International Women's Day 2017: protests, activism and a strike – as it happened

Last modified: 03: 59 AM GMT+0

Live global coverage of International Women’s Day 2017 as events took place around the world to mark the ongoing fight for equality

Closing summary

As International Women’s Day draws to a close, so does our live coverage.

So what next? If you’re one of our readers in the US, you can sign up for our freshly launched newsletter tracking the progress of the resistance on feminism and beyond. Or join the Guardian US Facebook community.

To keep up with the week in patriarchy, you can sign up for Jessica Valenti’s email roundup and read Laura Bates on everyday sexism.

Globally, track news on women’s rights and gender equality, and feminism. Knit a pussy hat. Tell us how you marked IWD and what you’ll be doing next. Speak.

Thank you for your comments and contributions.

A late entrant for most uncomfortable attempt to use IWD for unrelated political point-scoring comes from the US House Ways and Means committee, where representatives are debating the proposed changes to healthcare provisions.

Missouri’s Republican congressman, Jason Smith, is concerned that women are – under Obamacare – paying tax on their visits to tanning salons. Why is nobody talking about this on International Women’s Day, he wanted to know. (I’m not sure he genuinely wanted to know, but he did say it.)

GOP rep goes on long riff on how tanning tax hurts women. "Today is International Women's Day. It's interesting no one is bringing it up." pic.twitter.com/FdOGOo18Om

— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) March 9, 2017

Washington Democrat congresswoman Suzan DelBene thought women might have more pressing concerns when it came to healthcare: birth control, for one.

Tanning beds,@RepJasonSmith? Really? Your biggest concern for women's health is paying too much for tanning? How about real healthcare? pic.twitter.com/1Di6Kdgl7u

— Rep. Suzan DelBene (@RepDelBene) March 9, 2017

Ahead of International Women’s Day, we asked readers to share stories about the battles you’ve won.

You can read them all here, and here is just one example of the responses we received:

Brenda Carter, El Cerrito, California

In 1969, I was a college student and part of a hippy-communist collective. We put out a monthly newspaper and ran a bookstore in deepest, darkest conservative Orange County. We all worked together, but there were plenty of gender assumptions at play. I refused to learn to make coffee or type so that I couldn’t be stuck with those mundane tasks. The women in the group met in a consciousness-raising group. One question we asked ourselves was why it was always the men leading chants and making speeches at rallies and demonstrations. We decided it wasn’t that they were unwilling to share, it was that we lacked confidence.

So one night, we borrowed a bullhorn [megaphone] and headed down to the beach. We took turns getting a feel for the mechanics, and then we began using the bullhorn to amplify our voices, most of us for the first time ever. The noise of the waves gave us the perfect cover to experiment and let loose. I remember the freedom of standing out on the sand under the dark sky, finding my loudest voice, and letting it fly. I had never been in a situation before where I felt so free to fail and so free to succeed, and that night made me a different kind of woman.

After that, the bullhorn was ours. A small battle, perhaps, but one that has come to mind in recent months as I’ve watched so many women speaking from bullhorns and microphones. Who even thinks to notice it now? On such small battles, larger ones are won, and new worlds open up.

The Empire State building has been lit up in pink to mark the close of IWD on the US east coast. (The women’s march has done a pretty solid job of reclaiming pink as a protest colour.)

The Empire State Building is seen lit in pink for International Women’s Day in Manhattan, New York, U.S., March 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Segar

To mark International Women’s Day in Brazil, football team Cruzeiro tonight wore specially commissioned squad numbers with messages to highlight daily challenges faced by women in the South American country.

Cruizero won their Brazilian Cup match against Murici-AL 2-0.

The shirts featured a different message for each number such as “a rape every 11 minutes” or “salaries 30% lower”, organised in conjunction with the NGO AzMina, which fights for female empowerment in Brazil.

Announcing the initiative on their website on Wednesday, the Belo Horizonte-based club’s president Gilvan de Pinho Tavares said:

In the 21st century, it is not tolerable to see women suffer acts of violence and discrimination.

With this action, we join all who combat inequalities against people of the feminine sex. This is one of the social roles that big fan clubs must always be developing.

International Women’s Day is not just a moment to bring to the surface all the characteristics of inequality that still exist in Brazil and the world, but it is also a moment of awareness of other aspects related to women. It’s important to have a moment of this, where you can bring up such important and women-related issues.

It’s getting loud in Los Angeles:

NOW: LA JOINS THE GLOBALLY COORDINATED NOISE DEMO!! #womenstrikeus #womensstrike pic.twitter.com/nC2y14gYLx

— AF3IRM (@AF3IRM) March 9, 2017

Reuters has spoken to some of the women who took part in protests in the US today:

Debra Sands, a middle-school teacher, joined thousands of women at New York City’s Central Park after her students convinced her to attend.

“This past year’s election made me realize that voting in November isn’t enough,” Sands said.

In San Francisco, where about 1,500 people gathered, Christine Bussenius said she and her female colleagues at Grey Advertising convinced their all-male managers to give them the day off and participate in the rally.

“We were nervous,” she admitted. “But the men stepped up to fill in the void.”

Rallies were held in numerous cities, including Washington, where demonstrators gathered at the US labor department.

Female staffers at Fusion Media Group’s Gizmodo declared they were striking for the day.

At least three US school districts, in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina, closed because of staff shortages after teachers requested the day off.

Nearly 1,000 women converged outside Los Angeles City Hall, many of them critical of the Republican-backed healthcare bill that would strip women’s health and abortion provider Planned Parenthood of funding.

“It’s terrifying. It’s anti-woman,” said Kassia Krozsur, a finance professional.

About 200 gathered in Atlanta, where signs read “We are sisters” and “Stop Trump.”

“If we want to change what is going on, we need to turn anger into action. People need to run for local office,” organizer Rebekah Joy said.

Images of IWD around the world

Pakistan

Pakistani women take part in a demonstration to mark International Women’s Day in Islamabad.
Pakistani women take part in a demonstration to mark International Women’s Day in Islamabad. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP

Macedonia

A rally in Skopje, Macedonia.
A rally in Skopje, Macedonia. Photograph: Pierre Crom/Getty Images

Yemen

Yemeni women at a rally marking IWD outside the UN offices in Sana’a.
Yemeni women at a rally marking IWD outside the UN offices in Sana’a. Photograph: Yahya Arhab/EPA

Lebanon

Women outside the government palace in Beirut hold a banner reading in Arabic: ‘We demand our rights to build Lebanon together.’
Women outside the government palace in Beirut hold a banner reading in Arabic: ‘We demand our rights to build Lebanon together.’ Photograph: Nabil Mounzer/EPA

Egypt

An artist performs during a demonstration against sexual harassment in Cairo.
An artist performs during a demonstration against sexual harassment in Cairo. Photograph: Xinhua / Barcroft Images

Updated

In the US, Time reports that several women’s march organisers who were arrested earlier on Wednesday in New York have now been released.

Organisers Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Carmen Perez and Bob Bland were among a number of protesters detained close to the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle. Most – including Mallory, Sarsour and Perez – were freed on Wednesday evening, Time reported, but others remain in custody:

Yet to be released by 8pm on Wednesday was Sophie Ellman-Golan, a 24-year old activist whose mother Rabbi Barat Ellman was arrested about three weeks ago for protesting the Trump’s travel ban.

“I’m incredible proud of her,” said Ellman as she waited outside the precinct for her daughter to be released. “For a long time she’s been a woman who puts her feet where her mouth is.”

Updated

IWD in Nigeria

Nigeria Walk In, Ekiti State, International Womens Day 2017

The ONE campaign, an international organization aimed at ending extreme poverty and eradicating preventable diseases, staged several hundred walk-ins around the globe earlier today to rally for women’s education. One of its largest events took place in Nigeria, in Ekiti State, with several hundred students and activists.

In the western part of the country, dozens holding signs to protest the worldwide gender disparity in education marched and blocked traffic on a 5km march starting at the University of Ibadan.

Feminists across the Americas have been holding a day-long live marathon of radio programming – due to come to an end at 10pm Argentina time, in around half an hour from now.

The #MaratonaRadialFeminista has featured women and their stories from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Canada, Nicaragua, Mexico and Uruguay – with European solidarity from Spain and Switzerland – on Red Nosotras Radio. Organisers say:

The sorority and joy of being together, without losing our anger, will once again break the frontiers.

@Claire_Phipps Latin American feminists from 40 countries+ broadcast online radio marathon since 3am...still going! #MaratonaRadialFeminista pic.twitter.com/sZezR9j8av

— Nunca en Domingo (@_nuncaendomingo) March 8, 2017

France’s president, François Hollande, has lambasted what he called a decline in women’s rights in the United States and Russia.

AFP reports:

Speaking on International Women’s Day, the French leader said that “threats of backtracking” on women’s rights don’t just come from “emerging nations or countries under dictatorships, but also in developed and rich countries”.

“What about positions or intentions expressed by the new US administration?” he asked.

They would “reduce funding for family planning, as if this is the first cut to be made to allow an increase in military spending”, he added.

Hollande also took aim at Moscow’s policies, pointing out that a law that penalised violence against family members had recently been modified.

“Why would anyone change this text except to once again attack the freedom of women?” he said.

Hollande, who is coming to the end of his tenure and not standing for re-election, added that in Poland there had recently been protests against attempts to impose a near total ban on abortions.

Such moves to row back on women’s rights stem from “religious fundamentalism” and “the resurgence of reactionary ideologies which intend to reassign women to the procreative role in the domestic sphere”, he said.

IWD in Argentina

Women have been marching in Buenos Aires, Argentina; reader Ella Jessel, who is there, has shared this video and images with me. (You can send your own contributions, from wherever you are marking IWD, to me on Twitter @Claire_Phipps.)

@Claire_Phipps Plaza de Mayo Buenos Aires . See TL for more pics from here. pic.twitter.com/oY1YWAn1hK

— Ella Jessel (@EllaJessel) March 8, 2017

Great bit of zebra crossing DIY spelling out 'VIVAS NOS QUEREMOS' (we want to live)#8M #IWD2017 pic.twitter.com/Blv3ZgIYbR

— Ella Jessel (@EllaJessel) March 8, 2017

Last October, tens of thousands of women marched in Buenos Aires to push back against violence against women. The hashtag #NiUnaMenos (“Not one less”, meaning not one more woman lost to male violence) has become a powerful rallying cry for women in Argentina and other South American countries.

#NiUnaMenos #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/MSkPnBNW3u

— Ella Jessel (@EllaJessel) March 8, 2017

IWD in Turkey

Tens of thousands of women took to the streets across Turkey earlier on Wednesday, AFP reports:

In Istanbul over 10,000 people, mostly women, walked the long Istiklal Avenue, chanting “end male-perpetrated violence” and “Tayyip, Tayyip, run, run, we are coming”.

“Tayyip” refers to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is seeking to create an executive presidency that would see the post of prime minister abolished.

On 16 April, the Turkish public will vote on whether to change the current system, which the government argues causes instability – while critics claim greater powers for Erdogan will lead to one-man rule.

A deep purple dominated the colourful crowds in Istanbul who held placards saying “women are free” and “we are strong united”.

The march was organised by multiple women’s rights groups and attendees included LGBT individuals, young women, students and also men – many of whom were carrying “No” posters.

For Nurten Karanci who attended the march, being a woman in Turkey means a “fight to live, to survive”.

Last year, a woman was attacked in Istanbul for wearing shorts on a public bus while another woman wearing a headscarf said she was kicked and insulted last month.

Women’s activists often call for an end to violence against women in a country where hundreds of women are killed every year, often by their husbands.

Despite a heavy police presence and water cannon trucks on standby, the Istanbul march took place peacefully as they walked from Taksim Square to Sishane on the other end of the avenue on the European side of Istanbul.

Members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose two co-leaders remain under arrest accused of terror links, also took part of the march in Istanbul.

Marchers in central Istanbul.
Marchers in central Istanbul. Photograph: Emrah Gurel/AP

Meanwhile in Ankara women hit tambourines and held “No” posters shouting their opposition to giving “one man” all the power.

In the Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakir, hundreds of people staged a demonstration for women’s rights, dancing and playing music.

One participant, Sabiba Akgul, said all women “should stand up and support each other. Hand in hand, they will find freedom.”

Activist Ozlem Gul in Istanbul described the difficulty of being a woman in Turkey:

Being a woman anyhow is very complicated, especially today. We have to fight against many things. We have to fight against the attacks on our bodies, our work, our opinions.

We are in the streets, we won’t let up, and we will keep on the fight as Turkish women.

In Australia, the feminist and author Germaine Greer has said that aiming for equality is a “profoundly conservative goal” for women, speaking at the launch of her archive at the University of Melbourne on Wednesday night.

Greer told an audience of about 500 people at the Kathleen Fitzpatrick Theatre for the International Women’s Day event:

What everybody has accepted is the idea of equality feminism. It will change nothing. War is made against civilian populations where women and children are the principal casualties in places like Syria, whether in collapsing buildings or bombed schools.

War is now completely made by the rich with their extraordinary killing machines, killing the poor who have no comeback. Women are drawing level with men in this profoundly destructive world that we live in and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the wrong way. We’re getting nowhere.

If we’re going to change things I think we’re going to have to start creating a women’s polity that is strong, that has its own way of operating, that makes contact with women in places like Syria, and that challenges the right of destructive nations.

Women needed to aim higher and achieve more than simply drawing level with men and entering into traditionally male-dominated fields, Greer said:

If what happens when women discover when they join the army is they discover it’s no place for a sane human being then they’ve learned something.

But right now, things are looking distinctly grim.

In Brazil, a message from President Michel Temer to mark IWD has been met with some incredulity, as he praised women for their home-making skills and ability to spot a supermarket bargain:

Brazil’s president honored women by complimenting their homemaking, child-raising & home economics. I’m embarrassed to be the same gender. https://t.co/n4HqkJGM23

— Andrew Fishman (@AndrewDFish) March 8, 2017

On Int’l Women’s Day Brazil’s President Temer says “Nobody is better than women at spotting price abnormalities in the supermarket.” Really. https://t.co/n4HqkJGM23

— Andrew Fishman (@AndrewDFish) March 8, 2017

Temer does not have great form: on taking over as president last year, he installed a new cabinet with zero women in it. Women marching in Brazilian cities today expressed anger towards Temer, as my colleague Jonathan Watts reports:

Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Brasilia and Porto Alegre each saw hundreds of demonstrators mark International Women’s Day with banners and chants of Fora Temer! (Michel Temer Out!), a reference to the current president who came to power by plotting the impeachment of Brazil’s first woman president – and his former running mate – Dilma Rousseff.

The conservative president did little to mollify their anger with a speech in which he lauded how much women do around the house and the important role they play in assessing supermarket prices. He also noted that more an economic recovery will enable more women to enter the workplace in addition to their “domestic chores.”

On taking power last year, Temer abolished the ministry of women, racial equality and human rights, and cut programs on gender equality. His 28-member cabinet now includes only two women. Critics say his pension reform plans will hit women harder than men.

Updated

Hi, this is Claire Phipps picking up the live blog, with thanks to Molly.

I’ll continue to cover IWD events live as they happen, everywhere in the globe it’s still 8 March. Do send me your contributions from wherever you are, on Twitter @Claire_Phipps or in the comments below.

Here’s a female role model if ever we saw (or read) one: Matilda sees something she likes in Wall St’s Fearless Girl:

Now that's a pose! #MatildainOZ #BeBoldForChange #MatildainNZ #MatildaTheMusical pic.twitter.com/9XSrthhSy9

— matildamusicalaunz (@MatildainOz) March 8, 2017

The Fearless Girl

The Fearless Girl statue appeared overnight just down the road from Wall Street, defiantly staring down the famous bronze bull.

The statue of a young girl, hands on hips, was instantly providing a good PR story for investment company State Street Global Advisors, who installed the statue for International Women’s Day and called on companies to put more women on their boards.

But it also provided a nice background for New York journalists in search of an International Women’s Day story.

The Fearless Girl statue is a frenzy of tourists and journos trying to interview other journos #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/JKsDPdVb94

— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 8, 2017

The Guardian was asked by two separate news organizations for interviews when it popped down to visit, with Buzzfeed livestreaming the statue on its site.

Thanks to the bull, that corner of Broadway is always pumping with tourists, but Fearless Girl made the crowds even worse than normal.

Fearless Girl statue is somewhere in the middle of this pic.twitter.com/vty9tZYJMs

— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 8, 2017

Even if it was just a clever marketing stunt, these girls didn’t care.

Was cynical re Fearless Girl statue until I saw these two little cuties excitedly posing for a pic pic.twitter.com/BgXXyv1A5v

— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 8, 2017

Updated

More scenes from IWD in the Americas

AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

At least 100 people marched in downtown Washington, DC to demand equal pay and protections for women workers.

AFP PHOTO / Marvin RECINOSMARVIN RECINOS/AFP/Getty Images

Activists marched to celebrate International Women’s Day and protest violence against women in San Salvador.

AFP PHOTO / VANDERLEI ALMEIDAVANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images
AFP PHOTO / VANDERLEI ALMEIDAVANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images Photograph: Vanderlei Almeida/AFP/Getty Images

Hundreds took part in an International Women’s Day rally at Candelaria square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Guardian correspondent Jon Watts reports:

At a demonstration in central Rio de Janeiro, several hundred women protested against sexual violence, unequal wages and the current government of President Michel Temer, who ousted his female running mate Dilma Rousseff last year. “Temer is a coup monger and a misogynist,” said student Kharine Dantes. “He wants to repeal quotas for women parliamentarians and to outlaw the morning-after pill.”

Outside the City council building in Rio de Janeiro, Workers Party activists handed out black balloons each marked with a different statistic about violence against women in Brazil: a rape every two hours, three-fifths of young women suffering violence from their partners and 40% of police women tend victims of sexual harassment. “This is a day of struggle as well as celebration,” said Micaela Costa. “The problem of violence and harassment is terrible but at least it is becoming more visible.”

Dozens of women gathered in Lafayette Square in front of the White House to protest a US policy that bans international NGOs from providing abortion services or offering information about abortions if they receive US funding.

We're still here!! We're protesting bc women's rights aren't up for debate. #TrumpGlobalGag #NoAbortionBan pic.twitter.com/bhl6wn18dG

— CHANGE (@genderhealth) March 8, 2017

President Trump imposed what critics call the “global gag rule” in an executive order he signed just after taking office.

The policy has put thousands of international healthcare workers in a difficult position; they must decide whether to continue to offer family planning care that includes abortion or to preserve a critical funding stream. The US is the single largest donor to global health efforts. But many international health advocates insist that their efforts are not comprehensive without abortion services.

Worldwide, unsafe abortions are a major cause of maternal mortality and kill tens of thousands of women every year.

Hey hey, ho ho, #TrumpGlobalGag has got to go. #NoAbortionBan pic.twitter.com/9QoxEGXwPh

— CHANGE (@genderhealth) March 8, 2017

Oops.

This was retweeted—and then deleted—by Hillary Clinton. pic.twitter.com/WaTvAMP4IC

— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 8, 2017

Falling short of feminist goals in Canada

Justin TrudeauCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an event on International Women’s day in Ottawa, Wednesday March 8, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)
Justin Trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during an event on International Women’s day in Ottawa, Wednesday March 8, 2017. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP)
Photograph: Adrian Wyld/AP

Despite being a self-declared feminist with a gender balanced cabinet, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have fallen short when it comes to translating rhetoric into real change for the country’s women, according to a new “feminist scorecard” from Oxfam Canada.

Many in the country were hopeful when the prime minister publicly proclaimed himself a feminist after being elected in 2015, said Lauren Ravon of Oxfam. Many hoped the result would be a government committed to tackling some of the deep-rooted issues facing Canadians.

As many as 4,000 indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada in the past three decades. Child care costs in the country rank among the highest in the OECD, while a persistent pay gap between men and women have sent the country tumbling from 19th to 35th place in recent years in the the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap rankings.

The feminist scorecard offers a means to hold the prime minister to account by tracking annual progress on these issues and others. “We knew from experience that it’s one thing to say something but words don’t get you very far in the end, you still need to follow it up with concrete action,” said Ravon. “There’s a lot of people looking to Canada, so we want to say, what is the distance between the rhetoric and actual policy-making on the ground?”

The first scorecard, released this week, noted that the government has yet to back its “bold feminist rhetoric” with concrete policy and spending decisions. The government has so-far demonstrated solid progress in just one area: Women’s representation and leadership. “You can’t overstate the importance of the first gender balanced cabinet in Canadian history,” said Ravon. The government fared worst in the category of jobs, where Oxfam noted that no tangible steps have been taken to address the gender wage gap or ensure living wages for the working poor, the majority of whom are women.

Still, the organisation was hopeful that the government would steadily improve its performance on the scorecard in the coming years. “For the most part we’ve seen good first signs. Things are moving in the right direction,” said Ravon. “As the Liberal government embarks on the second year of its mandate, it is time to turn feminist words into action.”

Meanwhile, First Lady Sophie Gregoire Trudeau caused titters when she called on Canadians to celebrate International Women’s Day by celebrating “the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others”.

Are you ready to ignite change? This week, as we mark International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others. Take a picture holding hands with your male ally & share it on social media using the hashtag #TomorrowInHand. Together, we can create a movement that inspires more men to join the fight to build a better tomorrow with equal rights & opportunities for everyone… because #EqualityMatters. 🤝 Êtes-vous prêtes à faire des étincelles pour allumer un changement ? Cette semaine, à l’occasion de la Journée internationale des femmes, célébrons les garçons et les hommes qui nous encouragent à être qui nous sommes vraiment, qui traitent les filles et les femmes avec respect et qui n’ont pas peur de parler haut devant les autres. Prenez une photo main dans la main avec votre allié et diffusez-la dans les médias sociaux avec le mot-clic #DemainEnMains. Ensemble, nous pouvons susciter un mouvement qui incitera davantage d’hommes à lutter avec nous pour des lendemains meilleurs, l’égalité des droits et des chances pour tous … parce que l’#Égalitécompte.

A post shared by Sophie Grégoire Trudeau (@sophiegregoiretrudeau) on

Many US female journalists are in a tricky spot today: should they go on strike in solidarity or work to cover women focused stories that otherwise would be ignored?

Different media outlets, particularly women-focused ones, are trying out different methods.

Bustle is on strike. MTV adjusted its logo to make it a W for women. Glamour colored its logo red in solidarity with the women’s strike, and all its coverage is focused on International Women’s Day and the strike.

New York Magazine’s The Cut is on strike, “to show solidarity with the women around the world who are standing up for equal pay and equal opportunity, reproductive freedom, an end to sexual assaults, an end to bigotry of all kinds, and policies that support our families like parental leave, health care, and child care.”

Teen Vogue is also striking:

Although as an editorial staff we are privileged to have this platform and audience (as well as the opportunity to take a day off of work), journalism is still an industry that disproportionately awards leadership and power to men, and as a result, we still struggle to be taken seriously when we talk about politics.

Jezebel is letting male colleagues take over the site for the day, and it’s proving to be the most fascinating media experiment of the day. As editor-in-chief Emma Carmichael wrote:

Publishing for a majority women audience is quite different from publishing for Deadspin or Gizmodo, and we want them to be thoughtful about how they package news and write criticism for Jezebel on a politically meaningful day for many women around the world. We’re asking them to take that responsibility on without much of our guidance and advice, and if they stumble in that pursuit, we hope you notice. A few of our brave volunteers have confessed to being a bit nervous about this experiment, and we agree that they should be. If the site feels different or off or even just “bad” tomorrow, that is very much the point.

It’s been…interesting. The first post of the day was a somewhat self-congratulatory entry by Jim Cooke about feminists using an illustration he created. Another post is titled “So Now There’s a Girl on Wall Street”. Hamilton Nolan wrote about the left-wing woke men who describe themselves as “allies” while actually being insufferable creeps.

Here at The Guardian, our female staffers are working, but I’ve got my own personal strike motto

My personal plan for the #womensstrike tomorrow is to only interview women and tell stories about women. Let's see how it goes.

— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 7, 2017

This will also include not answering emails, phone calls or tweets from men. Can't wait! #daywithoutawoman #InternationalWomensDay

— Amber Jamieson (@ambiej) March 7, 2017

So far so good!

Updated

IWD in Mexico City

An International Women’’s Day demonstration take place at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, Mexico. EPA/MARIO GUZMAN
An International Women’’s Day demonstration take place at the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, Mexico. EPA/MARIO GUZMAN Photograph: Mario Guzman/EPA

More than a 100 women arrived today in Mexico City’s Historic Center, known as Zocalo, to celebrate International Women’s Day.

By mid-day, a fair organized by the Women’s Institute of Mexico City had garnered almost 80 civil organizations and government initiatives to promote awareness on safety.

“Since 2015, Mexico City is part of the global initiative for the provision of safe cities and public spaces for women,” InMujeres General Director Teresa Inchaustegui told The Guardian. “This is a topic very important for females particularly young ones who suffer the most.”

Inchaustegui said the local government is supporting women who will join the international labor strike and march scheduled to take place at 4pm next to the Angel of Independence in Reforma.

Several groups of activists including Ni una menos movement, female members of the Workers Union and the Citizen Assembly for the Rights of Women are expected to join the demands against gender violence and inequality.

“We will strike because we are fed up of violence,” Areli Castillo said.

One of the founders of the Citizen Assembly, Castillo criticized the government’s festival partly because “they see it as a party, to congratulate women but don’t need compliments, we need recognition.”

Melissa Cuevas, 31, is preparing to attend the march this afternoon as she sees it as “a way to increase awareness among the population.”

Cuevas attributes gender inequality to “a strong patriarchal approach in the society which consider that women are inferior, and based on this belief different problems arise, but the belief behind it is the main cause of it.”

In most parts of Mexico City, the day continues under the notion business as usual.

Female entrepreneur Maria del Mar Gargari said “I won’t participate because I have a small business and cannot leave it unattended.”

According to statistics from the National Citizen Observatory of Femicides, seven Mexican women are killed everyday because of gender-based violence.

Updated

Women dressed in red and holding signs with photos of their local lawmakers are gathered at the Utah state capitol for a Day Without a Woman protest to remind legislators they’re closely watching how they handle women’s issues Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

Several hundred protesters have descended on the Utah state capitol for A Day Without a Woman protest. The AP reports:

Hundreds of women dressed in red and holding signs with photos of their local lawmakers are gathering at the Utah state capitol for a Day Without a Woman protest to remind legislators they’re closely watching how they handle women’s issues.

Crowds of women stood outside both the state’s House and Senate on Wednesday to send notes to lawmakers asking them to come out to talk with them.

Salt Lake City resident Chelsi Archibald says she skipped work at her marketing job to attend the event and send a note to Republican Sen. Todd Weiler, urging his support of the Equal Rights Amendment.

International Women’s Day protests are still happening sporadically across the US. In New York, at least 10 organizers were arrested by the NYPD, said a spokeswoman for the event.

Some of us have been arrested #DayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/WSYVdrQjxA

— Women's March (@womensmarch) March 8, 2017

In Washington, DC, dozens of protesters marched on the Department of Labor demanding equal pay.

Protesters are marching on @USDOL #Labor Dept. HQ on #DayWithoutWomen day of demonstrations in #DC @Fox5DC #5at630 pic.twitter.com/h6kRoUnMHP

— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) March 8, 2017

And on TV, the revolution was color-coordinated.

The resistance is on the news and it's color coordinated. I see you @SenWarren @SRuhle @greta @donnabrazile @jmpalmieri! #DayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/LVP6p4ebbm

— Helen Brosnan (@HelenBrosnan) March 8, 2017

Snapchat celebrates IWD with a light-skinned Frida Kahlo, a sexy Marie Curie

On the left is Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), on the right is the same self-portrait run through Snapchat’s filter. Composite: Alamy & Snapchat
On the left is Frida Kahlo’s Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird (1940), on the right is the same self-portrait run through Snapchat’s filter. Composite: Alamy & Snapchat Composite: Alamy & Snapchat

Snapchat is celebrating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo on International Women’s Day with a filter that lightens the skin of users.

Snapchat debuted three custom filters for the day, which is being marked in the United States with protests and strikes. The filters allows users to take self-portraits as Kahlo, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, or scientist Marie Curie.

But on a day to celebrate international feminism, Snapchat’s filters have raised some eyebrows.

The Frida Kahlo filter lightens a user’s skin and eyes and applies bright red lipstick, a floral headdress and braids, and the artist’s signature unibrow. The skin color change is particularly noticeable on faces with darker skin – as becomes apparent when Kahlo’s own self-portrait is put through the filter.

Kahlo, who was of mixed indigenous and European heritage, painted herself with brown skin and dark eyes. Much of her work engaged with indigenous themes and imagery.

The filter for Nobel Prize-winning physicist and chemist applies smoky eye makeup and lengthens the eye lashes. Curie is best known for her groundbreaking research on radioactivity. She was awarded the Nobel Prize twice, once for chemistry and once for physics.

The wage gap in the US

For International Women’s Day, the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, is sharing some facts about the persistent wage gap in the United States.

A lot of EPI’s output has focused on which factors do not explain the wage gap. It turns out a that lot factors people assume drive the wage gap actually play a small role. For instance, women’s choices of careers alone can’t explain their pay disparity. And women can’t simply educate themselves out of the pay gap. Women who hold advanced degrees still earn less, on average, than men with only a bachelor’s degree.

Then, there’s the one-two punch of gender and racial bias. In the US, the wage gap is much bigger if you’re a woman of color.

Median black women take home $7.63 less per hour than median white men . https://t.co/ccF111pWyf #ADayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/SMh4Nddk5f

— Economic Policy Inst (@EconomicPolicy) March 7, 2017

In fact, while the overall wage gap has narrowed over the past four decades, the disparity between white women’s wages and black women’s is one of the fastest-growing gaps in the economy. That gap has increased the most for college-educated black women who are just entering the market.

Latina women are even further behind when their wages are compared alongside white workers’. For every dollar a white man is paid, white women are paid 81 cents, black women 65 cents, and Hispanic women 58 cents.

Median Hispanic women take home $8.90 less per hour than media white men. https://t.co/XU8sSDANbF #ADayWithoutAWoman pic.twitter.com/YvsSVrSkb7

— Economic Policy Inst (@EconomicPolicy) March 7, 2017

Women have made forward progress in gaining managerial roles, but those gains have almost all gone to white women. Meanwhile, the minimum wage workers who have seen their wages freeze are more likely to be women of color. Women are nearly two-thirds of the minimum wage workforce, and the majority of women earning minimum wage or less are women of color.

IWD in Brazil

Hundreds of women farmers across Brazil occupied government offices in protest of new policies they say disproportionately harm poor, rural women.

In one instance of protest, women from Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement staged an occupation of an abandoned farm belonging to a prominent businessman jailed on charges of corruption.

International Womens Day 2017 This morning, women from Movimento Sem Terra (Movement of those without land) occupied an abandoned farm of Eike Batista, who is a businessman currently in jail because of corruption
Courtesy of Ani Hao Photograph: Handout

The land, said Ani Hao, a national organizer, belongs to Eike Batista, an oil and gas magnate who was arrested in the course of a multimillion dollar money laundering investigation. One hundred families will camp and farm on its 3,000 hectares, said Hao.

Their occupation came as hundreds protesters marched across Brazilian cities or took over public offices. The demonstrators said pension reforms and other changes to social security will make it harder for family farmers to stay on the land. from Reuters:

Brazilian officials say the changes, including raising the minimum retirement age for rural workers to 65 years and higher pension contributions, are crucial for South America’s largest country to escape a fiscal crisis and recession.

“Rural workers live on the margins,” said Sejane Alexandre, a protester in Tocantins State in central Brazil’s agricultural belt.

“The rural worker does not have the same longevity and access to healthcare (as urban employees),” she said, according to local media.

In Recife, on Brazil’s northeastern coast, around 1,000 female land rights activists occupied the government’s social security office, the Pastoral Land Commission campaign group said in a statement.

About seventy percent of the food consumed by Brazilians is produced by family farmers, according to the United Nations, but small producers often complain about unequal land distribution and poor government services in rural areas.

First Lady Melania Trump celebrated International Women’s Day with salsify and spinach gnocchi at a private luncheon at the White House.

Menu at First Lady's WH luncheon marking Intl Women's Day.. (TV Pool photo by @betsy_klein) pic.twitter.com/QYMsuq9l43

— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) March 8, 2017

Guests included Trump aide Kellyanne Conway, Ivanka Trump, Karen Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Sen. Susan Collins, Small Business Administration chair-slash-former WWE executive Linda McMahon, and a 2015 Viognier from Sonoma County.

Mona Chalabi writes for the Guardian that not all women can strike today – some, because they lack the power, and some, because the work can’t happen without them:

International Women’s Day has always been tied to labor rights (first by the Socialist Party of America in 1908, and later by female textile workers in Russia in 1917). But that hasn’t meant that every woman in the workforce has been able to take part. Then and now, women have worked in jobs where striking just isn’t an option.

There are various reasons for that. In the US, women are more likely than men to work in part-time employment where workers are often considered more “disposable”. They are also less likely than men to receive a pension, more likely than men to live in poverty and more likely to be paid hourly rates that are belowminimum wage. That makes striking risky, and this is before you even get to the astounding amount of unpaid work women do, including caregiver roles where taking a day off can be a matter of life and death.

There are other occupations where women make up the majority. Pre-schoolers in America will have a tough time learning today if their teachers, 98% of whom are female, do decide to go on strike. More important though is healthcare – what would hospitals around the country look like if the 91% of nurses who are female simply didn’t show up?

Read on for a list of professions in which women dominate and for a look at the gender balance at the Guardian.

Protests in Poland

Major demonstration in Warsaw's Constitution Square.#IWD2017 pic.twitter.com/HLeD4FbCcU

— Christian Davies (@crsdavies) March 8, 2017

Women across Poland held demonstrations and marches on Wednesday to demand equal rights and protest violence. In Warsaw, hundred gathered before the office of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of Poland’s conservative party and a supporter of the government’s recent efforts to ban abortion.

A group of US Democratic congresswomen spoke before a crowd of dozens dressed in red on the steps of the US Capitol. The rally was part of a symbolic walkout some Democrats in the House staged for #DayWithoutAWoman – a protest the speakers linked directly to Trump and the GOP.

“We are resisting Trump and congressional Republicans and letting them know we will not go back,” said Rep. Barbara Lee of California. “We walked out today for A Day Without a Woman to send a clear message: that we stand with our sisters across the country who have walked out in defense of equal rights for women…We are raising our voices for the millions of women who can’t.”

Amid signs reading “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” Lee hailed women of color who “work twice as hard for half the pay”. Her colleagues denounced the high rates of violence facing trans women, and the renewed threat of deportation facing many immigrants.

Rep. Brenda Lawrence of Michigan read out a list of statistics that would reflect a day without women. “A day without a woman is a day of great loss for America and for the world,” she said. “A day without a woman is a day without the primary or sole earner for 40% of households” with young children. “A day without a woman is a day without 47% of the nation’s workforce. A day without a woman is a day without 80% of the health care workforce in America” and “close to 80% of the elementary and middle school educators in this country.”

“You would think our numbers would be enough to convince people of the needs for equality for women in America,” she concluded. “But we still have a long way to go.”

Happy #InternationalWomensDay! #DayWithoutAWoman ❤❤❤

A post shared by Corinne Falotico (@corinne_fal) on

White House statement on IWD

The White House office of the Press Secretary released the following statement to mark International Women’s Day.

International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate and reflect upon the meaningful progress women have made throughout society, while also acknowledging that there is still much work that remains to be done to ensure the complete and consequential participation of women in all spheres of economic, political, and public life. Throughout our history, women have made enormous contributions in the service of our country, and we know that as a Nation, America will only become stronger, more prosperous, and better able to meet our shared goals, as women achieve greater access to a level playing field.

The United States, as a beacon of hope and a leader in promoting women’s rights, is deeply committed to empowering women both at home and abroad. Our policies will work to advance the economic empowerment of women by promoting entrepreneurship and equal access to education, employment opportunities, and training adapted to a new economic landscape.

Together, America looks forward to a bright future with women in higher-wage jobs throughout high-growth sectors. America remains committed to empowering women around the world to realize their full potential within the global marketplace. And with our international partners, America will build upon the legacy of previous generations of women who have bravely broken through both economic and political barriers.

It was with these goals in mind that, as one of its first initiatives, this Administration ramped up efforts to promote women in business by launching the United States-Canada Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. The United States will continue to work with Canada and other partners around the globe to ensure that all women have the opportunity to succeed.

Today, the United States renews its commitment to fostering economic growth and job creation by harnessing the full potential of women in our economy. This Administration will work diligently to encourage women to enter and succeed in the workforce while addressing the many barriers women still face in achieving economic success, including those that impede women’s access to capital, markets, and networking opportunities.

Just as the statement went live, dozens of House Democrats stood on the steps of the US Capitol to argue the threat the Trump administration posed to women’s reproductive rights, women of color, Muslim women, trans women, minimum wage-earners, and women immigrants.

Here’s an aerial shot of the protest in New York:

A sea of women in red right outside of work! #internationalwomensday #daywithoutawoman

A post shared by Melanie Bowen (@mabcat) on

Hundreds have started to gather at the southeast corner of Central Park in New York City as part of the US strike for women’s rights.

"A #DayWithoutAWoman is a day without me!"

NYC: Meet us at 59th & 5th! pic.twitter.com/j9xET6112c

— Women's March (@womensmarch) March 8, 2017

The rally, for women’s economic equality and freedom from violence will culminate in a march, all taking place in the immediate vicinity of Trump Tower.

Organizers of International Women’s Day called for a general strike of US women to represent “the women who have been left behind”, such as women of color, Muslim women, trans women, and working-class women.

“Especially surrounding Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, there’s been this idea that feminism is somehow about women becoming powerful and successful CEOs,” aid Tithi Bhattacharya, an associate professor at Purdue University and one of the people who first called for the strike in a February op-ed for the Guardian. “The goal of 8 March is to make feminism a threat to the system and to talk about the feminism about the 99% rather than the 1%.”

US House Dems walkout on International Women's Day

Watch a livestream of US House Democrats staging a walkout to mark International Women’s Day.

Updated

Chirlane McCray, the first lady of New York City, marks International Women’s Day:

In the US, Michael Bennett of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks pledged his “unconditional solidarity with the women’s strike on International Women’s Day”:

As a black man in America, I sometimes get overwhelmed and discouraged by what I see — from the police killings of unarmed black men, to the unequal educational system, to the mass incarceration of poor people of color in for-profit prisons. But when I look in my daughters’ eyes, I see the courage of Harriet Tubman, the patience of Rosa Parks, the soul of Ida B. Wells, the passion of Fannie Lou Hamer and the heart of Angela Davis. I see the future. I see hope. And I’m inspired because it will be women who lead the future. That is why I am writing to express my unconditional solidarity with the women’s strike on International Women’s Day, March 8.

It would be easy for me to say that I am supporting this day of resistance because I have three daughters and I want nothing to stand in their way as they attempt to achieve their goals. I could also say that I am doing this because my wife, Pele — my best friend and soulmate — is of Samoan descent and has lived the struggle of being a woman and the daughter of immigrants. But this issue is a lot bigger than my dreams for my own family. It’s about the women across the earth who are suffering: women who are less worried about a glass ceiling than they are about a collapsing floor. It’s about women of color across the earth who live on less than one dollar a day. It’s about all women who are subject to sexual assault and violence.

Read more at the Players’ Tribune.

Worldwide, the gender gap – which includes employment, education, and earnings – actually got worse in 2016, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report. But Toyin Saraki wrote in December that the long-term trend is toward parity:

A reminder that while the status quo is unacceptable, the longer-term trend is pointed towards gender equality. And this trend is global, not simply confined to the western world. Just look at healthcare. Maternal mortality remains a mass killer in the developing world. It may not be as newsworthy as gender-based violence or as stark and immediate as disease or starvation, but it is the second biggest killer of women of reproductive age in the developing world. This is changing.

Due to a concerted focus not least through the recently concluded UN Millennium Development Goals, the amount of women dying in childbirth has fallen by 45% since 1990. A staggering achievement. Gender-based development campaigns aimed at educating women have also pushed aside outmoded approaches to pregnancy and family planning, empowering women to take control of their own welfare in one of the most vulnerable periods of their lives.

Improvement is also being made in education. While secondary education remains a critical problem in many developing countries, the challenge of primary school enrolment has virtually been solved. Enrolment rates globally are now on a near parity between boys and girls.

And what of the workplace? The top-line figures may be bleak, but there is evidence to suggest slow change is happening. A study of 70 countries, including many in the developing world, showed that since 1995 the gender wage gap has narrowed from 28% to 20%. The gap is still far too big. But it is falling.

Watch: Why is society so frightened of women without children?

Childless: why is society so frightened of women without children?

The proportion of women not having children before the menopause has reached a record high in the last decade. In this video, women from the UK, France and Spain discuss the taboo of childlessness that they say comes from a dated societal structure, and mark International Women’s Day by spotlighting female identity beyond motherhood.

The tiny Balkan state of Montenegro saw hundreds protest state cuts to maternal aid. The AP reports:

Showing support on the International Women’s Day, hundreds have joined a protest by women in tiny Montenegro against cuts in state aid for mothers of three or more children.

Financial help for some 21,500 women in Montenegro - a country of 620,000 people - has been slashed by 25 percent amid efforts to tighten public spending. About half of the women on the list are jobless.

Montenegrin women have been protesting for days demanding that the government decision be reversed. Protesters on Wednesday blocked traffic outside the parliament building in downtown Podgorica, the capital, shouting “thieves.”

Montenegro’s economy has been weak despite recent progress in the Balkan country’s efforts at joining NATO and the European Union.

The world's gender gap is on track to close…in 169 years

The European Parliament’s Greek vice president, Dimitris Papadimoulis, greeted International Women’s Day with a shocking forecast from the World Economic Forum.

“The World Economic Forum predicts that the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186,” Papadimoulis told the parliament in a speech replayed on Greek media. “Yes, you heard well, until 2186. Only in 169 years! It is more than obvious that we have to speed up this process. We have to act now.”

Greek women have suffered the country’s ongoing economic crisis disproportionately. Although seven years of economic meltdown have narrowed a gap in the employment rate between men and women – because of soaring unemployment rates among men, not an increase in the hiring of women – Greece’s employment gender gap remains well above the European Union average. In 2015, the gap was 18 percentage points in Greece, compared with 11 across the rest of the EU.

In a Facebook post to mark International Women’s Day, Alexis Tsipras, Greece’s leftist prime minister and leader of the Syriza political party, hailed the women worldwide who “battle for equality, justice and dignity.” He singled out Nadia Murrad, a former ISIS sex slave who is now a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.

Updated

"A Day Without a Woman," explained.

International Women’s Day: how can you support the global strike?

Women from more than 40 countries are staging a strike from all work, paid and unpaid, to highlight women’s power within global economies. But what if you can’t join them? Here are other ways you can show solidarity, from wearing red to avoiding the shops for the day.

A Guardian reader shares her International Women’s Day protest from Switzerland:

Editorial note: This has been uploaded on behalf of Bene

In Zurich there was no formal strike organised, so I joined the International Women’s Strike by partaking in a silent protest. I couldn't pass on the chance of standing up for what is right especially, in a movement that is taking part across so many countries. Instead of outright striking and not showing up to work, I am protesting through silence to raise awareness of gender-based inequalities. My protest started at 6am and I will not speak again until 6pm. I came to work wearing the sign in the picture. I work in a male dominated field, so this has been attracting a lot of attention which is good, but also incredibly scary.

So far people have mostly ignored the huge sign hanging from my neck, but if anybody starts reading it, I hand them out a card with a short list of reasons to explain why I'm doing this. Sometimes I am met with ridicule, but even then people want to engage and discuss. A couple of times there has been heartfelt support and admitarion. It's been hard and I have 5 more hours to go, but maybe, if we all keep at this, one day there will be progress.

Updated

Outrage spreads over viral video of a teacher describing domestic abuse

On the eve of International Women’s Day, a viral video of a teacher appearing to brag to his class about domestic abuse illustrated just how pervasive Mexico’s machismo culture remains.

The footage showed Ramón Urrea Bernal, a teacher at a public high school in Guadalajara, affirming that if his wife didn’t consent to sex he’d “grab her by the hair, give her a fucking beating [and say] ‘Hey stupid, if you don’t know how to do anything else at least open your legs.’”

The coarse, 90-second rant concluded with Urrea declaring that he’d throw his wife and children out on the street if she denied him sex. It served as a stark reminder of how many in Mexico are exposed to misogyny from an early age.

As outrage spread across social media yesterday, the university that runs the school said Urrea would face administrative procedures. Urrea apologised for his language but claimed he was merely acting out an “example of domestic violence” to highlight the problem.

“How dare he say these things when he’s supposed to educate people? How are his pupils going to treat women with teachers like him?” asked Karla, a 15-year-old student from the school. “Instead of leading by example he does the opposite. He’s encouraging others to think like he does,” added Giselle, another schoolgirl.

“It’s very worrying. These messages are reinforced everywhere in Mexico, in television, religion, the family and now even in schools,” said Sofía Virgen, a local representative of the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defence of Women’s Rights. “This creates the culture of machismo that results in people committing femicides.”

See photos from celebrations of International Women's Day around the world

Thousands worldwide gathered to protest the conditions for their countries’ women.

In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, protesters urged President Rodrigo Duterte to address the pressing problems of lack of food, jobs and peace instead of killings and violence.

In Manila, the capital of the Philippines, protesters urged President Rodrigo Duterte to address the pressing problems of lack of food, jobs and peace instead of killings and violence.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez Photograph: Bullit Marquez/AP

In Melbourne, Australia, thousands called for decolonization, and end to racism, economic justice for all women, and reproductive rights.

In Melbourne, Australia, thousands called for decolonization, and end to racism, economic justice for all women, and reproductive rights.
Daniel Pockett/Getty Images Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

See more.

A bookstore in Cleveland kicked off International Women’s Day by turning around every book on their shelves written by a male author.
Courtesy Loganberry Books Photograph: Courtesy of Loganberry Books

A bookstore in Cleveland kicked off International Women’s Day by turning around every volume on their shelves written by a male author. It took the eight employees of Loganberry Books, a new, used and rare bookstore with a feminist bent, two hours to go through nearly 10,000 titles.

The books will stay facing backwards for several weeks throughout Women’s History month. Harriet Logan, the store’s founder, said the act was “a metaphor of silencing the male voice – at least for this month”.

From Heat Street:

To draw attention to female authors, a Cleveland bookstore celebrated Women’s History Month by turning every male-written book in the fiction room backward on its shelf.

Eight of the all-female employees of Loganberry Books went through about 10,000 books, a process that took about two hours. They’ll leave the books turned around for the next two weeks.

“Pictures are loud communicators,” Harriett Logan, the bookstore’s founder and owner, told Heat Street. “So we are in essence not just highlighting the disparity but bringing more focus to the women’s books now, because they’re the only ones legible on the shelf.”

“To give the floor and attention to women, you need to be able to hear them,” Logan told Heat Street. “And if someone else is talking over them, that just doesn’t happen.”

"Guerilla art" on Wall Street calls for more women on corporate boards

As part of a campaign to push Wall Street firms to place more women on their boards, the U.S. fund manager State Street on Tuesday installed a statue of girl opposite the famous Charging Bull.
Reuters/Brendan McDermid Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

As part of a campaign to push Wall Street firms to place more women on their boards, the U.S. fund manager State Street on Tuesday installed a statue of girl opposite the famous Charging Bull.

From Reuters:

Although women have made some headway against the glass ceiling, State Street said one out of four of the companies that make up the Russell 3000 Index still have no female representation on their boards.

“Today, we are calling on companies to take concrete steps to increase gender diversity on their boards, and have issued clear guidance to help them begin to take action,” State Street Global Advisors CEO Ron O’Hanley said in a statement.

Much the same as the charging bull, the little bronze girl by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the morning as “guerilla art,” McNally said. But, unlike the bull, the firm discussed it with the city beforehand so that it could remain at least temporarily.

“We’re actively pursuing that it stays for a month,” she said. “If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity, we’re absolutely on board with that.”

Thousands in Dublin protest the criminalization of abortion

In Ireland’s capital, thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic in the city center to protest the country’s near-total ban on abortion.

Large crowds have blocked O'Connell Bridge in Dublin as part of #Strike4Repeal protest: https://t.co/Dz4cJhiWga pic.twitter.com/dMUvaFArLu

— Newstalk (@NewstalkFM) March 8, 2017

Anyone who thinks young people don't care about politics should come witness #Strike4Repeal takeover of O'C Bridge pic.twitter.com/xPFVPssgDh

— Pádraig Rice (@PadraigRice) March 8, 2017

DC: Join us 12pm today at a #DayWithoutAWoman gathering with Women in Congress https://t.co/wyzfwQm2Jh pic.twitter.com/KGbRkhngSV

— Women's March (@womensmarch) March 8, 2017

The Women’s March is calling on people in Washington, DC to rally on the steps of Congress while Democratic women in the US House stage a symbolic walkout.

I march for ______: a look at female activism in Trump’s America

In celebration of International Women’s Day, the short film “I March for ______,” directed by Sam Campodonico-Ludwig, examines the growth of women’s activism in the US with an intimate look at their divisions and similarities.

IWD in Argentina

In Argentina, a day of protest kicks off at 12pm ART with a “ruidazo” – a widespread, noisy protest carried out by banging objects, usually pots and pans, from balconies or on sidewalks outside the home or workplace.

The ruidazo will be followed by a 5pm march in the capital city of Buenos Aires from Congress to the Casa Rosada presidential palace.

Argentina is home to the Ni Una Menos movement (or “Not One Less,” meaning not
one more woman lost to male violence) a grassroots response to Argentina’s high rates of deadly domestic violence.

From 2008 to 2016, the rate at which Argentinian women are murdered shot up 78%. In 2012, Argentina passed a law in 2012 that recognized domestic violence homicides and honor killings as “femicide”.

There were 322 victims of femicide last year in Argentina, or one woman murdered every 30 hours. So far in 2017, the violence has not abated. Casa del Encuentro NGO, a safe home for victims of male violence, estimates that this year, one woman has died every 18 hours as a result of intimate partner or family violence.

Today’s 5pm march will be titled “We’re Not All Here,” in reference to the women lives have been lost.

Updated

More school districts in the US are shutting down as the #DayWithoutAWoman campaign leaves them short-handed. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, Alexandria Virginia Public Schools in Virginia, and now, Prince George’s County in Maryland:

Several Prince George’s County schools are still serving lunch for students who rely on its school lunch program.

In the US, Women Democrats in the House will stage a walkout

In the US House of Representatives, Democratic women are planning to stage a walkout Wednesday afternoon in solidarity with the women’s strike. Several of them will speak in honor of International Women’s Day, the Hill reports, and then, shortly after noon, they will walk out.

“I think it’s important women in Congress show our solidarity,” Rep. Lois Frankel, of Florida, told the Hill. Frankel helped arrange the walkout.

The women won’t be missing any votes, such as a vote on a defense spending bill that is expected to pass.

“We considered a lot of different options, but our feeling is that there is so much mischief going on in this Congress that we cannot turn our backs,” Frankel said. “We think it would actually be sort of the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

International Women’s Day is getting underway in the Americas. In the US, some media companies are already participating in the women’s strike, or #DayWithoutAWoman. MTV’s social media accounts are on autopilot:

And the news sites Bustle and Romper have gone dark completely:

For 24 hours, we will not be creating any new content on either of our sites or on any of our sites’ social channels. Because, quite simply, without women, there is no Bustle. There is no Romper. Without our editorial team, which is 97 percent female, we would be unable to produce a site that aims to provide support and a megaphone for women to express how they’re feeling about the world. And there’s no time like the present to prove just how important those women’s voices are to the world — to media, to business, and beyond.

Some of its staff will spend the day volunteering for domestic violence shelters, food banks, and “other charities that reach out to women and marginalized communities in need.”

International Women’s Day events will be continuing throughout the globe today, and I am now handing over to my colleague Molly Redden in New York.

Thank you to everyone who has tweeted, commented and emailed - and apologies to those I didn’t get time to answer or include.

We still want your stories:

  • You can contribute via Guardian Witness here
  • Tweet Molly on @mtredden

Call for more statues to celebrate women in the UK

Can you tell we were having a hoot? statue to celebrate women biscuit factory workers, past and present #crackerpackers @helenpidd #iwd2017 pic.twitter.com/bkzpikW7yT

— Hazel Reeves (@HazelReeves) March 8, 2017

Across the north of England, pressure is building for more women to be celebrated in statue form.

In many cities and towns, the only women immortalised in stone or marble are either Queen Victoria, naked nymphs or other allegorical figures. In Carlisle, sculptor Hazel Reeves has just been commissioned to produce a statue of two “cracker packers” — female workers at the local McVities biscuit factory.

Reeves has recently been shortlisted or the Emmeline Pankhurst statue commission for St Peter’s Square, Manchester, and is well-known for her seven foot bronze sculpture of Sir Nigel Gresley in King’s Cross Station.

In Leeds, local MP Rachel Reeves is leading the call for a new female statue to join Henry Moore’s naked reclining lady outside the city art gallery. Possible subjects include Olympic gold boxer Nicola Adams, social reformer Mary Gawthorpe, novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford or cycling hero Beryl Burton.

IWD in Italy

Italy celebrates International Women's Day with FREE entry to all museums and cultural sites! #BeBoldForChange #IWD2017 #IWD #8marzoalmuseo pic.twitter.com/NxtMdnVggz

— CPPP (@CultinConflict) March 3, 2017

Italy is marking International Women’s Day by giving women free entry to all museum and cultural sites.

But on a much more sober note, Italian president Sergio Mattarella used a speech in honour of IWD at the Presidential Palace in Rome to highlight the “tragic, disturbing social emergency” of femicide in Italy following a raft of high-profile murders.

According to statistics released late last year, more than 100 women are killed in Italy each year in acts that are considered to be gender-related, in most cases by a woman’s partner or ex-partner.

It is estimated that another 3.5m women have been victims of stalking but that only 22 per cent of those victims have reported the incidents or sought help, according to Istat, the national statistics agency.

Mattarella thanked women for their “daily and often strenuous action in favour of a fairer society, more welcoming, more united and integrated”.

Strike for women’s rights – we have a world to win, and the fight starts here | Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor https://t.co/lkvG2gWPbu

— Guardian Opinion (@guardianopinion) March 8, 2017

Impressive smack down from Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor of people who have dismissed today’s strike for International Women’s Day as “privileged”.

There have been some who have suggested that in calling for women to “strike” we are jeopardising those who do not have the “luxury” to call off work. Indeed, organisers of the women’s strike have even been described as privileged. This is as ridiculous as it condescending to both the organisers and working-class women, who apparently are not viewed as capable of making decisions about their own activity on 8 March. Aside from ensuring there are multiple ways for women and their supporters to participate in the strike – including taking part in actions at work such as wearing red, as a gesture of solidarity – we have been inspired by the genuine grassroots nature that is animating cities, colleges, and communities across the country.

...

In total, there are more than 60 events planned as part of today’s strike. We have no idea how many people will participate. I don’t expect the same millions who came out on 21 January to take part. But I do suspect thousands will be involved, and that is significant. The point was never to just hold a successful event, but to begin to knit together a network of ordinary people who can revive the struggles for racial and economic justice, sexual liberation and reproductive freedom that have always been at the nexus of the struggle for women’s liberation. We have a world to win, and the women’s strike is an important step in that process.

Protesters arrest in Russia: reports

AFP are reporting that a group of feminist activists have been detained in Moscow, after protesting by the Kremlin walls with a banner reading “Men have been in power 200 years, down with them!”

AFP reports:

OVD Info, a website that monitors detentions of activists, wrote that seven people were detained including two journalists from Novaya Gazeta opposition newspaper and a photographer and taken to a police station for questioning.

Rights lawyer Mari Davtyan wrote on Facebook that eight had been detained including journalists.

One of the detained activists, performance artist Yekaterina Nenasheva, posted a video of the protest on Facebook showing the activists standing on top of an artificial grotto in a park by the Kremlin walls, holding smoke flares.

“Moscow and St Petersburg feminists who seized the Kremlin congratulate you on March 8,” Nenasheva wrote.

The activists’ banner referred to the fact that Russia’s last female ruler was Catherine the Great, who died in 1796, more than 200 years ago.

TV Rain independent channel reported that the women also carried banners reading “A woman for president” and “We are the majority.”

The protest resembled those by punk group Pussy Riot, who in 2012 lit flares and sang a song about President Vladimir Putin on a platform on Red Square.

March 8 is a public holiday in Russia but is mainly celebrated by giving flowers and chocolates to women rather than stressing the need for gender equality.

In a video address to the nation’s women, Putin said that he and other men “will do all we can so that our beloved women are lavished with care and attention and smile more often.”

More funding for UK domestic violence services

The UK government has announced £20m of funding for services to support women and children who are victims of domestic violence in today’s budget.

New #domesticabuse funding announced! Great news - as 1/3 specialist services now have NO dedicated funds #IWD2017 https://t.co/6Rcm3za3m3

— Polly Neate (@pollyn1) March 8, 2017

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, welcomed the “desperately needed” boost to the sector:

It’s not a moment too soon, as Women’s Aid’s most recent national survey found that a third of domestic abuse services are running with no dedicated funding.

The Prime Minister’s strong commitment to helping survivors of domestic abuse is a fitting message for International Women’s Day. With two women a week on average being killed by a partner or ex-partner in England and Wales, something has to change.

IWD in Germany

When I left my flat for work this morning, my male neighbour from downstairs made a point of congratulating me on International Women’s Day and warmly shook my hand. The day has more significance for ordinary citizens here than it does in the UK - most particularly in eastern parts, where under communism women - almost all of whom had jobs - were feted on this day, with flowers or being given time off work, sometimes even meals or drinks laid on by the boss, etc. Almost 30 years after the collapse of communism, this still happens in some workplaces, though the tradition is dying out.

It’s considered important enough that editorials in several leading German newspapers choose focus on it, arguing that recent global developments underline how we need IWD more than ever at a time when women’s rights are so under attack.

The liberal Süddeutsche Zeitung from Munich writes: “The rise of populists in Germany, Russia, Turkey, America, Hungary, France and Poland has changed everything. They have brought back an image of women which we had thought had long been overcome. In Russia domestic violence will in future be treated as a much milder crime than it was previously, despite the fact that every year 12,000 women are battered to death by their partners. We should be under no illusion - despite regional differences, rights are being eroded in a similarly retrograde and discriminatory way. Women’s rights are not collateral damage in the fight for the greater good, they are a barometer, a symptom of the internal state of a society.

According to The Leipziger Volkszeitung: “Trump, Putin and Erdogan are currently competing with each other in front of all of us for the position of biggest macho. What should we be doing to counteract this particularly difficult to deal with type of man?...Our motto should be ‘the world needs strong women’.

The Lausitzer Rundschau, from Cottbus (like Leipzig in the former communist east) comments: “those who wants to change something but trusts in politics to do this, will wait forever. It was never a comfortable thing to fight for rights and freedoms. Dear women, you must become active yourselves, strengthen your networks and stand up together for your common interests. And we men should be your allies in this, and not just on this day.”

This is wonderful footage of the Suffragettes marching on London in 1915 for the right to vote and equal pay from the British Film Insitute.

The fight for women's rights, 1915: Suffragettes march on London for equal pay and the right to vote #BritainOnFilm #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/ICthcuLhJa

— BFI (@BFI) March 8, 2017

IWD in Spain

On #IWD, my i/v with @CapdeArguelles - Retrieving an untold story: voices of #Spanish female artists finally heard https://t.co/SMUZlHd0il

— Sam Jones (@swajones) March 8, 2017

Some campaigners have argued that Spain still overlooks the massive contribution that women have made to society, culture and arts.

As part of Madrid’s belated efforts to honour some of the women who have been overshadowed by their more famous male peers, the city’s mayor will unveil a plaque today to commemorate the Lyceum Women’s Club, a meeting place for some of the leading intellectuals of pre-civil war Spain.

The drive to remember their lives and contributions with plaques is being led by Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles, a professor of Hispanic and gender studies at the University of Exeter.

Capdevila-Argüelles, and her film-maker collaborator, Tania Ballo, have so far provided the city council with research on more than 15 women, including the journalist, actor, writer and diplomat Isabel Oyarzábal, the lawyer and politician Victoria Kent and the poet Ernestina de Champourcín.

“People, both Spanish and British, have written about Spain’s ghosts, but the most important ghosts are the women – the invisible 50%,” Capdevila-Argüelles told the Guardian recently.

“The role of history and an awareness of our past is utterly fundamental. It’s about learning about our diversity, our cultural heritage, about learning about our first attempt at genuine democracy at the beginning of the 20th century, which failed. We need to learn from our past; it’s there as a lesson.”

This is a fascinating tale of the history of women in science for International Women’s Day.

Rousing words:

[E]ven though it may increasingly feel like the end of the road for those enlightenment values that people around the world will march for on 22 April, as long as we show up, we have hope. A quote normally attributed to the anthropologist Margaret Mead puts it best: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

IWD in the Asia Pacific region

.@diyana_yahaya tells why she is striking today #IWD2017 #GlobalStrike #WomenStrike pic.twitter.com/ePP24M8yag

— APWLD (@apwld) March 8, 2017

More than 500 women in Thailand, Philippines and India participated in a global solidarity strike for their rights today, according to The Asia Pacific Forum on Women Law and Development (APWLD).

APWLD’s Regional Coordinator Kate Lappin said:

This action is part of ongoing efforts to increase the power of global solidarity strikes as we believe solidarity is the only possible antidote to the growing authoritarianism, deepening inequalities, runaway climate change and sexist leadership the world is experiencing.

Edna Velarde of Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women , Philippines said:

The peasant women joined today’s strike to call on the Duterte administration to turn down neoliberal policies detrimental to the country and fulfill its promises to the Filipino people to provide land to the tillers, food on the table and respect for human rights.

Elizabeth Khumallambam of Nari Shakti Manch, India said:

Women working in unorganized sector continue to face discrimination - unequal wages, sexual harassment at workplaces, absence of social security and maternity benefits. In voicing these suppressions, our strength lies in solidarities across spectrums.

How to win a feminist battle – six activists share their secrets | Leymah Gbowee, Laura Coryton, Krystyna Kacpura,… https://t.co/5YMtWyub4X

— Guardian Opinion (@guardianopinion) March 8, 2017

This is an absolute must read for International Women’s Day, six inspiring activists share their secrets about how to win a feminist battle.

This from Leymah Gwobee, part of a group of mothers ended Liberia’s civil war via non-violent action, including a sex strike:

We were ordinary mothers who decided it was no longer enough to beg for peace. Instead, we came together to demand peace, justice, equality and inclusion in political decision-making. We used our bodies, broken by hunger, poverty, desperation and destitution, to stare down the barrel of the gun.

Fourteen years later, we can comfortably say that we did the unimaginable.

Woman dies in Wolverhampton, UK

Sobering news of a domestic stabbing in Wolverhampton in the UK on IWD. It is believed a man attacked two women, killing one and critically injuring another before killing himself.

According to Women’s Aid on average two women are killed by their partner or ex-partner every week in England and Wales.

This from my colleague Jamie Grierson:

Two people have died following a domestic stabbing at a block of flats, including the attacker, in a Wolverhampton incident that sparked a significant emergency services response including armed police and air ambulances.

Police were called to a block of flats in Leasowes Drive, in the Merry Hill area of the city, at around 9.45am where it is believed a man attacked two women before inflicting stab injuries on himself, West Midlands police said.

Officers used stun grenades as they stormed the flat in a bid to distract and detain the knifeman, the force said.

A woman believed to be in her 30s died at the scene while the male suspect, also believed to be in his 30s, was pronounced dead a short time later, WMP said.

Nadja Sayej has written a lovely piece about the Iranian TV that is promoting women’s rights. Worth a read this IWD. Here’s a taster:

‘Oops, I did it again,” was Maryam Faghihimani’s reaction when the Iranian regime accused her TV show of the horrible crime of promoting women’s rights. She immediately took to Facebook, explaining to her friends that a state news site had also blurred out her bare arms and legs, to protect their honour. “I am humble and proud of those crimes and sin,” she added, “and will continue my efforts.”

Satellite TV is becoming a powerful way for Iranian women to connect with the wider world. Over 70% of Iranian households have satellites to watch international television, and one of the most popular stations is the London-based Manoto TV. A liberal Persian channel with over three million Facebook followers, Manoto airs reality TV, cooking shows – and now, its first ever women’s talk show, a Middle Eastern version of the American smash-hit The View.

The show – Samte No (which translates as New Direction) – is a huge step forward in a country where YouTube and other anti-Islamic websites are blocked and it is banned for women to dance, perform music on stage, ride bikes, watch male sports teams, wear leggings or reject their husband’s sexual advances. “Wearing makeup or even nail polish, you’ll pay a fine,” explains Faghihimani. “Hijab is mandatory and any tight outfits will result in arrest by the moral police.”

This from GuardianWitness:

Kripa Joshi, an illustrator from Nepal, is celebrating International Women’s Day with five generations of women in her family

Kripa Joshi, an illustrator from Nepal, is celebrating International Women’s Day with five generations of women in her family.

She is also the creator of the character Miss Moti who emerged from Kripa’s struggle with weight and whose name means a big woman in Nepali. To mark today she’s highlighting some Miss Moti-vational messages.

Updated

Donald Trump tweets to mark IWD

Feminists striking, marching and wearing red in solidarity for International Women’s Day today will surely be delighted to hear that US president Donald Trump has tweeted to mark the day.

On International Women's Day, join me in honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2017

I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2017

For fun, here is a truncated selection of the times Trump has been accused of misogyny:

Critics reacted accordingly:

@yashar @realDonaldTrump there is literally a Wikipedia page about his boasts of sexual assault. https://t.co/O4ezQH2nxe

— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) March 8, 2017

.@realDonaldTrump Was calling Megyn Kelley a "news bimbo" showing her tremendous respect?

— Jordan Uhl (@JordanUhl) March 8, 2017

Never shy of getting in on the action, singer Lily Allen tweeted:

.@realDonaldTrump FREE MELANIA

— Lily (@lilyallen) March 8, 2017

IWD in Poland

Party time at Law and Justice HQ. #IWD pic.twitter.com/ipk4JIzC1v

— Christian Davies (@crsdavies) March 8, 2017

This year’s International Women’s Day has huge resonance in Warsaw and across Poland.

Today women have gathered outside the Law and Justice headquarters to protest at continuing discrimination against women and to stand up for women’s reproductive rights.

Polish women attracted worldwide attention in October during the so-called ‘Black Protest’ against a blanket ban on abortion under consideration in the Polish parliament that would have prohibited terminations under almost all circumstances, including of pregnancies resulting from rape and incest.

The government beat a hasty retreat in the face of the protests, but campaigners warn that Polish women remain under threat from the government and its relationship with hardline elements of the Polish Catholic Church - a feeling shared by many believers and non-believers alike.

As Jaga, 34, told the Guardian:

Whether you have experienced childbirth, or you know someone whose child died after delivery, or you know someone having to raise a disabled child alone, women are sharing stories.

These are not topics you raise at the dinner table at Christmas, but thanks to the abortion bill, people started to talk about them.

It is the first IWM since many Polish women found their voice, and won. There is now a palpable sense that if and when change comes to Poland, it will have been its women that won it.

Jessica Chastain joins an International Women’s Day rally in Warsaw, Poland.
Actor Jessica Chastain joins an International Women’s Day rally in Warsaw, Poland. Photograph: East News/REX/Shutterstock

Updated

Women across the globe: #BeBoldForChange

The UK government’s department of international development are having a busy International Women’s Day and have made this short video highlighting the work of women who manifest this year’s theme of #BeBoldForChange.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said:

We all know that women are part of the solution; that women’s participation in education, health, politics and peace building increases the chances of a more prosperous and stable future.

Yet we must also remain alive to the many challenges that still come before girls and women to have an equal part in this story. So we stand with them all, in every way.

IWD in Spain

On #IWD, my i/v with @CapdeArguelles - Retrieving an untold story: voices of #Spanish female artists finally heard https://t.co/SMUZlHd0il

— Sam Jones (@swajones) March 8, 2017

Seventeen women have been killed so far this year by their partners or ex-partners in Spain, writes my colleague Sam Jones in Madrid.

The figure means that more women have died as a result of gender-based violence in the first four months of 2017 than died over the course of last year, when the total stood at 11.

Statistics also show that this year has already overtaken 2008 (15 deaths) as the worst year on record for such violence.

The situation has prompted protests and led a group of women to go on a month-long hunger strike in the famous Puerta del Sol square in central Madrid. The strikers ended their protest on Tuesday but vowed to press on with their 25-point plan to tackle gender-based violence.

IWD in Germany

The German composer Fanny Mendelssohn is finally due to be recognised in Britain as a musician with the talent to match her brother, the more famous Felix, when a piano sonata long attributed to him is performed at lunchtime today. The British premiere of Fanny’s Easter Sonata which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 at 1pm - is as much a tribute to the German woman, who wrote it 140 years ago, as it is to the many women composers over the ages who have not received the recognition they deserve.

The manuscript of ‘Easter Sonata’ was first identified as being Fanny’s work in 2010, when an American academic, Angela Mace Christian, tracked it down to a private archive in France and had it analysed.

Fanny was only 23 when she wrote it. She had referred to the piece in her diary, including the fact she had played it at home in April 1829. But like most of the 500 works she wrote, it never came to public attention.Pianist Sofya Gulyak will resurrect the work at the Royal College of Music. Fanny’s great great great granddaughter, Shiela Hayman, tells her story in The Guardian today.

IWD in France

In France a “strike” called for by feminist organisations is due to start at 3h40 this afternoon. This is the symbolic time after which French women are considered to work for free when their wages are compared with male colleagues.
In Paris there will be a gathering at Place de la République at 2pm followed by a march to Place de l’opera at 5.30. There are protests in cities across France.

But a recent controversy suggests France still has a long way to go before achieving gender equality.

Green party MP Denis Baupin was last year investigated after claims of sexual aggression and harassment against four women. The women were, according to investigators, convincing witnesses, giving “measured declarations that did not change and were corroborated... about events some of which could be considered criminal”. One of the women is a French MP for the Green/Ecology party, one is the party secretary, one a local mayor and one a regional councillor. However, the case was dropped because it was out of time as the alleged harassment happened in the late 1990s.Now, Baupin, 54, has said he is going to sue the women for making “false accusations”.

Putin wishes Russian women 'Happy Women's Day'

Russian president Vladimir Putin has issued a gushing message to the women of Russia, praising their “beauty and vitality” and, of course, their timekeeping abilities.

Today is International Women's Day. Congratulations from the President https://t.co/kxusMoQcIJ pic.twitter.com/MY4zqRIJgC

— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) March 8, 2017

In a statement Putin said:

Dear women: mothers, grandmothers, daughters, wives, friends, our nearest and dearest ones, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on International Women’s Day!

You fill this world with beauty and vitality, giving warmth and comfort, cordiality and harmony with your tenderness and generosity of spirit.

You care day and night for your children, grandchildren and your family. Even today, on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time. We often ask ourselves, how do they manage it all?

Many have pointed out that Putin has recently signed into law a controversial amendment that decriminalises some forms of domestic violence.

Dear women, who only exist in relationship to men, keep up the good work. If you don't, we can legally beat you. https://t.co/jgMWpr3BR9

— pollyrt (@pollyrt) March 8, 2017

@KremlinRussia_E Do not pretend you care about women, with the law you just introduced, making domestic violence acceptable again!

— Rose (@Rakpenguin63) March 8, 2017
A Moscow Metro employee gives tulips to a colleague at Komsomolskaya Station of the Moscow Metro to mark Women’s Day.
A Moscow Metro employee gives tulips to a colleague at Komsomolskaya Station of the Moscow Metro to mark Women’s Day. Photograph: TASS

Updated

Sexist Polish lawmaker to be punished

On International Women’s day the president of the European Parliament hhas vowed that a Polish lawmaker will be punished for sexist comments he made last week.

EU parliament President Antonio Tajani said that he intends to bring a “swift conclusion” to the probe into the remarks of radical right-winger Janusz Korwin-Mikke at the legislature and promised “a penalty commensurate with the gravity of the offence.”

During a debate on the pay gap between men and women Korwin-Mikke said: “Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less, that’s all.”

Arguing for a return to the Stone Age: Polish member of EU parliament Janusz Korwin-Mikke. Nicely shut down by @IratxeGarper. via @dw_europe pic.twitter.com/NBFGaU4qGT

— Andrew Stroehlein (@astroehlein) March 3, 2017

He could face sanctions such as a reprimand, a temporary suspension or a fine. Hopefully a big one.

IWD in the Middle East

#GCHR marks International Women’s Day 2017 in solidarity with WHRDs in the Gulf and neighbouring countrieshttps://t.co/C6S3YrOW1S

— Gulf Centre 4 HR (@GulfCentre4HR) March 8, 2017

In the Middle East the Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is marking International Women’s Day with a timely reminder of the need for greater protection for women human rights defenders in the region.

On IWD a march will take take in Lebanon, organised by the WHRDs Middle East and North Africa Coalition.

Here is a sobering reminder of the dangers and harassment people fighting for equality face in many countries throughout the world.

In 2017, hundreds of women are still in captivity, detention, exile, many are under surveillance, travel bans and judicial harassment, while others are subjected to torture, disappearance or murder as a result of their human rights activities.

In conflict zones, targeting women increases in parallel with the increase of violence, where sexual violence against girls and women is used as a tool of war, human trafficking, and early marriage plus other types of targetings puts women at greater risk.

The organisation points out that women in Iraq, Iraqi Kurdistan, Syria, and Yemen are targeted daily just for being women.

According to the GCHR they work “under government surveillance, risk of persecution, detention and torture for demanding their basic rights such as social rights in Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and political rights in Bahrain, while others are struggling to have a voice in shrinking civil spaces in countries including the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.”

The organisation points to 2017 as a year of momentous change for women in the middle east:

Despite all odds, women refuse to be submissive, oppressed, marginalised, used and excluded; instead they have found strength in solidarity, and collaborative work. The beginning of this year showed how women can mobilise their efforts to refuse patriarchy and challenge the status quo.

Iceland becomes first country to require proof of equal pay

If you needed any more reason to love the small but powerful nation of Iceland, here’s another: the country has just become the first country in the world to require companies to prove they offer equal pay regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and nationality.

This from the ministry of Social Affairs and Equality:

The certification requires companies with more than 25 employees to not only offer equal pay for equal work, but also equal pay for work of the same value. The Equal Pay Standard, on which the certification requirements are based, does this by assessing a company’s pay policies, classification of jobs according to equal value and wage research on the basis of the classification, as well as formalizing policies and processes related to pay decisions.

The move aims to help the country achieve its aim of eradicating the country’s gender gap by 2022

Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, Þorsteinn Víglundsson said:

As a country we set ourselves the challenge to eradicate the gender pay gap by 2022 but, despite taking steps such as introducing dedicated paid leave for new dads and 40% quotas for women on boards of larger companies, we have not made the progress we would have wished. It is the right time to do something radical about this issue.

We want to show the world that eradicating the gender pay gap is an achievable goal and we hope other nations will follow suit in adopting the Equal Pay Standard in years to come.

Iceland has a long and proud history of leading the way on gender equality. For the past eight years it has topped the World Economic Forum’s gender gap index.

The Economist recently named Iceland the world’s best place for working women – in comparison, the UK came in at No. 24.

You can read the joyous story of 90% of Icelandic women going on strike in 1975 here.

Updated

IWD in UK parliament

The UK parliament Women and Equalities Select Committee have done a video encouraging women to get into politics.

On #IWD some of our members and our Chair discuss #WomeninParliament #BeBoldForChange @jessphillips @Maria_MillerMP @AngelaCrawleyMP pic.twitter.com/4tFNqid8Lp

— Women&EqualitiesCtte (@Commonswomequ) March 8, 2017

The chair Maria Miller told me for a IWD story last week, that the WESC has been made permanent. Also, she believed having a female prime minister - coupled with MPs from both sides of the divide being prepared to work for common goals - was making a quiet difference to improving policy on women’s issues.

It’s worth following @5050Parliament for the campaign for better female representation in the UK parliament.

Yeah let's fix the #PowerGap call for #EqualSay SIGN & SHARE https://t.co/U8rnkFvC3n !!! https://t.co/uRfSCmDOqJ

— 50:50 Parliament (@5050Parliament) March 8, 2017

If you want to take one small action for IWD, you can sign their petition here:

An example of how people are using this year’s IWD to fight for political goals can be seen in Ireland. where women are preparing to strike and march in a bid to push the government to call a referendum on reproductive rights. People are gathering on the bridge in Dublin at 12.30.

You can read more about the push to repeal the 8th amendment, which amounts to a constitutional ban on abortion in Ireland, by my colleague Henry McDonald.

CLOSED today in solidarity @Strike_4_Repeal its time4Irish women to make choices over their own bodies & lives, it's time to #repealthe8th pic.twitter.com/li7z0zGYT7

— Bang Bang (@BangBangD7) March 8, 2017

If you're in Dublin, meet me on the Bridge at 12:30#strike4repeal #wewontwait pic.twitter.com/V94XPTm5fP

— Strike 4 Repeal (@Strike_4_Repeal) March 4, 2017

If you’re taking part in an event to mark International Women’s Day, we’d like you to share your experiences, photographs and video with us. If you’re not taking part in an event, you can send your messages of support too. You can click on the blue ‘Contribute’ button at the top of the live blog.

We recognise it may not always be safe to record or share your experiences – so please think about this when sharing your content with GuardianWitness.

Wikipedia honours women for IWD

Thanks to Rob Shaw who has directed me to the resplendent front page of Wikipedia today, which - among other fabulous women - is celebrating the achievements of top scouser Bessie Braddock. It’s worth checking out.

Bessie Braddock is the featured article on the front of Wikipedia today @LexyTopping https://t.co/dZpskpLWWk #InternationalWomensDay

— Rob Shaw (@WhatIsRobShaw) March 8, 2017

In Sheffield in the UK protesters are using the Women of Steel statue [see my colleague Helen Pidd’s previous story on the statue here] to voice their opposition to the new Bishop of Sheffield’s views on the ordination of women.

The Women of Steel statue being used today by protesters opposed to the new Bishop of Sheffield's views on ordination of women @BBCSheffield pic.twitter.com/mRZId1yCR5

— Andy Kershaw (@andyksheffield) March 8, 2017

Hello from London! And happy International Women’s Day to all. Huge thanks to the incredible Claire Phipps who has put in a sterling shift for the sisterhood from Australia.

I’ll be here for much of the day and I would love to hear your stories and see pictures of how you are marking the day. Are you striking? Wearing a specific colour? Get in touch!

I’m on alexandra.topping@theguardian.com and on twitter @lexytopping

Women perform behind ‘glass ceiling’ during rally to mark International Women’s Day in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Women perform behind ‘glass ceiling’ during rally to mark International Women’s Day in Tbilisi, Georgia. Photograph: David Mdzinarishvili/Reuters

Updated

I’m handing over the blog now to my colleague Lexy Topping in London – she’ll continue to update you on events, protests and everything else as International Women’s Day continues its way around the globe.

Thanks for reading and for your comments and contributions – do keep them coming.

A day without women?

A key feature of 2017’s International Women’s Day is the call for “a day without women” – for women to take the day off work (paid and unpaid, at home and out of the home); to avoid shopping for the day,“with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses”; and to wear red in solidarity.

In America, the call to strike has been led by the organisers of the Women’s March, which took place across the US (and the world) the day after Trump’s inauguration.

A group of feminist activists and academics wrote recently in the Guardian about the need to strike:

The idea is to mobilise women, including trans women, and all who support them in an international day of struggle – a day of striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, striking in educational institutions. These actions are aimed at making visible the needs and aspirations of those whom lean-in feminism ignored: women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women.

In embracing a feminism for the 99%, we take inspiration from the Argentinian coalition Ni Una Menos. Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women; the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements; the violence of mass incarceration; and the institutional violence against women’s bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion.

But Guardian columnist Lindy West, speaking on Australian TV this week, while agreeing that “protest is most effective when it disrupts people’s lives”, echoed concerns of others who are cautious about the proposed strike:

It would be tremendously effective if we could mobilise every single woman in the world …

A concern for me, as a very privileged, financially stable white woman who works from home … it’s very easy for me to say yes, everyone should go on strike but I want to be very cognisant of the fact there are very many women who cannot afford to lose one day’s worth of pay, let alone risk their job.

You can find details of strikes and other protests taking place around the world from Australia to Uruguay via the links on this page.

And here are some ways you can take part if you’re not striking:

International Women’s Day: how can you support the global strike?

Brendan Cox, whose wife Jo Cox was murdered last year, has shared this picture of the Labour MP for International Women’s Day:

Jo was passionate, beautiful, fearless, compassionate& strong.A role model for her daughter (and son) on International Women's day #IWD2017 pic.twitter.com/hQIdLSuhYM

— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) March 7, 2017

Updated

In the UK, International Women’s Day coincides – or collides – with the Budget.

Labour peer Shami Chakrabarti argues that austerity is a feminist issue, with women more likely to be single parents, earn less and work part-time than their male counterparts.

Shami Chakrabarti: austerity is a feminist issue

So, when's International Men's Day?

It’s 19 November, since you ask.

If you’d like to hear more about how International Men’s Day is on 19 November, can I suggest you follow comedian Richard Herring on Twitter, as he endures his annual feat of replying to all the people wondering when International Men’s Day is.

Here’s what Herring wrote for the Guardian on International Men’s Day in 2015:

International Women’s Day is on 8 March: 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) set aside to celebrate women and all of their achievements. And people get furious about it.

Surely, you might think, you could only be cross about it because that definitely isn’t enough time to celebrate the achievements of over than 50% of the population. But no …

So for the last two International Women’s Days I have tried to highlight this stupidity. I have got up early, logged on to Twitter and searched for the phrase “international men’s day”, found every single person who has tweeted the question and responded to them all individually: “It’s 19 November.”

There are thousands to get through. It goes on relentlessly, for hours and hours, but I try to get to them all because to see the same moronic question asked over and over again by people (who don’t even think just to check Google to make sure they’re not making an arse of themselves) is very funny, and shows exactly why an international women’s day is necessary.

Incidentally, nobody tweets me back to say: “Oh thanks for the information. I was wondering when it was.” Almost like they don’t want to know the answer to their own question.

My hope is that if I can spend a day a year dealing with this issue, then that means that everyone else can get on with making International Women’s Day about celebrating women and not complaining about the supposed raw deal men get. So I let men know that they do have a day if they want to celebrate themselves. Though not many of them do when it comes along, weirdly.

Do women's strikes work?

On 24 October 1975, the women of Iceland did no housework, to protest against their feeble, 5% representation in parliament. They technically went on everything-strike, but since their democratic exclusion was mirrored in the workplace, this functionally meant they stopped looking after their children and doing the washing-up (those who did have jobs worked in schools and nurseries, so those had to close as well). A staggering 90% of women took part, after the genius move of renaming it, not a strike, but a “Women’s Day Off”, dressing up stridency as me-time. Men had to take their children to work, which gave the event its other name: The Long Friday.

This action changed the face of Icelandic politics, delivering to Europe its first female president, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, five years later. But its significance in the wider feminist landscape is subtler, since that tension of where you situate domestic labour in the fight for equality is, if anything, more pronounced now than it was then. Feminism at home sounds a lot like nagging. The strike was underpinned by a movement, the radical Red Stockings in Iceland, and sister organisations across Europe making the case for paid housework.

We now broadly reject domestic responsibilities as innately female, so would struggle to galvanise action around them. Yet we still do most of them (statistically, I mean; I don’t personally, I am a slut) and they are still unpaid. I struggle to see much victory in this turn of events.

If you want victory, go to Poland: “The so-called Black Protest last October,” feminist activist Katarzyna Bielinska tells me, “was provoked by an attempt to tighten already the extremely restrictive abortion law in Poland by introducing an even more barbarian bill, banning abortion totally, making a woman who aborts liable for five years’ imprisonment, criminalising miscarriage and blocking prenatal foetus investigation and treatment.” Tens of thousands of women went on strike, or – this detail pleases me – went to work but dressed in black, and didn’t do anything. More than 140 cities, towns and municipalities were profoundly affected, especially public-sector work.

“The success was huge and unexpected,” Bielinska says. “The governing Law and Justice party rejected the bill three days after.”

Updated

Today is on course to be one of the most political International Women’s Days in history, Alexandra Topping and Molly Redden report:

From Thailand to Poland, the United States to Australia, the first Global Women’s Strike will see action on both the industrial and domestic fronts, with participants keen to show solidarity with an energised global women’s movement.

“We are united, we are international – and we are everywhere,” said Klementyna Suchanow, a Poland-based organiser of the Global Women’s Strike, adding that the walkout would put governments and institutions under pressure by giving women a voice that has long been ignored. “We are an army of women across the globe and we are no longer asking to be listened to. The world is being forced to listen to us.”

A rally today in Seoul, South Korea, to mark International Women’s Day.
A rally today in Seoul, South Korea, to mark International Women’s Day. Photograph: Jeon Heon-Kyun/EPA

The theme for 2017’s International Women’s Day – which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – is #BeBoldForChange.

Organisers of the Global Women’s Strike have joined forces with coordinators of the Women’s March and hundreds of human rights and women’s campaigners to capitalise on momentum in the movement in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. Up to 2 million people around the world marched for equality in January the day after his inauguration.

The Women’s March – which now has organisers across 200 cities in 80 countries – has called on supporters not to engage in paid or unpaid labour and only spend money in small and female-owned businesses.

Recognising that the poor financial situation and rigid work laws mean many will not be able to take part in a physical strike, organisers are urging supporters to wear red, a colour historically associated with the labour movement, in solidarity.

In other countries women will wear black, or different colours, while the focus on issues from femicide to abortion will be decided in each nation.

A statue of a girl facing the Wall St Bull is seen, as part of a campaign by U.S. fund manager State Street to push companies to put women on their boards, in the financial district in New York, U.S., March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
A statue of a girl facing the Wall St Bull. Photograph: Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

The relationship between feminism and capitalism is a twisty one, but in the US Wall Street is making its own International Women’s Day statement with this statue of a girl facing down the charging bull.

Reuters reports:

Placing the diminutive, school-aged girl in front of the massive bull on the eve of International Women’s Day was a way of calling attention to the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial services, a spokeswoman for Wall Street firm State Street Global Advisors said.

“A lot of people talk about gender diversity, but we really felt we had to take it to a broader level,” said Anne McNally.

Although women have made some headway against the glass ceiling, State Street said one out of four of the companies that make up the Russell 3000 Index still have no female representation on their boards.

The little bronze girl by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the morning as “guerilla art”, McNally said. But the firm discussed it with the city beforehand so that it could remain at least temporarily.

“We’re actively pursuing that it stays for a month,” she said. “If the city decides that it should stay in perpetuity, we’re absolutely on board with that.”

Updated

IWD in Greece

In Greece, the Eurozone’s weakest member state, the governing left-wing Syriza party has issued a rousing statement to mark International Womens’ Day.

After eight years of economic crisis and depression-era poverty, the ruling Syriza party elected to mark the day tapping into the radical rhetoric that first swept it to power.

Women, it said, were not only poorer wherever they lived, they were paid less than men for the same work, while the violence often perpetuated against them was “the most widespread crime in the world and harmed the life, dignity and freedom of half the world’s population”.

Applauding the protest action women had taken over the past year, “from the squares of Argentina to those in European cities and Turkey”, women, it said, had marched against gender violence, racism, sexism, Donald Trump’s misogynist agenda and the policies and effects of austerity.

The 8th of March is a reminder that in our country female unemployment, especially among the young, has soared. The shrinking of the social state brought about by the politics of austerity over the last decade has further encumbered women regarding care for children and old people.

Under the stewardship of Greece’s first ever leftist government, legislation outlining the equality of the sexes had been drafted and would soon be put to parliament and sexist language removed from all public documents, it added.

Less than 19% of the 300-seat Greek parliament is represented by female MPs.

A demonstration highlighting violence against women in Athens last year.
A demonstration highlighting violence against women in Athens last year. Photograph: GeorgePanagakis/Pacific/Barcroft

IWD in Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, Reporters Without Borders says it will today hold an opening ceremony for the country’s first Centre for the Protection of Afghan Women Journalists, in Kabul.

Afghan journalist Farida Nikzad will head the new centre, which says its aim is “to assist and protect women journalists, especially those working in remote parts of Afghanistan, who are more vulnerable”.

Nikzad explains:

The creation of this centre is intended to send a strong message not only to Afghan women journalists, but also to all of the country’s women.

We want to support women journalists both in war zones and within the news organisations for which they work, to defend both their rights and their physical safety. To that end, we need the government and media owners to commit to do their part in what is a key battle for Afghan society.

The centre says it is already working with 10 female journalists, five of them in conflict zones.

Reporters Without Borders says many women have been forced to give up work in the media due to violence:

In some regions, there are no longer any women journalists at all. Three of the 10 journalists and media workers killed in 2016 were women. Thirteen women journalists and media workers (including five foreigners) have been killed since 2001, and at least 10 have had to flee the country.

Afghanistan is ranked 120th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.

Today is International Women’s Day. There is much to celebrate when it comes to progress for women throughout the world. There is also much to lament, both in relation to what still needs to be done and where the gains we have made risk going backwards.

Stillbirth, however, is standing still. The incidence of stillbirth is the same today as it has been for decades. Very little money or attention goes into research to reduce or prevent stillbirth.

Why? Stillbirth struggles on two fronts.

One, stillbirth is a thing that happens inside a woman’s body. In a male-dominated world, stillbirth is easily relegated as a private tragedy rather than as a public health matter.

Two, stillbirth is not a cause feminists want to champion. Even though stillbirth is a tragedy for thousands of women each year, most feminists don’t want to talk about the death of a baby inside its mother’s womb. Many feminists get uneasy about anything that gets a bit too close to abortion rights.

So let’s be clear: stillbirth happens to women who want to be mothers, who have chosen to take a baby to term. It has nothing to do with abortion. Many mothers of stillborn babies are pro-choice and would not seek to restrict women’s access to abortion services.

If feminists believe women’s choices should be respected, then there is nothing to fear from recognising a woman’s choice to be a mother. There is everything to gain from demanding that society take seriously a public health problem that devastates six women and their babies a day in Australia.

Found a hidden feminist book? Do let us know where and what!

From midnight NYC time, book fairies around the WORLD will start hiding feminist books to mark #IWD #IWDoursharedshelf @the_bookfairies 📚

— Emma Watson (@EmmaWatson) March 8, 2017

Australia's childcare workers strike

It’s estimated more than 1,000 early years workers walked off the job today at 3.20pm – the time that women in Australia effectively start working for free.

A protest by childcare workers and their supporters in Sydney on International Women’s Day.
A protest by childcare workers and their supporters in Sydney on International Women’s Day. Photograph: Paul Miller/AAP

Early childhood educator Julie Lofts said she wanted the government to recognise the value of her work. After 18 years in the industry, she said she continued to live paycheque to paycheque, and had struggled to raise two sons balancing bills and “some quality of life”.

“I should be paid a lot more than what I get now,” she said. “I don’t do this for the money, I do it because it’s a job that I love. But I’m not paid according to my qualifications.”

Carley Adams, an educator at the same centre, had been “shocked” to discover how little she would earn when she joined the sector six years ago.

“It’s my career, it’s not just a job I come to every day … When you find something you love to do it’s hard to leave it, but if I don’t get a pay rise I would have to leave eventually, which is sad.”

Updated

India’s minister for women has sparked anger and ridicule after saying female students need curfews to protect them from their own “hormonal outbursts”.

AFP reports:

Many Indian universities inflict curfews on women while allowing their male students freedom to stay out at night, a policy that critics say is sexist and outdated.

Asked about the practice on the NDTV news channel, Manekha Gandhi said it was necessary to protect young women from their own hormones.

“To protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a certain protection, a Lakshman Rekha [red line] is drawn,” she said.

“You can make it [the curfew] six, seven or eight, that depends on college to college but it really is for your own safety,” she told the studio audience of college students during a special show to mark International Women’s Day.

Gandhi said a similar deadline should be put in place for male students, but many social media users ridiculed her for her comments.

“You know what would be safest? Lock hormonal men in, instead of denying women the right to lead a full life,” tweeted one critic.

Gandhi, who is the sister-in-law of opposition leader Sonia Gandhi, is no stranger to controversy.

Last year she angered women’s rights campaigners arguing for a law against marital rape by saying that could not apply in India because society viewed marriage as sacrosanct.

In 2015, female students in Delhi launched a campaign against the curfews under the name Pinjra Tod (“Break the Cage”).

University residences generally justify the rules with concern for the safety of young women in a country where sexual violence is widespread.

A flicker of controversy from the US, where the lights have gone out on the Statue of Liberty.

Was Lady Liberty joining the Day Without Women and showing her support for the global IWD strike? Plenty on social media seemed to think so.

The lights appear to have gone out at the Statue of Liberty...aside from the crown & torch. No word yet on what caused the outage.NA-157TU pic.twitter.com/4o4sDu8s8a

— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) March 8, 2017

Sadly, the reason turned out to be rather more mundane:

Some lights on the Statue were temporarily off tonight. Likely related to new emergency generator/Hurricane Sandy recovery project work.

— Statue of Liberty NM (@StatueEllisNPS) March 8, 2017

Updated

IWD in Myanmar

As our Southeast Asia correspondent Oliver Holmes reports, the forced marriage of women and girls from Myanmar into China has been highlighted today by the Freedom Fund, a private philanthropic initiative dedicated to ending slavery.

The organisation’s CEO, Nick Grono, has been travelling around Myanmar during the past few days and sends this report:

China’s one-child policy, and the preference of parents for boys, means that by 2025-2030, an estimated 22 to 30 million Chinese men will be unable to find women to marry. This is creating a huge demand for foreign ‘wives’.

We heard devastating stories from women who have returned from China. One told us how she travelled to what she thought was a well-paying job in the north of Myanmar, only to be sold into marriage in China. She was trapped near Beijing for seven years, and had two daughters with her ‘husband’, only to then be deported by Chinese police to Myanmar. She has not had contact with her daughters since then.

Another told us how she was deceived by a friend (who turned out to be a marriage broker) to travel to the border with China. There she was sold to a Chinese man for US$9,300. When she did not become pregnant within seven months, this man sold her to another Chinese man for $11,500. She was trapped in that ‘marriage’ for three years before her family and Myanmar police managed to secure her release. We heard many other equally heart-wrenching stories.

Grono has met with Myanmar officials in the capital, Naypyitaw, and says there is a genuine willingness by the authorities to fight forced marriage. He said the Freedom Fund has a strategy ready and hopes to establish a presence in the country.

IWD in Pakistan

Zehra Khan has much to celebrate on International Women’s Day. It is exactly four months since members of the Home-Based Women Workers Federation (HBWWF) in Sindh province in Pakistan – of which Khan is secretary general – finally received legal recognition.

The province’s chief minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, signed a policy that means the region’s estimated 5 million home-based workers – the majority of whom are women – can register as workers and access benefits.

“It was an important day not only for the history of the labour movement in Sindh and Pakistan, but also for south Asia,” says Khan, whose federation has more than 4,500 members.

“Once they are legally accepted as workers, they can be registered with the government-run social security institution, [and] be part of [the] workers’ welfare board to enjoy benefits like health, education and housing, as well as those offered after retirement,” she adds.

Almost 80% of an estimated 12 million Pakistani home-based workers are women. As well as unpaid domestic work, the women often spend up to 10 hours a day making garments, footwear, sports goods, and arts and crafts behind closed doors. Their work is often invisible to the rest of the world, despite having propped up the country’s informal economy for so long.

“They are left to negotiate with the middlemen. Many often get deprived of payment or chastised if they demand better wages,” says Khan.

The new government policy, however, brings hope that this kind of exploitation will soon come to an end. Once registered as workers, the women will be able to demand a basic level of pay as set out in the Minimum Wages Act of 2015.

Raising a few eyebrows in Australia today is this IWD tribute by Liberal senator Eric Abetz, who has taken to Facebook (retweeted here by Labor MP Tony Burke) to praise Queen Elizabeth II.

Fair enough, to a point: plenty of people would applaud her role in public life. As an example of where “hard work and commitment” can get you in life, the logic goes a little astray. But the most jarring note is surely that dismissal of “demanding that people … artificially promote you simply because of your sex”. If Elizabeth had had a brother – even a younger one – she would not have been entitled to that throne at all, of course.

Beyond satire... #iwd #auspol #IHaveNoWordsLeft pic.twitter.com/xWkkG8lCfd

— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) March 8, 2017

Updated

In Australia, more than 1,000 early childhood educators have walked off the job to campaign for equal pay in the “pink-collar” sector.

Dozens of childcare centres closed mid-afternoon on International Women’s Day, said to be the largest action taken by the sector in Australia.

The national gender pay gap in Australia is 16.2%, but female-dominated industries attract lower wages than those made up of mostly men.

The childcare sector is 97% women but qualified early childhood educators earn some of the lowest wages in the country – as little as $20.61 an hour, or about half the national average wage.

It was estimated more than walked off the job at 3.20pm – the time that women in Australia effectively start working for free.

Helen Gibbons, the assistant national secretary of the early childhood union United Voice, said participating educators had worked closely with parents over a matter of weeks to ensure they would not be inconvenienced by the industrial action.

“We’ve been really excited and pleased to see that a lot of parents are really supportive of this campaign and in fact many parents will be joining the educators when they’re walking off the job this afternoon.”

India has launched its first all-women cricket league to promote women’s cricket. The sport, which enjoys enormous popularity in India, has been dominated by men for decades. Founders say the want a women’s league that enjoys the same prestige as the male Indian Premier League, which has drawn cricket stars from around the world and has huge sponsorship from multinational companies and celebrities.

In a statement, founder Parul Jain said, “It’s important that young girls coming through can see cricket as a viable option to play at the highest level. The WCL #T20 League is expected to be of the same repute as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and women Big Bash League of Australia in support of women.”

“This will lead to greater interest in women’s cricket in India, which has generally been given much less importance than the men’s sport. With many sports getting their own professional leagues and ever-growing popularity in the country, it is time that the women cricket league is formed. It is no surprise that the fierce team of eves does not get as much attention and opportunities neither from the sports bodies or the sponsors in India as the men’s team,” he said.

Founders say India has hundreds of millions of women cricket fans, but few opportunities to play the sport at a professional level. The league will encourage women competitors, who are often discouraged from playing sports, especially in more conservative parts of the country.

Sunita Sharma, the country’s first female cricket coach, who is closely associated with the project said, “It’s been more than three decades since the Indian women cricket team has been formed and has won various matches globally, still there is hardly any acknowledgement to women as per men cricketers in India.”

India’s Harmanpreet Kaur, left, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad celebrate after defeating South Africa in the women’s world cup qualifier final one-day international cricket match in Colombo in February.
India’s Harmanpreet Kaur, left, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad celebrate after defeating South Africa in the women’s world cup qualifier final one-day international cricket match in Colombo in February. Photograph: Eranga Jayawardena/AP

An Australian women is running 3,000km across 184 countries in support of rape survivors following her own personal attack, Oliver Holmes reports.

Claire McFarlane began the campaign, named Footsteps to Inspire, in July last year in what she hopes will “remove the taboo around rape, support the healing process and ultimately make lasting change”.

“In 1999, I was brutally raped and left for dead on the streets of Paris,” McFarlane said in an email to the Guardian. “What followed was an arduous, long battle to find justice and it only came to an end in October 2015. Through sharing my own story of survival, I’ve become an advocate for survivors of rape.”

McFarlane will run 16km in each country to signify the 16 years it took for her case against a perpetrator to go through the court system.

She has started raising donations for her run, which has taken her from South Africa to India to Papua New Guinea. It will take four years to complete, with McFarlane moving country every week. She ran most recently in Singapore and landed in the Philippines on Monday night. Her next run is on Saturday on the west coast of Luzon, in an area called Zambales.

Leaving footprints of change! 25+ people joined me for the run in Phuket on 3/12.#BReAkthesilence#rape pic.twitter.com/MuqhcoYfH6

— Claire McFarlane (@Project_BRA) December 8, 2016

McFarlane says she is using beach running as a way to tackle the issue of rape in an empowering way. “I’ve chosen to use a very different medium to talk about rape: that is, adventure and sport. Sport unites us and often brings people together to make a stand for something they believe in,” she said.

Funds raised for the cause are donated to local projects or organisations helping rape survivors as well as part of the cost of the trip, in which McFarlane meets with NGOs working to combat sexual violence.

McFarlane will also collect data on survivors of sexual violence in all 184 nations, which she will compile for a research report.

Some readers have been in touch to let me know what they have been, or will be, doing to mark International Women’s Day. Do feel free to contact me on Twitter @Claire_Phipps, or via the comments below.

@Claire_Phipps #internationalwomensday Be Bold for Change Wellington NZ pic.twitter.com/Wg2xdXSqcP

— Em nee Snowflake (@EmNeeSnowflake) March 8, 2017

Tomorrow in Rome | 5pm Colosseum https://t.co/GMGZAXFAeC @Claire_Phipps @RomeWomen #LottoMarzo #nonunadimeno #daywithoutawoman #strike pic.twitter.com/vytXxgjtix

— Elizabeth Geoghegan (@ElizGeo) March 7, 2017

There was more unwelcome news for Japan ahead of International Women’s Day, reports Justin McCurry from Tokyo, with the release of a report showing that the country ranks 163rd out of 193 countries in female representation in lower houses of parliament.

The defence minister, Tomomi Inada; the leader of the biggest opposition party, Renho Murata; and the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, are all women, but Japan trails behind all of its G7 counterparts in overall political representation, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The report, released on Wednesday, did note, however, that a record 28 women were elected to Japan’s upper house last July.

Koike, who has criticised the golf venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics over its sexist membership policy, is aiming to put a dent in male domination of politics, at least at the local level, by securing a female majority in city assembly elections this July.

“Since I am the governor of this mega-city and hopefully the assembly will have a female majority, that will be a big change,” Koike said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

“Selecting as many women politicians as possible in the local assembly will surely make Tokyo change.”

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike.
Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike. Photograph: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

IWD in Canberra – and Kenya

In Australia’s capital, the National Press Club hosted Kenyan educator and social activist Kakenya Ntaiya to mark International Women’s Day.

Ntaiya is the founder of the Kakenya Centre for Excellence, a boarding school for girls in Enoosaen. The centre requires as a condition of enrolment that girls are not subjected to genital mutilation or forced marriage.

Listening to Kakenya Ntaiya @PressClubAust #IWD @Claire_Phipps pic.twitter.com/FljVoHu9db

— Katharine Murphy (@murpharoo) March 8, 2017

Ntaiya told the story of bargaining for her education at the age of seven, when she told her father she would submit to female genital mutilation if he would allow her to complete her education:

I went through the cuts and it was a very horrifying experience. There is no anaesthesia when it’s done, there is no medication, I bled, I fainted after that. I’m very lucky that I’m standing here today sharing my story. Many girls die.

I was determined. I went back to school.

She finished her education, won a scholarship to an American university (which involved another round of bargaining with the powerful men of her small Kenyan village), completed a PhD, and in the course of her studies, decided she would open a school in her village for 10 girls

I arrived there and 100 girls showed up. It was not just the girls, it was their parents, it was their grandmothers, it was the people who really thirsted for an education. So my ten became 30.

I have dreamed big. My girls are graduating this year. This year, 26 of them are finishing high school. They are going to university: this is the first time in my village that we are going to be sending 26 girls – not one woman, but 26 of them. That is the future of Kenya.

Think about those girls. Some of them you might meet some day. Think about them as heads of banks. Think of them – that’s their dream. They want to be doctors. Think about them as lawyers. Think about them making change in the whole world.

That’s why we stand here today to celebrate the progress we have made, by pushing ourselves to be bold, to move forward, to say it’s time that women need to be there.

Please don’t wait to be handed over.

We have to step forward. We have to be bold.

Updated

On Monday night, on Australia’s Q&A debate show, Mei Fong, a journalist and author of a book on China’s one-child policy, now based in Washington DC, said the ability to protest was “a great privilege”.

Fong praised the regular protests in America’s capital, “the heart of crazy Trumpland”, adding:

It is protests against the immigration ban, against mistreatment of women, and I bless my heart – it’s so wonderful when I see people chant, holding up signs in the streets.

You guys don’t realise how wonderful it is to be able to get out there and not be tear-gassed.

Two years ago, Li Maizi was imprisoned after she and four other young feminists attempted to mark International Women’s Day in China.

This year Li is spending International Women’s Day in the UK where she spoke at Soas in London last night and will address the University of Nottingham tonight. She has also written for the Guardian about her treatment – and the treatment of women – in her home country:

I often think of the day I was detained in Beijing. On the night of 6 March 2015, the police knocked on my door and took me to the station, where I was questioned nonstop for 24 hours. Later I was sent to a detention centre, where I was held for 37 days …

Two years later, is there any hope for the Chinese feminist movement? Definitely, yes. Since my arrest, there has been both progress and a backlash against women’s rights …

Women are becoming more active in the fight against gender discrimination. When I was released from detention, I faced a tough decision: should I continue my activism, or give up? I chose to continue. What I do is for the rights of women all over the world. But I can’t help but be especially concerned about China. My own experiences, and the experiences of my friends in China, have had a profound effect on me …

Because of China’s two-child policy, abortions are readily available. If you get pregnant with a third child, abortion is compulsory. But I don’t see our free access to abortion as a sign of progress, as reproductive rights only apply to married women. If you are unmarried, it is illegal to give birth and you will face heavy fines. Some NGOs are calling on the government to grant single women their reproductive rights.

Updated

Maxine Beneba Clarke, Emily Maguire and two recently deceased authors, Georgia Blain and Cory Taylor, are among six authors shortlisted for the 2016 Stella prize, celebrating female writers in Australia.

The shortlisted books, announced on International Women’s Day, are Between a Wolf and a Dog by Georgia Blain; The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke; Poum and Alexandre by Catherine de Saint Phalle; An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire; The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose; and Dying: A Memoir by Cory Taylor.

“The 2017 Stella prize shortlist celebrates books that combine extraordinary literary accomplishment with the social and familial reverberations of some of the most significant issues of our time: racism, violence against women, the aftermath of totalitarianism, the place of art in everyday life and the way we confront our individual mortality,” said Brenda Walker, the chair of the judging panel.

Staff at Australia’s Fairfax media are holding a “Fairfax Sausage Fest” to highlight the 23.2% pay gap in newspaper publishing.

Journalists are donning their vintage finery – “retro-grade dress up day” – to tell management to stop living in the past and make women equal to men in terms of pay.

Retro(grade) dressups at the Age on #IWD2017  to protest the media gender pay gap. #femalejournos #dressyourpaygap #meaa #equalpay pic.twitter.com/mtPwgj4CK3

— Miki Perkins (@perkinsmiki) March 7, 2017

IWD in South Korea

Justin McCurry reports:

The Korean Women’s Association United is holding its annual Korean Women’s Conference in Seoul today. The association says it is working “for the realisation of a democracy where everyone can enjoy equal basic citizenship rights regardless of gender, sexual orientation, origin or class”.

Despite the rapid economic growth South Korea has enjoyed since the end of the Korean war in 1953, the country’s women still earn far less than their male counterparts.

According to the Women In Work Index 2017 released by PricewaterhouseCoopers last month, the gender pay gap in South Korea was 36%, more than twice the average of 16 percent among OECD countries. That means South Korean women are, on average, paid 36% less than their male counterparts.

The report said that if current pay trends persist, South Korean women will have to wait more than a century before their wages catch up with those of men, according to the Yonhap news agency.

South Korea elected its first female president in late 2012 – the now-impeached Park Geun-hye - but gender disparity reigns in the country’s national assembly, where just 17% of the the 300 members are women, according to a recent study. That is still the highest proportion of seats held by women in the assembly’s history.

IWD in India

Over 30 women’s organisations in India will march in New Delhi today for the One Billion Rising march. The campaign started five years ago, on Valentine’s day, and spread across 207 countries, as women marched together to end rape and sexual violence against women. In Delhi the march had a particular significance, as the city was still reeling after the horrific gang rape and murder of medical student Jyoti Singh.

In 2012, after the details of Singh’s case emerged, India burst into protest, with candlelight vigils, and protests across the country. The case paved the way for small victories, including a special court to fast-track rape cases in the country, and a greater awareness of the country’s ingrained culture of violence against women.

This year, One Billion Rising’s campaigns are focusing on ending the exploitation of women. More than 1,000 women are expected to gather at the Rajiv Chowk metro station around 11am local time. After the demonstration, a forum to discuss the work of various women’s organisations will be held.

Indian students at a college in Chennai ahead of International Women’s Day.
Indian students at a college in Chennai ahead of International Women’s Day. Photograph: Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images

Updated

In Australia, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, an MP with Greens NSW and a high-profile campaigner for access to abortion, began International Women’s Day with a breakfast for a few hundred women at NSW Parliament House. She became the first Muslim woman to join an Australian parliament in 2013, benefiting from the Greens’ affirmative action policy in a seat that had been preselected for women.

She said it concerned her that the Australian parliament’s upper house had the lowest percentage of women of any in Australia:

That really boggles my mind, I have to say. And being a woman of colour, there’s hardly any diversity.

That’s kind of a challenge as you do feel a little bit lonely, in that space.

She understood why a career in politics would not appeal to women, given both the isolation and the “adversarial environment”:

You wouldn’t believe how many women have said, ‘good on you Mehreen, but I can’t do it’.

Other parties needed to take “serious action” to make sure woman were selected for winnable spots, said Faruqi.

Faruqi recently came under fire for her comments that there was “systemic racism” in Australia; a Liberal upper house MP said it was evidence that the Greens “secretly loathe this wonderful country”.

She said, especially in the context of Australia’s history, it was “undeniable” that there had been racism, though she loved it as she did Pakistan, her birth country.

When she arrived in Australia she was made to feel quite welcome, she said, but that had changed in the last 10 to 15 years:

The amount of racism and sexism women are facing, especially women of colour and Muslim women and those that wear a hijab that are easy to identify – I don’t want us to go that way.

I want us to be the best country possible, and that is respectful, multicultural and inclusive. But the first step towards that is to actually acknowledge that racism exists.

IWD in Japan

Tokyo will host a women’s march from 3pm local time today, Justin McCurry reports from Japan.

“We have been inspired by the women’s marches which took place around the world [in January], and with the wish to walk together on International Women’s Day, decided to plan the following event and march,” the organisers said on the event’s Facebook page.

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has had limited success in his “womenomics” campaign to raise the profile of women in the workforce, a measure he says will boost economic growth and address the country’s greying working-age population.

While the proportion of working-age Japanese women with jobs has increased – at 66.7%, the rate is on a par with the US – many do poorly paid part-time or temporary jobs that critics say are contributing to a rise in poverty levels in the world’s third-biggest economy.

Although women are notoriously under-represented in Japanese boardrooms, the country’s powerful – and male-dominated – business lobby, Keidanren, has just sent an all-female business lobby to the US, led by BT Japan president Haruno Yoshida.

IWD in Indonesia

In Indonesia, a coalition of women’s right groups will be staging a march from central Jakarta to the presidential palace to mark International Women’s Day. Once in front of the palace, a diverse range of speakers will address the crowd, including female migrant workers – a group often subject to exploitation and abuse in the Middle East and across the region – as well as fisherwomen, female farmers and labourers, and victims of the recent and controversial riverside evictions in the capital.

There will also be theatre and music performances, as well as a dance performance by transgender students. Organisers from the IWD action committee expect a turnout of around 2,000 people.

A women’s march in Jakarta this week ahead of International Women’s Day celebrations.
A women’s march in Jakarta this week ahead of International Women’s Day celebrations. Photograph: Afriadi Hikmal / Barcroft Images

The event follows a successful turnout for a planned Women’s march just a few days ago, where hundreds dressed in pink and purple and took to the streets to demand equal rights for women. Several Indonesian women dressed in blood-stained kebayas, traditional Javanese blouses, led the march holding signs that showed how many women are victims of sexual abuse and are killed in fatal assaults each year.

Initially inspired by the feminist movement that swept America after the election of Donald Trump, the Jakarta march on Saturday gave voice to the state of women’s rights in Indonesia – a country where over recent years aspiring female police officers have been subject to virginity tests, and where FGM remains widespread.

Updated

IWD in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea has for some time been considered one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman or child. Rates of family and sexual violence are at epidemic levels, but many organisations – at community, government, and international levels – have worked hard to address it.

Ume Wainetti is the long-term coordinator of the PNG family and sexual violence action committee, and she says there have been great changes – hindered by a lack of follow-through and real support from the government.

She tells the Guardian:

At the end of last year we passed the [government] strategy on family and sexual violence, but we don’t know if funding will be made available to implement it.

We are screaming and shouting for things to be done but what support is being given for it is another matter.

There is government support but no financial commitment.

The fear of stigma and retribution continues to stop many women in violent relationships from seeking protection or assistance, Wainetti says, and there is a lack of services beyond the provincial level. About 85% of Papua New Guineans live in rural areas.

A 2016 PNG campaign to raise awareness on ending violence against women.
A 2016 PNG campaign to raise awareness on ending violence against women. Photograph: Johaness Terra/UN Women

However, Wainetti says there have been changes in community awareness, not just about the unacceptable levels of violence but also the place of women in the upper levels of leadership. The country goes to a national election in June.

“I’m here at a meeting where 50 women are attending training, learning – if they win – how they will do in parliament and what is expected of them,” says Wainetti. “I have not really seen many women confirmed candidates.” At the last election, there were three and she hopes 2017 will see more.

“Whether they have funding or party support to make it to parliament is another matter. There are changes but we still need to see some concrete support.”

Some of that support comes from international NGOs like MSF, ChildFund, and the Red Cross, as well as foreign governments.

This morning Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, who is currently in PNG, announced AU$10m in grants to six international NGOs to deliver projects promoting the rights of women and girls in 12 developing countries, including PNG.

Bishop said the Gender Action Platform projects “work to increase women’s economic opportunities, improve women’s participation in leadership, and reduce gender-based violence”.

Updated

Writing in Guardian Australia today, Greens NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi says the right for women to control their bodies is still under attack in Australia – not least by the continuing restrictions on access to abortion:

So many people are shocked to discover that abortion is still a criminal offence in both Queensland and New South Wales. While medical practice has advanced and majority public opinion has shifted in support of a woman’s right to choose, more than century-old laws remain unaltered in these two states …

Many doctors do not perform this procedure owing to this risk of prosecution. Services are limited, privatised and expensive, creating barriers to access, especially for rural and regional women. It’s not unusual to see intimidation of patients by anti-choice protesters picketing outside clinics with graphic images and even handing out plastic foetuses in an effort to shame them.

This is what criminalisation has led to: shame and stigma. We must remove the shame and end the stigma.

Today’s Google doodle for IWD highlights the lives of 13 women, as told by a woman to her granddaughter as a bedtime story.

All of the women featured, Google says, have previously featured in doodles of their own, but usually only within their home countries.

The doodle shows the stories of American suffragist Ida Wells; Egyptian pilot Lotfia El Nadi; Mexican artist Frida Kahlo; Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi; Soviet scientist Olga Skorokhodova; South African activist Miriam Makeba; American astronaut Sally Ride; the first Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics, Turkey’s Halet Çambel; English computer pioneer Ada Lovelace; Indian dancer Rukmini Devi; Argentinian doctor Cecilia Grierson; Korea’s first female lawyer and judge Lee Tai-young; and French tennis player Suzanne Lenglen.

IWD 2017 Google doodle.

Updated

ABC News presenter Juanita Phillips has some advice for those perturbed by the Australian broadcaster’s all-female line-up today:

If the ABC's all women day makes you angry or uncomfortable, reflect on why. That's the point. And relax, it's only one day. Happy #IWD2017

— Juanita Phillips (@Juanita_Phillip) March 7, 2017

IWD in China

China – home to around 675 million women – is unlikely to witness much IWD action today.

Two years ago, five feminists who were planning to put some stickers on buses to mark International Women’s Day were locked up by authorities on suspicion of “picking quarrels and creating a disturbance”.

The women – Wei Tingting, Li Tingting (known as Li Maizi), Wu Rongrong, Wang Man and Zheng Churan (Datu) – were intending to distribute stickers with slogans such as “Police: go arrest those who committed sexual harassment”.

Li Maizi, a Chinese feminist, protests against Sina Weibo.
Li Maizi, a Chinese feminist, protests against Sina Weibo. Photograph: Li Maizi

Just a fortnight ago, an account called “Feminist Voice in China” on social networking site Sina Weibo was banned for 30 days after it posted a Chinese translation of an article in which academics argued for a new “militant feminist struggle” against Donald Trump’s policies, calling for an international women’s strike today, 8 March.

The article was first published in the Guardian: you can read it here.

Xiong Jing, an editor for the Feminist Voice, said Weibo had not told the group the reason for the ban, but:

We are guessing that it’s because we sent out some tweets calling for a women’s strike action against Trump.

Updated

How Australian media covers IWD

All day today across TV, radio and digital, Australia’s ABC is celebrating International Women’s Day with an all-female line-up. Women will take over from their male counterparts on programs they host from NewsRadio to ABC TV.

News bulletins across the country and television programs will focus on telling women’s stories.

In a special IWD broadcast at 1pm, Radio National will revisit its groundbreaking women’s show Coming Out with a special Coming Out, Again, which will reunite some of the Coming Out cast from the 70s to the 90s, such as Julie Rigg, Nicola Joseph, Fiona Martin and Kath Duncan.

Mark Colvin’s PM will instead be hosted by Kim Landers and Julia Zemiro’s Home Delivery features social commentator Susan Carland. On ABC iview you can watch a collection of programs highlighting the work of women including artist Margaret Olley, journalist Ita Buttrose and comedian Judith Lucy.

But Rupert Murdoch’s stable was cranky with the ABC for devoting the day to celebrating women. A front page in the Daily Telegraph yesterday called it tokenism and a “man ban”.

“The ABC will boot all of its male television and radio hosts off air tomorrow in a bizarre and patronising bid to promote ‘gender equality’,” the Tele reported.

The Australian soon jumped on the bandwagon, with not one but two pieces ridiculing the move: “The ABC in its wisdom is dumping its male presenters tomorrow in favour of an all female line-up.”

The ABC was forced to defend the initiative.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity for the ABC to draw attention to one of the great issues of the modern age. Gender parity is one of the biggest challenges facing the Australian, and the global, economy today.

The #IWDABC line-up on International Women’s Day represents one day of activity; however it sits within a broader ABC campaign focusing on equality and the recognition of women, and supporting the UN’s #BeBoldForChange initiative.

Thanks to @dailytelegraph for promoting our awesome all-female line-up for International Women's Day. https://t.co/kpjx7805i8#IWD2017 pic.twitter.com/njHg2qF7dc

— ABC Sydney (@abcsydney) March 7, 2017

Updated

There are a bunch of happenings going on around Southeast Asia for International Women’s Day, reports our correspondent Oliver Holmes.

In Singapore, the iconic Vagina Monologues is on. The show started in New York two decades ago and has since been translated into nearly 50 languages to “empower women and men, stimulate dialogue and support social causes such as ending violence against women”. Tickets are sold out but you can jump on a waiting list here.

A portion of the profit will go towards care packages covering food, medicine, sanitary napkins, infant formula and children uniforms for destitute women on the streets of Johor Bahr, in Malaysia.

Also in the city state (and not sold out!) there is Queer Karaoke. It’s billed as for feminists and pacifists “passionate about women’s issues”. Book here.

In Myanmar, head to the lush People’s Park at 4.30pm local for a celebration of art exhibitions, music, theatre and public readings. The organisers say there will be some “surprises” too.

In Thailand, there is the “HeForShe” arts week Bangkok, run by UN Women and starting today. At the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre, there will be exhibits and performances, including from Thai-Australian video artist Kawita Vatanajyankur and Hong Kong-based graphic designer Cath Love.

Also in Bangkok, a four-days film festival starts in SF Cinema Central World to showcase seven award-winning movies based on gender issues, including ‘He Named Me Malala’ and ‘Dev Bhoomi’.

International Women’s Day talks are being held across the Philippines, too: here and here and here.

A key feature of 2017’s International Women’s Day is the call for “a day without women” – for women to take the day off work (paid and unpaid, at home and out of the home); to avoid shopping for the day, “with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses”; to wear red in solidarity.

In America, the call to strike has been led by the organisers of the Women’s March, which took place across the US (and the world) the day after Trump’s inauguration.

A group of feminist activists and academics wrote recently in the Guardian about the need to strike:

The idea is to mobilize women, including trans women, and all who support them in an international day of struggle – a day of striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work, boycotting, calling out misogynistic politicians and companies, striking in educational institutions. These actions are aimed at making visible the needs and aspirations of those whom lean-in feminism ignored: women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women.

In embracing a feminism for the 99%, we take inspiration from the Argentinian coalition Ni Una Menos. Violence against women, as they define it, has many facets: it is domestic violence, but also the violence of the market, of debt, of capitalist property relations, and of the state; the violence of discriminatory policies against lesbian, trans and queer women; the violence of state criminalization of migratory movements; the violence of mass incarceration; and the institutional violence against women’s bodies through abortion bans and lack of access to free healthcare and free abortion.

Voices from the Women’s March on Washington

But Guardian columnist Lindy West, speaking on Australian TV this week, while agreeing that “protest is most effective when it disrupts people’s lives”, echoed concerns of others who are cautious about the proposed strike:

It would be tremendously effective if we could mobilise every single woman in the world …

A concern for me, as a very privileged, financially stable white woman who works from home … it’s very easy for me to say yes, everyone should go on strike but I want to be very cognisant of the fact there are very many women who cannot afford to lose one day’s worth of pay, let alone risk their job.

You can find details of strikes and other protests taking place around the world from Australia to Uruguay via the links on this page.

Updated

Today, Margaret Carey – director of an early childhood centre in Sydney, Australia – is striking for the first time ever. She explains why:

Women are an essential part of society. We hold together the household. We hold together the family. We care for our partners (though in a genuine relationship it is certainly not a one-way street). We care for our children. We care for others’ children. We care for our parents as they grow older. And we fill the jobs equated with caring. In my sector, 97% of us are women.

It is not because the work we do has no value. It is because the work we do has an intrinsic female association. ‘Care’ in any role should not be seen as of little value. If anything, it should be seen as value-adding to the role. Look at aged care workers, educators, nurses, teachers, social workers, psychologists, therapists, tutors, doctors. None of these professions are seen only as caring, but care is understood as intrinsic to their role.

But it is we in early childhood who forever need to point out that we are the same: we do caring but our whole job is far more than that.

I am walking off because I want the government and society to recognise that an early childhood educator is a professional role and one that must be given its deserved status. The first real step, a big step, in this direction is to receive professional wages, not 20 patronising dollars an hour.

More of the globe is now ticking over into International Women’s Day.

Here’s Lebanon’s government palace in Beirut, illuminated purple for the day:

Lebanon’s government palace is seen illuminated purple to mark International Women’s Day in downtown Beirut, Lebanon March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

In Mumbai, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station has turned pink:

International Women’s Day in Mumbaiepa05834729 An Indian girl stands in front of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station, lit up in pink colour on the eve of International Women’s Day, in Mumbai, India, 07 February 2017. International Women’s Day is celebrated globally on 08 March to promote women’s rights and equality. EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI

When’s International Men’s Day?

It’s 19 November, since you ask.

If you’d like to hear more about how International Men’s Day is on 19 November, can I suggest you follow comedian Richard Herring on Twitter, as he endures his annual feat of replying to all the people wondering when International Men’s Day is.

Here’s what Herring wrote for the Guardian on International Men’s Day in 2015:

International Women’s Day is on 8 March: 24 hours (of the 8,760 annually available) set aside to celebrate women and all of their achievements. And people get furious about it.

Surely, you might think, you could only be cross about it because that definitely isn’t enough time to celebrate the achievements of over than 50% of the population. But no …

So for the last two International Women’s Days I have tried to highlight this stupidity. I have got up early, logged on to Twitter and searched for the phrase “international men’s day”, found every single person who has tweeted the question and responded to them all individually: “It’s 19 November.”

There are thousands to get through. It goes on relentlessly, for hours and hours, but I try to get to them all because to see the same moronic question asked over and over again by people (who don’t even think just to check Google to make sure they’re not making an arse of themselves) is very funny, and shows exactly why an international women’s day is necessary.

Incidentally, nobody tweets me back to say: “Oh thanks for the information. I was wondering when it was.” Almost like they don’t want to know the answer to their own question.

My hope is that if I can spend a day a year dealing with this issue, then that means that everyone else can get on with making International Women’s Day about celebrating women and not complaining about the supposed raw deal men get. So I let men know that they do have a day if they want to celebrate themselves. Though not many of them do when it comes along, weirdly.

Updated

Incorrect assumptions are still being made that gender equality has been achieved, despite disturbing and comprehensive evidence to the contrary, an investigation by Australia’s sex discrimination commissioner, Kate Jenkins, has found.

Her findings include the experiences of more than 1,000 women she interviewed while travelling to every state and territory over a six-month period last year to learn about Australia’s progress towards gender equality.

Kate Jenkins: ‘I witnessed tremendous resilience from women overcoming the entrenched obstacles to their progress.’
Kate Jenkins: ‘I witnessed tremendous resilience from women overcoming the entrenched obstacles to their progress.’ Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Women working in rural and remote areas were particularly vulnerable to inequality, Jenkins found. One young woman told her how she was asked to wear a bikini while fruit picking to get paid a bonus. Jenkins heard stories of women not being taken seriously or experiencing sexual harassment in these areas in particular. “A lot of the rural women were really facing greater barriers to women in metro areas,” she said.

It’s too easy to lump all women together as a homogenous group of white, Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual, able-bodied people, many who feel they are breaking down some of those barriers to equality.

But there are many different voices in this, and my voice is tied to having spoken to rural women, LGBTI women, older women, women with disabilities, migrant women and Aboriginal women.

Research shows that women with disabilities are 40% more likely than women without disabilities to be the victims of domestic violence; and that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are 32 times more likely to be admitted to hospital as a result of family violence-related assault than non-Indigenous women in Australia.

The findings were launched today to coincide with international women’s day. Jenkins said it was distressing to see the same arguments emerge each year that having a day for women was biased against men and unnecessary.

Women from more than 40 countries are staging a strike from all work, paid and unpaid, to highlight women’s power within global economies.

But what if you can’t join them? Here are other ways you can show solidarity, from wearing red to avoiding the shops for the day.

International Women’s Day: how can you support the global strike?

New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote but gender equality is far from achieved. The pay gap is of particular concern, having remained steady at about 12% for the past decade.

On current figures, it will be 45 years before New Zealand women are paid equally. That’s even though the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1972 – it has never been enforced.

Last month the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions launched the Treat Her Right campaign to lobby the government to take action on the issue of pay inequality.

Why are women still getting paid less than men?

On Tuesday, the Ministry for Women released the findings of the first comprehensive study of the causes of the gender pay gap in New Zealand. It found that “hard to measure factors” such as conscious and unconscious bias, and “differences in choices and behaviours between men and women”, accounted for 80% of the difference.

For women on higher wages, the pay gap was significant and hard to explain; for women on lower incomes, factors such as type of work, family responsibilities, education and age remained important.

In her first major speech since taking on the portfolio of minister for women, Paula Bennett said the difference in pay was “really disappointing”, and called on her audience – members of the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand – to take steps towards addressing it.

She urged employers to remember three things:

It’s not about what you can get away with. It’s not about what she is willing to accept. It’s simply about you paying her what she is worth.

Julia Gillard, former prime minister of Australia and current chair of the board of the Global Partnership for Education, writes today for Guardian Australia about the hidden women of International Women’s Day:

Considering that approximately 130 million girls worldwide are not attending primary through upper-secondary school and that women represent nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate, we must ask: How many other innovations and inventions – great and small – have been lost to the world because so many minds are idle on the sidelines of human progress?

Today is set to be one of the most political International Women’s Days in history, Alexandra Topping and Molly Redden report:

From Thailand to Poland, the United States to Australia, the first Global Women’s Strike will see action on both the industrial and domestic fronts, with participants keen to show solidarity with an energised global women’s movement.

“We are united, we are international – and we are everywhere,” said Klementyna Suchanow, a Poland-based organiser of the Global Women’s Strike, adding that the walkout would put governments and institutions under pressure by giving women a voice that has long been ignored. “We are an army of women across the globe and we are no longer asking to be listened to. The world is being forced to listen to us.”

Women in Poland went on strike in October 2016 to fight for entitlement to legal abortion, sex education and contraception.
Women in Poland went on strike in October 2016 to fight for entitlement to legal abortion, sex education and contraception. Photograph: Stephanie Lecocq/EPA

The theme for 2017’s International Women’s Day – which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women – is #BeBoldForChange.

Organisers of the Global Women’s Strike have joined forces with coordinators of the Women’s March and hundreds of human rights and women’s campaigners to capitalise on momentum in the movement in the wake of Donald Trump’s election. Up to 2 million people around the world marched for equality in January the day after his inauguration.

The Women’s March – which now has organisers across 200 cities in 80 countries – has called on supporters not to engage in paid or unpaid labour and only spend money in small and female-owned businesses.

Recognising that the poor financial situation and rigid work laws mean many will not be able to take part in a physical strike, organisers are urging supporters to wear red, a colour historically associated with the labour movement, in solidarity.

In other countries women will wear black, or different colours, while the focus on issues from femicide to abortion will be decided in each nation.

Welcome

Hello from Sydney, where International Women’s Day is up and running (and for readers still in Tuesday time zones: think of this as a bonus preview).

We’ll be covering the full day live from our offices in Sydney, London and New York; and with correspondents chipping in from all over the world.

We’ll be watching out for events, protests and stories of “ a day without women”, as well as highlighting some of the key (and less key but just really, persistently irritating) issues that continue to thwart and hinder progress towards equality worldwide.

We’d also like to hear what’s happening where you are – let me know in the comments below or find me on Twitter @Claire_Phipps.

Contributors

Claire Phipps in Sydney, Molly Redden in New York and Alexandra Topping in London

The GuardianTramp

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