For over a century, March 8 — International Women’s Day — has been used to mark and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political successes of women around the world and highlight institutional barriers to gender equality. Over the past year, women have made great strides in various fields, but they have also faced many challenges. This International Women’s Day, Global Voices will be highlighting these success stories and obstacles.
Despite pressure, violence, or opposition they may face, there are women around the world who are breaking glass ceilings and achieving tremendous success. This is true in the sports world, as 2022 saw a number of women athletes emerge victorious, professional frontiers, music scene, and more. Feminist activists around the world are continuing to advocate for gender equality and more opportunities for women.
Even so, there are challenges.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic has largely subsided in many regions, it disproportionately affected women who were forced to bear the brunt of caregiving responsibilities, especially in low-income households. Women were also more likely to lose their jobs and suffer from financial insecurity during the pandemic. Women’s participation in the workforce has still not recovered from this pandemic-related dip, which could impact salaries and employability for years to come. In many countries, this is the first year since the pandemic began in 2020 that people have been able to celebrate openly without gathering restrictions. Yet some governments are pushing back against these gatherings, such as in Hong Kong, where organizers were forced to cancel their women’s day rally after being told that they would face arrest if the event proceeded.
Gender-based violence also increased during the pandemic, with many women facing an increased risk of domestic violence and sexual assault. This is a serious challenge that needs to be addressed by governments and communities around the world. A recent partnership between the Disruption Network Lab and Global Voices produced a podcast exploring the challenge of gender inequality and domestic abuse in Georgia.
International conflict exacerbated and highlighted the struggles of women around the world over the last year. In Ukraine, tens of thousands of women set off for the front line to defend their country against Putin’s invasion. On the other side of the conflict, many Russian women rallied to defend Ukraine’s right to autonomy and push back on the state’s invasion.
Likewise, in Iran, women rose up in an unprecedented challenge to the conservative Islamist state after the murder of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini by state military forces. For nearly a year now, Iranian women have been protesting and calling on the government to step down and end mandatory head coverings in public, oppressive state policies, and routine violence against women.
Indeed, violence against women, domestic abuse, femicide, harassment both online and in person, censorship, and professional and familial barriers are all challenges that feminists and activists are trying to overcome. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world, and to continue working towards gender equality for all. To celebrate this day, Global Voices will be sharing stories throughout the week, both new and from our archive, which center women and reveals their triumphs and tragedies. See more below.
Stories about International women's day 2023
International Women's Day in Mexico City: A demonstration shrouded in sorrow
March 8th in Mexico City is a reflection of the grief Mexican women experience as a result of being women.
Argentine feminist movement continues to diversify its ranks
In 2023, feminist struggles in Argentina continue to diversify as the realities of all women are being taken into account both in their activities and in their identities.
What is wrong with Azerbaijan’s mentality towards its women
Regardless of their age, profession, or status, a woman’s life is narrowed down to her body, its worth, and shape. Her dignity and privacy are disrespected and Azerbaijan’s patriarchal, macho mentality supports this.
‘My only way of being free’: How a Peruvian woman launched a fashion business from prison
"It’s not a matter of being a businesswoman and produce non-stop. No. Because money won’t free them, but their therapy will"
Online gender-based violence: A tool of digital authoritarianism in India
Women journalists in India have been trolled, received death and rape threats, found themselves objectified on apps, and are allegedly targeted by spyware like Pegasus.
Women's Day in Latin America: Reggaeton, rage, and sisterhood
Despite varying demands around labor or abortion rights, the main thread throughout Latin America was against gender-based violence.
Women gain foothold in Africa's political landscape
Until now, 12 women have either served or are serving as the head of state in Africa. Although women are still a minority in politics, this is ultimately a paradigm shift.
Women in Turkey march to mark International Women's Day, despite state pressure
Meanwhile, opposition parties promised this was the last women's march under heavy police presence and bans.
Women marched in Pakistan despite resistance from authorities and religious groups
Despite encountering some obstacles, women in Pakistan were ultimately able to get permission and come out in large numbers on March 8th for "Aurat March", albeit with certain conditions attached.
The feminist diaspora's role in confronting human rights violations in Yemen
Despite facing numerous challenges, Yemeni women activists in the diaspora continue to fight for peace and justice in their homeland through their advocacy work.
New report: Defeating gender inequality in Georgia
The new report is an attempt to advance gender equality and female participation in each aspect of life in Georgia through strengthened civil society cooperation.
Hong Kong: Women's workers rally cancelled amid arrest threats
A women’s rights group had planned a rally on March 5, ahead of International Women’s Day. But the rally was abruptly canceled after waves of political pressure emerged.
Soca star Patrice Roberts’ tribute to calypsonian ‘Penguin’ is woman power’s new take on Trinidad and Tobago’s ‘Soft Man’
Roberts’ decolonial declaration of being human on African, female terms is defined through her contemporary engagement with sexuality, gender, intimacy, pleasure, and violence.
The present and persistent problem of domestic violence in Georgia
While activists note the country is making progress fighting the problem, a deadly mix of cultural taboos and limited resources complicate the reform.
Hmong women use TikTok to reveal marriage exploitation in Thailand
“When men actually take us as wife, we have no freedom. It’s just like slavery."
Turkey’s state religious body says women cannot travel alone
This is not the first time Turkey's state religious body has explicitly gone after women and their freedoms, diminishing their place in society.
Transgender women are despised, like the Virgin Mary in her day
"I am a mother raising her child. There was no conception in my womb, but for me, it's really a miracle."
Undertones in Afghanistan: ‘Taliban 2.0,’ Women, Resistance
Researchers share some of the strongest narratives that have circulated in Afghanistan this year
Cartoonist Kianoush Ramazani: Hope in Iran during turbulent times
Award-winning political cartoonist and activist Kianoush Ramazani offers his thoughts on the Iranian people's resilience during the current demonstrations and the place of political cartoons among other forms of expression.
Turkey marks International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women with disturbing femicide numbers
The number of femicides remain high, while existing protective measures lack effectiveness.
Iran's creative resistance: From hugs and kisses to tossing turbans
Despite harsh repression, the nationwide movement for freedom continues in Iran. Protesters have used creative ways in their resistance against the tyranny which shakes the authority of theocrats.