Strikes and traffic lights: 8 ways the world is marking International Women's Day

Traffic policemen stand in front of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station, lit up in pink on the eve of International Women's Day, in Mumbai, India, on March 7, 2017.
Traffic policemen stand in front of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) railway station, lit up in pink on the eve of International Women's Day, in Mumbai, India, on March 7, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

How are you spending International Women's Day on March 8?

Marches, strikes and changing traffic lights were some of the ways the day was marked across the world.

Paradoxically, a strike on shopping, and shopping online, were both touted as ways to celebrate the power of women.

Here's what women - and men - are doing across the world:

1. "A Day Without Women"


Thousands of people marched in Washington on Jan 21, 2017, for the Women's March on Washington. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

The Women's March movement in the US has encouraged women to walk out and take a day off.

The strike was meant to highlight the importance and contributions of women, whether at work or at home.

The movement also asked women to avoid shopping for the day to demonstrate their economic impact, and to wear red in solidarity with the movement.

A similar movement called the Global Women's Strike organised strikes in other countries.

2. Go ahead, take the day off

In Australia, more than 1,000 early childhood educators walked off the job to campaign for equal pay, the Guardian reported.

They left at at 3.20pm - the time that women in Australia effectively start working for free.

Female-dominated industries attract lower wages than those made up of mostly men and qualified early childhood educators earn some of the lowest wages in the country.

3. Traffic lights signal change?

 

Also in Australia, a move to put dresses on traffic light figures attracted some controversy.

Ten traffic lights in the city centre were changed to feature figures in skirts, in a move meant to highlight and correct unconscious biases.

But was mocked by many and called unnecessary. Some asked why the organisers assumed the walking stick men were men and not women in trousers.

4. Giving women an inning

India launched its first all-women cricket league. Founders said they want a women's league that enjoys the same prestige as the male Indian Premier League, which has drawn cricket stars from around the world and has huge sponsorship from multinational companies and celebrities.

India has hundreds of millions of women cricket fans, but few opportunities to play the sport at a professional level.

5. Shop (or not)


Alibaba's Tmall had the slogan "Queen Day, Live your beauty". PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM TMALL WEBSITE

While the Day without Women told women to lay off their credit cards, Chinese online retailers used the day to entice women to buy, buy and buy.

Alibaba's Tmall had the slogan "Queen Day, Live your beauty" on the site, qz.com reported.

It's not just Chinese sites. American businesses and retailers in Singapore were also offering discounts to women on March 8.

Eu Yan Sang, for example, was offering deals on birds' nest and other health products.

Women should probably make the call, and demonstrate their financial independence by buying only what they want.

6. Stare down challenges


 A statue of a girl facing the Wall St. Bull in New York on March 7, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

A Wall Street firm, State Street Global Advisors, put up a statue of a girl in front of Lower Manhattan's well-known bronze charging bull, as if to fearlessly stare it down.

It was a way of calling attention to the lack of gender diversity on corporate boards and the pay gap of women working in financial services, a spokeswoman told Reuters.

Like the bull, the little bronze girl by artist Kristen Visbal was put up in the wee hours of the morning as "guerilla art".

The bull, sculpted by Italian-born artist Arturo Di Modica, was initially taken down after he quietly placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989, but it was later given a permanent home.

7. Take flight

Rio de Janeiro's main airport said it will mark International Women's Day by temporarily changing its name in honour of a prominent activist against domestic violence, Maria da Penha.

The Brazilian biopharmacist survived brutal abuse by her husband, including being shot and electrocuted. She fought for justice in the courts and in 2006 gave her name to legislation known as the Maria da Penha law, which targets domestic violence against women.

 

The international airport is currently named after Brazilian music icon Tom Jobim - although it is more commonly known as Rio Galeo.

It will get the new name for 10 days starting Wednesday.

8. Celebrate... men?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's wife set off a social media firestorm with an Instagram post on March 7, Reuters reported.

"As we mark International Women's Day, let's celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect," Mrs Sophie Gregoire Trudeau wrote on her Instagram account. She posted a photo of herself and her husband - who proudly declares himself a feminist - showing them holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes.

Are you ready to ignite change? This week, as we mark International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the boys and men in our lives who encourage us to be who we truly are, who treat girls & women with respect, and who aren’t afraid to speak up in front of others. Take a picture holding hands with your male ally & share it on social media using the hashtag #TomorrowInHand. Together, we can create a movement that inspires more men to join the fight to build a better tomorrow with equal rights & opportunities for everyone… because #EqualityMatters. 🤝 Êtes-vous prêtes à faire des étincelles pour allumer un changement ? Cette semaine, à l’occasion de la Journée internationale des femmes, célébrons les garçons et les hommes qui nous encouragent à être qui nous sommes vraiment, qui traitent les filles et les femmes avec respect et qui n’ont pas peur de parler haut devant les autres. Prenez une photo main dans la main avec votre allié et diffusez-la dans les médias sociaux avec le mot-clic #DemainEnMains. Ensemble, nous pouvons susciter un mouvement qui incitera davantage d’hommes à lutter avec nous pour des lendemains meilleurs, l’égalité des droits et des chances pour tous … parce que l’#Égalitécompte.

Mrs Gregoire Trudeau urged women to post a photo with their male ally.

Her post attracted plenty of blunt criticism. "I've never had to have my hand held," conservative MP Michelle Rempel tweeted. "Women's day is about women, not men!!"