Every March 8 women, and men, celebrate the achievements and contributions of women to the world on International Women’s Day. While there is still a long way to go towards gender equality, there have been some positive movements in that struggle, while the day was also used to highlight causes that still need addressing.

Here are some links to things and issues that happened / were raised on March 8.

Washington Post: fantastic photographic slideshow

From the LA Times:

Pakistan: Female family members of missing Pakistanis are using the day to reiterate demands to know where their loved ones are. “For years, human rights activists have claimed that Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and other security agencies in Pakistan routinely abduct men without legal justification,” The Times recently reported.

Venezuela: Backers of President Hugo Chavez marched for the women’s event. Chavez, in power for 13 years, faces a challenge from candidate Henrique Capriles this fall, as frustration rises over surging homicide rates and the stagnant economy.

Turkey: Women splattered with artificial blood protested domestic violence, while the Turkish parliament passed laws that will try to protect women and children from abuse. “The discriminative implementations against women and domestic violence should be stopped,” President Abdullah Gul said, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

Sudan: The day meant freedom for about 4,000 prisoners in Sudan who are being released to mark the day, the Associated Press reported. The prisoners included hundreds of women and children.

Read more here.

 The Guardian:

International Women’s Day was marked amid a mood of anger that the struggle for equality is far from being won.

In Istanbul, the Ukrainian women’s rights activists, Femen, staged a topless demonstration in bruise-like makeup to protest against domestic violence hours after a man in the Turkish capital shot dead a female relative because she left home following an argument with her husband. In Cairo, hundreds of women marched for equal rights and a gender balance in Egyptian politics.

In France, Nicolas Sarkozy visited female workers at a bra factory whose jobs had been under threat, Carla Bruni was due to appear on a TV current affairs show to discuss women’s rights and the Socialist frontrunner in the presidential race, François Hollande, promised feminist activists he would put equal numbers of women in government and improve equality. France suffers from a 25% average male-female pay gap.

Read more here.

Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures was the theme for the 2012 events. With that in mind I have chosen three images of women from the Visited Planet database that education, health and employment plans have assisted thanks to innovative programs.

Former orphans raised through an orphanage and now educating young children in Yangon, Myanmar.

A woman making batik clothing in Yogyakarta, Indonesia that she sells through an NGO. The woman’s home was destroyed by an earthquake in 2006 and she was working from within the rubble of her home.

Women in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia who had left the work on the streets to develop a new way of life for themselves and their children. Many are employed through an NGO funded initiative.

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Feel free to email Jo at admin@visitedplanet.com with your comments/thoughts/photo aspirations. See and learn more at www.visitedplanet.com