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People Around the World Mark International Women's Day

  • Dorian Jones

Middle-aged women in traditional Indian attire run along with youngsters during a 5-kilometer run, organized to celebrate International Women's Day in Bangalore, India, March 8, 2015.

Middle-aged women in traditional Indian attire run along with youngsters during a 5-kilometer run, organized to celebrate International Women's Day in Bangalore, India, March 8, 2015.

Women and men around the world are marking the economic, political and social achievements of women for International Women's Day.

The day is an opportunity to call for greater equality so women and their families can live fully successful lives.

Organizations around the world choose their own International Women's Day themes that are specific to their local context.

In India, women from all walks of life participated in car and bike rallies to demand justice and safety for women.

While in the Philippines, women's rights groups marched through the capital Manila main in a call for minimum wage increases.

Demonstrations and marches also took place in Turkey, Bangladesh, Hong Kong and Afghanistan where a group of men donned burkas (head-to-toe covering) in support of women's rights.

In a statement Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama said "the gap between women’s inherent value and how many of them are treated every day is one of the great injustices of our time." He said that his administration will continue to work to ensure that women and girls are treated as full and equal human beings in rights and dignity.

On Saturday, Palestinian women marched a day ahead of International Woman's Day, at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, calling for the end of Israeli occupation, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the end of Gaza siege.


Protesting Violence Against Women

In Istanbul, Turkey, This year’s event is dedicated to a 20-year-old student who was murdered while resisting sexual assault. The murder has raised growing concerns about violence against women.

Many women marched through the streets of Istanbul carrying images of 20 year-old student Ozgecan Aslan, who was killed last month after resisting being raped. Her murder has prompted unprecedented nationwide protests by women against violence.

Textile worker Gunay, who attended the Istanbul women’s day protest, says there is a new feeling of empowerment amongst women.

She said, "We are woman, we are equal, we are free. Today we are having big laughters, we are wearing mini skirts, we are dressing up in lots of colors." She added the women are no one's slave and they are beautiful.

Many protesters carried images of other women who have been killed. According to last official figures, released in 2009, under the decade-long rule of the Islamist rooted AK Party, there has been 1,400 percent increase in murders of women. Since then, no official figures have been made available.

A recently published survey claimed 45 percent of women in Turkey have suffered violent attacks by men. Of those 67 percent said they would not report attacks to the police.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan provoked the outrage of women’s groups when he declared women cannot be considered equal to men. Many attending the women’s day protest blame the government for failing to confront violence against women.
Protest marcher Feliz, an accountant, worries about the direction the country is heading in.

She says the politics are getting worse, with male leaders wanting women to give birth and sit at home with children. She says women have many issues, and are in rebellion looking for their rights. She says women want their voice to be heard, especially about so many women being killed.

International Women’s Day protests have also been held in cities across Turkey. The opposition parties are expected to turn the growing anger towards the government over its policy towards women into an electoral advantage in the June general election.

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