A Roundup of #InternationalWomensDay Protests and Demonstrations Around the Globe

From Mexico to Pakistan, women and feminists around the globe staged protests and demonstrations to call attention to issues affecting women, like equal pay, gender-based violence, femicide, inaction by governments or—more often than not—some combination.

Below is a roundup of some of the demonstrations for women, by women throughout the world.

Mexico’s #ADayWithoutWomen

In Mexico, more than ten women are murdered every day. Femicides have risen 137 percent in the past five years. And most violent crimes go unsolved.

On Sunday, International Women’s Day, women in cities around Mexico took to the streets to voice their outrage.

On Monday, thousands of women across the country have joined a historic protest, which they’re calling #ADayWithoutWomen, in which women across the country stayed home as part of a 24-hour strike to protest staggering levels of violence against women.

Officially branded “Un Día Sin Nosotras,” or “a day without us,” the strike is attempting to take a stand against startling rates of Mexican gender-based violence and femicide—and what protestors perceive as inaction on behalf of their government.

The Philippines

“In many different ways or forms, women are being exploited and taken advantage of,” said Arlene Brosas, representative of a Filipino advocacy group, during a rally that drew hundreds to the area near the presidential palace.

Protesters voiced their demands for higher pay and job security, and demanded that President Rodrigo Duterte respect women’s rights.


Like in Mexico, women across Argentina staged mass rallies and took part in work strikes. Demonstrators voiced concern over violence against women and pushed for efforts to legalize abortion.

“Again, women, lesbians and trans people go out to continue fighting for our rights, in a very special year in Argentina, in a year where the president has just announced that he will present a project for legal and safe abortion,” said Andrea Conde, of the feminist organization Avanza.

“So this year has that very strong significance. And we are, as always, overflowing the streets of all the cities of this country. And this women’s revolution does not only occur in Argentina, but it occurs everywhere in world, and that’s why it has the power it has.”

Sri Lanka

From The Daily News:

In Sri Lanka, women have seen dramatic development gains over the years. Today, Sri Lankan women have long life spans, inroads with education and health, and a high literacy rate. Yet power gaps persist.

The last parliament had only 12 women in the 225-seat legislative body, short of the global tally of one-quarter. However, the upcoming Parliamentary elections are an opportunity to increase women’s meaningful participation in public life.

Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality, calls for empowering women to enter traditionally male dominated spaces. A commitment by all political parties to harness the contribution of women provides an ideal opportunity for Sri Lanka to advance its development agenda with women in decision-making roles.


From Radio France Internationale:

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are taking to the streets of Paris and cities around France to mark International Women’s day, with the aim of bringing together several disparate issues facing women in France today.

Those who are protesting against the pension reform being pushed through by the government will march alongside those fighting feminicides and domestic violence.

In Paris, Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and Nancy, organisers are hoping to combine “feminist dynamics” to highlight issues of equality and women’s rights in all parts of life.

Demonstrators have been called on to wear blue work uniforms and red headscarves, to evoke Rosie the riveter, the image of the working woman during the Second World War, which has become a symbol for women’s working rights.


From Al-Monitor:

In Beirut, although the International Women’s Day march had been canceled due to precautions following the COVID-19 outbreak, a few hundred women — and men — walked through the streets of Beirut, calling for the fall of traditional patriarchal structures and improvement of personal status laws.


In Istanbul, government police sprayed tear gas into a crowd and shoved protestors after local officials closed down streets leading to the city’s main square, writes The Guardian.




From TimeOut London:

Thousands of people took to the streets of London to attend the #March4Women for International Women’s Day. This year’s focus was on the women and girls fighting climate change, with celebrities such as Natalie Dormer, Camilla Thurlow, Himesh Patel and George MacKay joining the fight for the Greta good.




From The Guardian‘s Joe Parkin Daniels:

The anti-rape anthem, En Violador En Tu Camino, A Rapist In Your Path, became a viral phenomenon after it was first debuted by Chilean protestors in November. The anthem has since been performed across the globe, in front of presidential mansions to outside the courthouse where Harvey Weinstein was put on trial.

The spread and impact of the anthem was clear on International Women’s Day when women around the world stood in formation and performed the anthem, along with the choreography.


The MercoPress reports:

Cities across Chile erupted in mass celebration and outrage on Sunday as women and their supporters rallied for International Women’s Day. In Santiago, Dignity plaza that has become the city’s ground zero for protests in recent months could not contain the crowd, extending for blocks along significant boulevards. Marches were under way in several cities, with others to follow on Sunday evening.

Nearly two million women were participating in marches across the country on Sunday, day one of a two-day feminist strike. The actions are taking place in the context of broader protests against structural inequality that have been rocking the country since October 2019.





From The Guardian‘s Joe Parkin Daniels:

In Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, demonstrations had a timely significance following the Constitutional Court’s decision not to modify the restrictive abortion law last Monday.

Demonstrators, many wearing green bandanas, gathered at the Centre for Peace and Memory near downtown Bogotá on Sunday morning, before marching towards Parque Olaya in the city’s south.

Abortion is currently illegal in Colombia, except in cases where the life and health of the pregnant woman or the fetus are at risk, or in cases where the conception was the result of incest or rape. The court had an opportunity to loosen the law, though ultimately decided to maintain the status quo, disappointing watchdogs and activists across the region.

“By failing to take this historic opportunity to move towards the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, the Constitutional Court has turned its back on women and their struggle to end the cycle of violence and the control mechanisms of which they have been the victims,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, in a press release following the decision on Monday.

With the law so restrictive, many women are forced to seek clandestine, illegal abortions. Over the last decade or so, Colombia has investigated 4,802 people for having or aiding in illegal abortions, according to the country’s attorney general. Nearly 500 of those cases were women under 18 years old.


Roxanne Szal (or Roxy) is the managing digital editor at Ms. and a producer on the Ms. podcast On the Issues With Michele Goodwin. She is also a mentor editor for The OpEd Project. Before becoming a journalist, she was a Texas public school English teacher. She is based in Austin, Texas. Find her on Twitter @roxyszal.