Image courtesy of Sydney Allen

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