International Women's Day Top

Celebrating women and girls worldwide

İpek Eser/YJI


Focusing on the right to vote and gender equality

Przysietnica, POLAND – There are around 4 billion women in the world. Each of them has her own unique story to tell, each of them has her own struggles and difficulties she has to overcome. Each of them is special.

We celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th. During that day we focus on women’s unity and their achievements in the worlds of politics, economics, science and culture.

In Poland, Women’s Day became popular only during Communist Party rule. It was an official, public holiday until 1993.

Mandatory celebrations held in workplaces and schools included parties, various events and bestowing flowers (the most common ones were pink) or chocolates on women.

Today, people commemorate International Women’s Day in many ways. When I was a child, I used to associate this special holiday with a stack of chocolates I was gifted from my father, cousins and uncles.

My friend and I would then bring each type of sweet treat to school to find the best, tastiest one.

The way one celebrates Women’s Day is not the most relevant part. What truly makes this holiday special is its essence.

Every year on March 8th we honor the suffragettes who have fought for women’s rights to vote and advocated for gender equality.

It should remind us that this fight is not over as there are millions of women around the globe who are still denied the basic rights to education and employment.

Magdalena Tokarczyk is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Poland.


(Yunn Chaw Nadi/YJI)

Women are the Revolution in Myanmar

MYANMAR – As Women’s Day nears, I find myself reflecting on the remarkable strength, resilience, and achievements of women throughout history and in our daily lives.

In Myanmar, the 2010s were arguably the most progressive times, offering women newfound opportunities. Then, the 2021 coup threatened to reverse our progress and go far back.

But the voices of women have been louder than ever, as they have emerged as prominent leaders in civil activism against the junta.

In a notable display of feminist activism, women have pioneered the Sarong Revolution, strategically using sarongs, a piece of clothing called “htamein” in Burmese, to deter security forces.

The military’s reluctance to pass under the sarongs, fearing the loss of “Hpon” – a symbol of masculine power and honor – reflects the evolving feminist activism challenging traditional power structures in Myanmar.

Since the coup, more and more reports have surged of women being assaulted by the junta and facing obstacles in accessing essential resources, such as menstrual products. And, more and more women have responded with resilience, establishing grassroots frontline humanitarian, health, and education initiatives to address urgent humanitarian needs.

This International Women’s Day reminds me of the tremendous contribution of women to the Spring Revolution and the future of Myanmar. Women are actively shaping Myanmar’s society, and the international community needs to recognize and support their endeavors.

In every struggle for justice and every call for change, women are indeed the revolution in Myanmar.

Yunn Chaw Nadi is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Myanmar.

United Kingdom

YJI Senior Correspondent Holly Hostettler-Davies in discussion with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron. (Photo provided.)

Women deserve to be in the room

Cardiff, Wales, UK – As I write this commentary I am traveling to London for the second time this week to celebrate International Women’s Day. The last couple of years I have been really lucky to volunteer and work in the sexual and reproductive health and rights space. It is a subject I am incredibly passionate about.

On Monday, I met with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, our former prime minister, to discuss the government’s work on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We spoke about how important it is for the government to work with young women and girls to strategize and figure out what works going forward. We discussed the importance of girls being able to access sexual and reproductive health services that are youth-friendly, affordable and easy to navigate.

It was a tricky conversation to have with such a high-level politician and my imposter syndrome was loud. But I had to keep reminding myself that I deserve to be in the room. My opinion is important.

My experience matters. I work hard to make my voice heard and I am worthy of the opportunities I get.

Although some might say that International Women’s Day is performative rather than active, for me, it is an opportunity to accelerate conversations and drive change forward.

The buzz around the day gives me the confidence to use my voice loudly and proudly and to get myself in positions to make a positive impact for women and girls worldwide.

Holly Hostettler-Davies is a Senior Correspondent with Youth Journalism International from Wales.


Tanya Tkachenko (center) at her high school graduation with her mother, Viktoriia Tkachenko at right, and grandmother, Valentina Sarsatskaya. (Photo used with permission.)

Remembering special Ukrainian women

International Women’s Day holds a special place in my heart, as it has always been associated with gestures of appreciation, such as flowers and small gifts, alongside the celebration of womanhood.

During my time in school in Ukraine, it was usual to prepare small gifts for girls and female teachers or to create handmade postcards for our mothers and grandmothers. Our town, Lozova, would also host various events and concerts to celebrate International Women’s Day.

However, since graduating from school and experiencing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine during my gap year, I have not had the opportunity to celebrate this holiday. For the past three years, I’ve been unable to share this day with two significant women in my life – my mother, who is currently serving in the military back home, and my grandmother, who died in March 2022.

Coming to college in the United States two years ago and transitioning to life in the U.S. diminished the significance of Women’s Day for me, as I found that it is not a commonly celebrated holiday here. 

And I also did not have my favorite women to celebrate it with me. 

In the US, the 8th of March doesn’t carry the same weight – most people forget its existence. I miss the anticipation and excitement of preparing for this event and the joy of exchanging gifts with my loved ones. But I am trying to share this holiday with my American friends in Georgetown!

Tanya Tkachenko is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Ukraine.

United States

Women throughout America deserve reproductive freedom

Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. – I’m lucky to have choices whether I want a child or not. That isn’t possible if I move out of my state. 

Even as women’s day celebrates the progress of women’s rights, I can’t help but feel shame following the current path the U.S. is taking with regard to women’s reproductive rights. Despite being in an affluent country with politicians preaching about freedom, it doesn’t seem like some freedoms exist to women at times.

The 2022 fall of Roe v. Wade – and with it, the fundamental right to abortion in America – led to a patchwork of abortion laws that prevent all women from experiencing the same freedom of choice regarding childbirth.

In states such as Texas, women have limited choices due to laws that prevent doctors from giving information about abortion that could potentially save women’s lives. Laws such as those from Texas are even vague about protections towards the mother, as they fail to define when a person is in severe need of an abortion. 

Yet within my home state, abortion is fully protected. Doctors can be present with all the risks surrounding a pregnancy and give women a choice without facing the risk of prosecution from the state. 

It’s unacceptable that despite living in the same country, I have more rights than other women within my country. They deserve them, too. 

I shouldn’t have to feel lucky.

Dana Kim is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from the United States.

United Kingdom

Friendship. (Nargis Babar/YJI)

The energy and love in female friendships

Durham, UK – International Women’s Day is not something I celebrate on March 8, but the day reminds me to cherish my female friendships. I have met so many incredible women through the years who exude kindness, strength and determination.

Just being around them is uplifting and energizing. We share in each other’s joys, as well as in our struggles.

Though we are scattered all over the world, we always find a way to connect and make sure our friendships continue to flourish. 

Whether it involves video-calling one another, laughing till we have tears in our eyes or running to hug each other in the street, nothing is as fulfilling as being surrounded by a community of caring women.

As we grow older together, we drift further away from our roots. Yet through knowing these women, I always know I have something beautiful to return to.

So when I take the train back home after a day out with my friends, I cannot hold in my smile. I am grateful that I crossed paths with such genuine and kind-hearted people who make the world better with each day.

They deserve women’s day every day.

Nargis Babar is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Sweden.


More women needed in national politics

Port-au-Prince, HAITI – International Women’s Day isn’t really celebrated in Haiti. But fortunately, many organizations always try to highlight that day with conferences and other promotions on social media.

Even though I believe that celebrating that day is far from being what Haitian women really need, it does help remind everyone of the need for gender equity and empowerment for women.

In Haiti, women are a pillar of our economy. Many of them are vendors, also called “Madan Sara.” They buy products in the countryside and bring them to the markets in the capital.

They sustain their families as the ones who cook, do the laundry and all these household chores that Haitian men are generally taught from their younger age to leave on women.

But that doesn’t prevent some of these women from being forced to stay submissive within their household.

Whenever there is a crisis in the country, they are the first to suffer.

Since the beginning of the insecurity in Haiti, Haitian gangs have been using rape against women as a means of terror. With our weak justice system, none of the victims can even expect to see an assailant brought to trial. And there is still the prevalence of men in higher positions in the police and court system.

As of today, Ertha Pascal Trouillot is the only female president Haiti has known and she was successful. Indeed, she was the only president to succeed in organizing honest and uncontested elections.

This gives us the certainty that having more women in politics in Haiti could be revolutionary!

Naïka Jean is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Haiti.


Tulips in a park in Krasnodar, Russia. (Amina Urdukhanova/YJI)

One day for women is not enough

Krasnodar, RUSSIA – International Women’s Day, or the 8th of March, as we usually call it, has for a long time been an important date for the population of post-Soviet countries.

The 8th of March lost its original meaning and is now mainly perceived as a day for men to show their love and care to their mothers, sisters, wives or girlfriends.

Lately, though, feminists have been reminding everyone how people here began to observe this holiday. 

On March, 8, 1917 (or February, 23 by the Old Style (Julian) calendar) around 130,000 women went on strike in Saint Petersburg, Russia, demanding voting rights.

As a result, they won the right to vote a year before British women and three years before women in America did.

Today in most post-Soviet countries, International Women’s Day is a day off.

In schools, students prepare performances and make gifts for their mothers and grandmothers. In classrooms, boys congratulate their female classmates and teachers and give them little presents.

At home, children take good care of their mothers all day, men give flowers and candies to their wives, sisters or girlfriends. Friends and families go to restaurants.

My feelings about this beautiful holiday are the most wonderful. I adore the love and care that flows in the streets on the 8th of March – the tulips from a stranger, the compliments from the opposite sex.

In my childhood, I wished every day was the 8th of March. There is so much to be said and to be done for women that only one day is not enough!

Amina Urdukhanova is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Russia.


Learning from – and growing with – my mom

Giza, EGYPT – In many Middle Eastern and North African countries where both parents’ presence are recognized as crucial in children’s lives, it’s become more common to see mothers tending the house while the fathers leave home to somewhere far away for work.

YJI Junior Reporter Jana Salama at right with her mother, Noha Elsayed. (Jana Salama/YJI)

This has been my reality since I was born. My mom took on the role of two parents while my father was away for months at a time.

It’s taught me a lot over the years, but I cannot be more appreciative of my mother, who has given up so much to withstand what many people cannot, and all for the sake of family.

Mother’s Day is an important day for me as it serves to be a reminder of all my mother’s sacrifices.

We have a sacred bond as the eldest child and the most present parent in the house, and in many ways, we’ve helped each other grow together. Whether it be doing the house chores, telling me about her worries, or more complicated stuff like finances and paperwork — she always comes to me first.

I am so grateful to be a big part of her life and her silly gossip sessions in the kitchen with oil in our palms.

Because of her, I learned responsibility – and most importantly, I carry the empathy she instilled in me early on. I love you Mama, Happy Mother’s Day!

Jana Salama is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Egypt.

South Korea

Josephine Lee/YJI

South Korea needs some Girl Power

Seoul, SOUTH KOREA – In the past, women weren’t educated or able to vote and were treated as housewives and property. As centuries passed, our world acknowledged that girls and women were equal beings that also deserved their own rights.

International Women’s Day celebrates this equality movement.

But in Korea, International Women’s Day isn’t celebrated or that well known, and this always left me thinking: Are we ever going to take action?

Korean society keeps promising over and over again that they will eliminate gender inequality and ensure that everybody is treated the same within their borders. Still, South Korea has not shown much progress as our country is infamous for its large disparity in wages. 

March 8th commemorates those who strived to create a world filled with equality for men and women, and International Women’s Day should be celebrated across the world but unfortunately remains an understated topic here in South Korea.

Therefore, to rectify this shortcoming, the next generation must be well educated to erase the fixed idea of men being superior to women, and it is on the Korean government to instate this proper education into schools’ curriculums.

The power of women and their voices seize my attention to this day.

I shall continue to honor the empowerment of women and their past and future endeavors. Everybody must push together for a better world where women will be valued and treated equally

Josephine Yein Lee is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from South Korea.


Students at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Perth, Australia, dressed up this week for International Women’s Day. From left are Imogen Haynes as Coco Chanel, Olivia Elliott as a ‘tradie Barbie,’ and Francesca Crisp as an Antarctic explorer. (Marit Nair/YJI)

Celebrating women at an all-girls school

Perth, AUSTRALIA – At Presbyterian Ladies’ College, my private girls school in Perth, Western Australia, every day is women’s day.

A sculpture made by a former student at the Presbyterian Ladies’ College in Perth, Australia. (Marit Nair/YJI)

The school hosts events year-round showcasing women in STEM, successful college alumnae, and businesswomen. And it’s not just the school’s top-tier facilities that help the students learn – studies show that girls perform better in single-sex spaces.

For this International Women’s Day, my school is hosting multiple events. Prior to the day itself, students are invited to dress as an ‘inspirational woman,’ while the library has for the past week featured books by and biographies featuring accomplished women.

On March 8, the school will play music from female artists, send students to attend a women’s coding event, invite inspiring alumnae to speak about their experiences working in prestigious and male-dominated fields, and hold a breakfast themed around ‘innovation for a gender-equal future.’

On Thursday, students dressed as scientists, nurses, their family members, ‘tradie Barbies’ and, heart-warmingly, themselves.

Marit Nair is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Australia.


Always having to prove herself

Maringá, BRAZIL – What does it look like to be a woman in Brazil?

According to the latest data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, Brazil has 104 million women, compared to 98 million men. We are a large number, but our representation in the country is small.

Women only gained the right to vote in the past century, around the 1930s, but only with the authorization of their husbands. That has changed over time, but  their political participation is not significant.

Brazilian women feel as if they’re in the shadows of society. (Nicole Luna/YJI)

During the Brazilian dictatorship of 1969 to 1985, people lost access to their rights, including free speech and political activity. And for women, the situation was even worse.

All the improvements we gained from a long fight were silenced during this terrible period.

We couldn’t decide about our future and always had to have a man with us, as it was too dangerous for girls to walk around – there were brutal cases of sexual assault involving soldiers.

Going back to the initial question: what does it look like to be a woman in Brazil?

Decades past the dictatorship, gender inequality is still present.

As a Brazilian girl, it’s hard. When I’m going back home from university in the evening, I’m in constant fear of not only being assaulted but also harassed and attacked.

When I pass in front of men, I feel uncomfortable, with an alert message popping up in my mind.

I always have to prove myself to people who just expect women to be housewives and nothing else.

Women here can do anything but need more than limited resources and encouragement.

Nicole Luna is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Brazil.

United States

Jessy Siegmann/YJI

March 8 is a day to bring women together

Jericho, New York, U.S.A. – International Women’s Day for me is a way to bring a community together. 

It is a day to appreciate the other women around us for both our similarities and differences.

Women should be coming together to empower one another. We use this day to celebrate the wonderful achievements women have brought to this world.

Women have come so far in their strive for equality and rights and rightfully deserved to be celebrated. 

Girls supporting girls is a phrase I love to hear. Women should be lifting each other up and allowing our voices to be heard in a world that is so quick to shut them down. 

Whether someone is a friend or a stranger, support other women, especially in a society that puts them at a disadvantage. 

Today, and every day, I celebrate the woman in my life who has shaped my path and who has supported me. 

So say thank you today, to any woman in your life – just for being themselves.

Jessy Siegmann is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from the United States.  


Why the fight for equality matters

Casablanca, MOROCCO – Morocco celebrates International Women’s Day with discussions, events, and a recognition of women’s contributions across society.

It’s a day to honor the strength and resilience of women, from those in businesses to those raising families.

For me, it’s a day to celebrate the women in my life: my mother, whose love and sacrifice shaped me and my 8-year-old sister, who I hope grows up in a world with more equality.

This year, International Women’s Day feels even more important. In just a month in Morocco, a new draft of the moudawana (family code) will be presented to the king, one that could mean greater rights for Moroccan women.

This day reminds me why the fight for equality matters.

Women’s rights groups take center stage. Some organize celebratory events, highlighting the progress made. Others hold powerful protests, reminding everyone of the work that remains.

The mix of celebration and action captures the essence of International Women’s Day for me: honoring the journey while pushing for a brighter future where my sister – and all women – have equal opportunities to thrive.

Sal Mamouni is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Morocco.

United Kingdom

Women are still not safe, or valued

LONDON – As a young woman living in a supposed first-world country, I have so much opportunity. Access to education, the ability to work for my own income, and access to free healthcare are things I can’t take for granted.

But being a woman is more complex. Women must fight for equity due to all our differences – class, race and disabilities, to name a few.  

A school library display for International Women’s Day. (Anjola Fashawe/YJI)

In the UK, misogyny seems to be subtly hidden. Period poverty is an issue that has been exacerbated amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

In the 21st century, women lacking free menstrual products in the UK contradicts its gender-inclusive reputation. This is unacceptable. 

Exorbitant housing prices have led to a rise in temporary accommodation, which tend to be filled by homeless single mothers with young children.   

Women’s trust in the British police – the institution with the duty to protect them – has declined. The news is filled with new evidence of police officers convicted of murdering, raping and mocking women – Sarah Everard, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, to name a few. Women aren’t even safe in public, evident in the countless incidents of sexual harassment and rape on the tube – and that’s only the women who have felt brave enough to speak up.  

It is important to look at the impact of various types of discrimination intersecting. One example is the rise in femicide rates for Black women and their higher risk of maternal mortality.

In healthcare, women’s struggles, like period pains, are often dismissed. Disabled women face increased abuse by caregivers, exacerbated by the disability pay gap. 

Inclusivity isn’t enough; women must be valued.  

Anjola Fashawe is a Senior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from the United Kingdom.


Dresden (Lina Schulenkorf/YJI)

Demonstrations are pushing for equality

Dresden, GERMANY – When I think of 8 March, I associate Women’s Day with the many and various battles that women have been fighting for thousands of years to achieve equality. In my former East German city of Dresden, Women’s Day is celebrated more than in West Germany.

In the GDR era, Women’s Day was a propaganda tool and was celebrated accordingly both by the state and in private. Today, these state celebrations no longer exist, but there are still some private traditions that remain.

Women are usually given a bouquet of flowers on this day – and in some households it is even customary for the men to do all the stereotypical “women’s work” and thus be responsible for all the housework on this day.

However, if there’s one thing women in Germany certainly don’t say, it’s that they want a flower instead of equity.

The year is 2024 in a country where women are equal by law – and a femicide still happens every third day in Germany. Women are still asked what they were wearing and do 43.8 % more unpaid care work than men.

In response to this, the concept of the Feminist Fighting Day has been coined, particularly in feminist circles, to fight for the equity of all genders.

In addition, March 8 combines two feminist days here in Germany: Equal Pay Day and Women’s Day, because statistically speaking, women in Germany essentially work for free until March 6. This is another reason why several demonstrations, a feminist school strike, a concert and many workshops and meetings for women are planned in Dresden this year.

Lina Schulenkorf is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Germany.

United States

Inspiration from an Indian heroine

Sharon, Massachusetts, U.S.A. – As a young, teenage girl living in the United States, International Women’s Day holds special significance to me and my family. Since my family comes from India, I was brought up learning about important women in Indian history. One of these women is Savitribai Phule.

Phule was an activist in the fight for women’s education and empowerment, and she grew up in a society where girls were often denied education and were confined to traditional roles within the household.

Despite facing this immense societal opposition, she and her husband worked tirelessly to promote education for women and opened the first school in Pune, India in 1848. 

Growing up, my mother would tell me stories of Phule’s courage and I remember being amazed. Not only did she fight for women’s rights, but she also fought to abolish caste-based discrimination, which is unfortunately still a large issue in India today.

As tradition, every year on International Women’s Day, my family and I sit in our pooja (prayer) room and recite a couple of prayers towards her as well as reciting one of her many well-written poems, Go, Get Education.

Every so often, I’ll read her poem over and over again, and every time I do read it, it’s like I get a surge of determination rushing through me. 

But the lines that will always stick with me are these:

You've got a golden chance to learn
So learn and break the chains of caste

Shiara Naveen is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International from the United States.


In praise of strong women

Mansoura, EGYPT – To celebrate International Women’s Day this year, I wanted to say thanks for the most two powerful women I have ever known, my mother and my grandmother.

Ahmed Elkhamisy and his mother, Dr. Amira Soliman. (Ahmed Elkhamisy/YJI)

I  always felt safe with them since I was a child. Both of them represent power, strength and love for me.

My grandmother is the first person to say to me “Happy Birthday” on my birthday every year. She also was the one who supported me in every decision I’ve made.

She always takes care of everything and she never gets tired of it.

My mother is the person who always makes everything beautiful. She has this ultimate power that makes me happy even in my darkest moments. She is also the person that I should thank for everything in my life.

She always gives me the space to express my feelings and my passion.

I am sure that all of us have women in our lives that we are deeply grateful for, so to every woman in the world, thanks for everything.

Ahmed Elkhamisy is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Egypt.

United States

Hope for a better future for all girls

Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. – I learned about International Women’s Day when my youngest cousin was born six years ago. Her birthday is March 8. 

The radio announced that morning as “International Women’s Day” and since then, the two have been connected in my mind.

But, I did not grow up celebrating International Women’s Day, or even being aware of its existence. Thinking about my cousin, I no longer forget it – though for a lot of the United States, the day does seem to slip by. 

International Women’s Day is not an official holiday in the US. In the March 8ths I have spent in my hometown, I’ve never experienced it as a widespread celebration acknowledged by many people.

Instead, it has always seemed like a moment for my own reflection on the world I have grown up in. 

I have come to see it as a reminder to take a deep breath, look around, and feel a rush of thanks to all the women who have imparted me with their strength.

I also think of my cousin. 

A decade behind me, I think of the world she will grow to understand. I think about everything that has changed since I was six years old.

I hope that every day, I will remember the women who have made it possible for me to live a life filled with choice and potential. But for her, I am also mindful of the flaws in the world she will inherit.

Annamika Konkola is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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