Around the world, people took the celebration of International Women's Day from the virtual realm into the streets — marching, chanting slogans, weeping and buying flowers to celebrate the day from the Philippines to Afghanistan to Poland and beyond.
Celebrated on March 8 for more than a 100 years, International Women's Day comes with a U.N.-approved theme. This year's is "Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality" — a reference to the U.N.'s "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," the goals of which "seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls."
In the Philippines, a women's group celebrated a court decision that cleared the way for a female presidential candidate to run. In Taiwan, a former "comfort woman" — a woman forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese during World War II — appeared at a museum memorializing her ordeal. In India, protesters demanded equal representation for women. In Bangladesh, garment workers demanded equal pay, an end to violence against women and safe working conditions. And in Poland, men bought flowers.
"We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. "Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers."
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," political activist and renowned feminist Gloria Steinem said in a statement.