International Women Day celebrated around the world

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Women protests against sexual harassment, discrimination, and inequality, highlight that “women’s rights are human rights.”

Activists from an indigenous group raise clenched fists during a protest near Malacanang palace to commemorate International Women's Day in Manila on March 8, 2019.
Activists from an indigenous group raise clenched fists during a protest near Malacanang palace to commemorate International Women’s Day in Manila on March 8, 2019. (AFP)

International Women’s Day kicked off on Friday around the world and people are celebrating the day in unique and empowering ways.

Spain

Global campaigners are showcasing events to mark Women’s Day on Friday with the slogan ‘a balanced world is a better world’ but in Spain the gender equality debate is sowing divisions that appear deep er than ever.

Loudly banging pots and pans, a few hundred women protesters gathered in Madrid in the early hours of Friday to mark the start of International Women’s Day.

Women bang pots and pans during a protest at the start of a nationwide feminist strike on International Women's Day at Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, Spain, March 8, 2019.
Women bang pots and pans during a protest at the start of a nationwide feminist strike on International Women’s Day at Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid, Spain, March 8, 2019. (Reuters)

The women – some wearing purple bags and clothes, and holding banners that read “Sister I do believe you” – met at midnight in Puerta del Sol square in the heart of the Spanish capital, in one of the first protests in Europe to commemorate the day and call for more gender equality. Purple has in recent years been a signature colour of women’s rights protesters.

Indonesia

Indonesian women marched in Banda Aceh against sexual harassment and to support women’s rights. The United Nations says that women do 2.6 times more unpaid care and domestic work than men, with only 41 per cent of the world’s mothers with newborns receiving maternity benefits.

Activists take part in an event to mark International Women's Day in Banda Aceh, Aceh province on March 8, 2019.
Activists take part in an event to mark International Women’s Day in Banda Aceh, Aceh province on March 8, 2019. (AFP)
Activists takes part in an event to mark International Women's Day in Banda Aceh, Aceh province on March 8, 2019.
Activists takes part in an event to mark International Women’s Day in Banda Aceh, Aceh province on March 8, 2019. (AFP)

According to the UN’s figures, 740 million women currently make their living in the informal economy with limited access to social protection, public services and infrastructure that could increase their productivity and income security.

North Korea

A steady stream of customers arrived at Flower Shop No. 5 in a central Pyongyang square, paying 10,000 won (around $1.25 at market exchange rates) for bouquets of roses or carnations –- a traditional gift for mothers in the North.

A North Korean family has their photo taken as they mark the International Women's Day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 8, 2019.
A North Korean family has their photo taken as they mark the International Women’s Day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP)

Although the small orange shop looks indistinguishable from others of its kind, it has established a reputation in the capital for the variety and freshness of its blooms.

Most of the clientele were buying for their wives or mothers, but port official Nam Song Hak’s carnations were destined for his university engineering tutor.

A vendor prepares a flower bouquet for customers as people mark the International Women's Day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 8, 2019.
A vendor prepares a flower bouquet for customers as people mark the International Women’s Day in Pyongyang, North Korea, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AFP)

Belarus

March 8 is an official holiday in Belarus, where men traditionally give flowers and gifts to female relatives, friends and colleagues. The UN’s figures also suggest that one in three women are likely to face violence in their lifetimes, yet public services, urban planning and transport systems are rarely planned with women’s safety and mobility in mind.

An elderly woman passes by flowers at a street market on the eve of the International Women's Day in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, March 7, 2019.
An elderly woman passes by flowers at a street market on the eve of the International Women’s Day in Minsk, Belarus, Thursday, March 7, 2019. (AP)

Philipines

Activists from Gabriela marched toward Malacanang palace to commemorate International Women’s Day in Manila.

Activists from Gabriela march toward Malacanang palace to commemorate International Women's Day in Manila on March 8, 2019.
Activists from Gabriela march toward Malacanang palace to commemorate International Women’s Day in Manila on March 8, 2019. (AFP)
Activists perform the
Activists perform the “one billion rising” dance during a protest to commemorate International Women’s Day in Manila on March 8, 2019. (AFP)

India

Hundreds of women held street plays and marched in the Indian capital highlighting domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages against them.

Indian women shout slogans during a march to mark International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 8, 2019.
Indian women shout slogans during a march to mark International Women’s Day in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP)

Violent crime against women has been on the rise in India despite tough laws enacted by the government.

IIndian women shout slogans during a march to celebrate International Women's Day in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 8, 2019.
IIndian women shout slogans during a march to celebrate International Women’s Day in New Delhi, India, Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP)

Pakistan

Civil rights activists held a protest against the the killing of Afzal Kohistani, a young rights campaigner, who fought for seven years for justice for five possible victims of “honour killings.

Pakistani civil society activists carry placard and shout slogans during a rally for women rights on International Women's Day in Islamabad on March 8, 2019.
Pakistani civil society activists carry placard and shout slogans during a rally for women rights on International Women’s Day in Islamabad on March 8, 2019. (AP)

Turkey

In Turkey, four female members of Turkey’s gendarmerie units found an unusual way of marking the day: rappelling down from Istanbul’s 15 July Martyrs’ Bridge connecting the city’s European and Asian sides and into the waters of the iconic Bosporus.

To mark International Women's Day, Turkish female gendarmerie officers pose for photographs after they rappelled off Istanbul's 'July 15th Martyrs' Bridge', on Friday, March 8, 2019.
To mark International Women’s Day, Turkish female gendarmerie officers pose for photographs after they rappelled off Istanbul’s ‘July 15th Martyrs’ Bridge’, on Friday, March 8, 2019. (AP)

Kenya

Women protested against gender-based violence in Kenya’s capital.

“We haven’t gotten to a stage where women are comfortable to come out and say, ‘I was sexually abused’,” said protester Esther Passaris.

“So what we need to do is slowly, slowly grow.”

Kenyan people shout slogans during a march to mark International Women's Day in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday March 8, 2019.
Kenyan people shout slogans during a march to mark International Women’s Day in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday March 8, 2019. (AP)

Iraq

Yazidi women attended a ceremony at Lilash Temple in Shikhane to commemorate the death of women during Daesh rule.

The Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. Daesh considers them devil worshippers and its attacks on the group were condemned as a “genocide” by the United Nations.

A Yazidi woman attends candle lighting ceremony for Daesh victims at Lilash Temple in Sinkhan region during the International Women Day on March 08 , 2019.
A Yazidi woman attends candle lighting ceremony for Daesh victims at Lilash Temple in Sinkhan region during the International Women Day on March 08 , 2019. (Reuters)