chirline McCray spoke to the assembly.
"Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists," noting that International Women's Day commemorates the day in 1908 when thousands of women marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights, they said.
Celebrations around the world included women marching, speaking their minds, and advocating for rights of women. For Palestinian women living in Gaza, however, the hardships they suffer every day as a result of the conflict overshadow the festive atmosphere prevalent in other cities.
The International community has responded, however, and there is growing awareness about the unique, detrimental impact armed conflict has on women. The international community representatives in the UN passed number of significant resolutions on women’s involvement in conflict resolution and peace building (for instance, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325).
This is how the celebration of Women’s Day was reported on Facebook:
International Women's Day: In Gaza, extra burdens are placed on women as heads of households where men are in prison, disabled or killed. But Gazans cope. They have to. The stresses placed on women in Gaza are multiplied by the ongoing conflicts with Israel.
Approximately 1,000 Palestinian and Israeli women gathered on Saturday at 11am at either sides of Qalandia checkpoint separating Jerusalem and Ramallah to protest the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza on Saturday, the eve of International Women’s Day, reported by Al Arabiya News.
Israeli and Palestinian women demonstrating were undaunted and about 1000 were sprayed with teargas, with at least 10 having been injured and rushed for medical treatment.
Although the protestors made several attempts to meet midway, Israeli authorities forbade them from doing so.
In the true spirit of the Suffragettes a century ago, women united for equality and freedom from Jerusalem, Nazareth, Acre-Haifa, Tel Aviv and the Galilee, as well as various towns across the West Bank, they chanted for equal rights for women on both sides and an end to the oppression, discrimination and the siege on Gaza.
In many cities men participated in solidarity with woman, but in Afghanistan the suppression of women was surprisingly demonstrated as men wore burqas to draw attention to women’s rights.
The Taliban forced women to wear burqas in public during their rule in the 1990s and concern is growing in Afghanistan and among its allies that gains for women made since the 2001 U.S.-led ouster of the Taliban are at risk, according to a report by Reuters.
A group called Afghan Peace Volunteers organized the march in solidarity with recognition of International Women’s Day on Sunday.
"Our authorities will be celebrating International Women's Day in big hotels, but we wanted to take it to the streets," said activist Basir, 29 they said in the report.
"One of the best ways to understand how women feel is to walk around and wear a burqa."
The burqa covers the entire body, with a mesh fabric window to see through. Though a symbol of Taliban treatment of women, it remains commonly worn in many parts of Afghanistan.
Even though the political statement by the 20 men drew a mixed reaction as they donned the burqas, public political activism indicates the changing tide in suppression of women in the country. Having men demonstrate in favor of women’s rights to wear clothing of choice furthers not only women’s rights, but also human rights in the war torn country attempting to rise out of the ashes of war and civil strife.
In cities and countries around the world that celebrated International Women’s Day, one theme prevailed and that is women and men can be united for women’s rights, whether it’s protecting the right to vote in the US, women’s freedom and safety in Gaza, or the right to wear clothing of choice in Afghanistan.
is retired and lives in Clearlake, California. She has three grown
children and one grandson and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Services
Administration from St. Mary’s College in Moraga California. On the
home front Dava enjoys time with her family, reading, gardening, cooking