London - Millions of women gathered across the world to strike, protest and party to mark International Women’s Day on Thursday.
Trains stopped in Spain as female workers went on the country’s first “feminist” strike, newspapers dropped their prices for women in France, and the IWD flag flew over the UK parliament.
In India, women marched in several cities including Delhi, Karachi and Kolkata, and women also took to the streets in Bangladesh, Belarus, Nepal, Pristina and Ankara among many others.
It was a day of celebration and a day in which the message was spelt out that much work still needed to be done to achieve global gender equality.
In London, an International Women’s Day flag flew over parliament for the first time as MPs and peers marked the day with a debate in both Houses of parliament.
The shadow equalities minister, Dawn Butler, said she had been inspired by the flag flying over the Transport for London building on Monday and had approached the Speaker, John Bercow, about a flag for parliament. He approved the plan with less than 24 hours to go, as the House commemorated 100 years since the first women in the UK got the vote.
Bercow said: “We must not sit smugly and think job done; there are still issues of unequal access to the labour market, occupational segregation, women and members of minority groups scaling the heights professionally, there is a substantial gender pay gap.”
More than 100 MPs and peers from all parties wrote to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, calling for women in Northern Ireland to be allowed access to abortion services locally rather than having to go to England.
Women tweeted about the global #WikiGap event, organised in partnership with the Swedish foreign ministry. The idea was to get more women contributing to the Wikipedia website to address the gender imbalance on the world’s largest online and user-generated encyclopaedia. The Swedish foreign ministry said: “Knowledge is power and Wikipedia has the potential to colour our view of the world. But there is great imbalance between men and women on the website, like in society at large.”
It said 90% of those who added content to Wikipedia were men and there were four times more articles about men than women. “The figures vary regionally but, no matter how you look at it, the picture is clear: the information about women is less extensive than that about men. Regardless of which language version of Wikipedia you read. We want to change this.”