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International Women’s Day 2009

Global actions honor women’s resistance

Published Mar 19, 2009 8:12 PM

Celebrations, commemorations and protests were held worldwide on International Women’s Day (IWD) this year from Lima, Peru, to Lahore, Pakistan. The themes varied but all actions demonstrated women declaring their rights and protesting against injustice.

Below is a representation of just some of the global activities on IWD—March 8—this year.


The heroic women of Gaza stood up in the face of a U.S.-backed Israeli military siege that left 192 of their sisters dead and hundreds injured, with thousands made homeless. Thousands celebrated IWD all over Gaza. They called upon the international community to end the 18-month siege. Their sisters in the Occupied West Bank cities of Ramallah and Hebron also rallied.

Philippine women marched by the thousands in Manila, under the leadership of Gabriela, a women’s organization, to denounce U.S.-Philippine military exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement, while demanding higher wages and lower food prices.

Migrant women workers, who number in the tens of millions worldwide, were represented in demonstrations in Hong Kong, Greece, Lebanon and many other countries, demanding decent pay and working conditions, and an end to all forms of abuse.

African workers in Athens, Greece.

Pakistani women demonstrated in Islamabad, Karachi and other cities for equal rights and an end to discrimination. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, a prominent banner carried by marchers denounced violence against women and girls.

Women in Warsaw and other Eastern European cities protested the setbacks in their countries since the fall of the socialist governments. They demanded higher pay, full reproductive rights and separation of church and state, in opposition to the collaboration of the Catholic Church and government in denying them choice in reproductive matters.

Women of Via Campesina held a sit-in at the Ministry of Agriculture in Brasília, Brazil, demanding justice. They and their sisters, who carried out occupations and demonstrations in Pernambuco, Pará, São Paulo, Alagoas and several other states, objected to government support for agribusiness. They demanded rights for pro-worker social movements and an end to repression and violence against them.

In Caracas and other Venezuelan cities, marchers tied together women’s issues and their country’s revolutionary process under the theme, “Men and women weaving socialist conscience for our mother Earth.” President Hugo Chávez announced the newly expanded Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. This bureau will promote women’s committees in tens of thousands of local community councils. Women’s economic and social rights will be expanded under new legislation.

Socialist Cuba ceaselessly puts the goals of International Women’s Day into action under the leadership of the Federation of Cuban Women, whose membership is 4 million. This year 900 delegates commemorated this vital day at the federation’s eighth Congress in Havana.