cloudy
Friday December 14th, 2018 7:01PM

Int'l Women's Day: Protests, a strike, a Russian's apology

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

A 24-hour strike by millions of Spanish women. A crackdown in France on companies violating gender-equal pay policies. In Russia, a candid apology from a powerful legislator to women he sexually harassed.

Many of the International Women's Day events on Thursday powerfully echoed the #MeToo movement that has mobilized women against sexual violence and workplace harassment.

Demonstrators filled the streets in several Asian cities, including Manila, Seoul and New Delhi. Clad in pink and purple shirts, the activists in Manila lambasted Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, calling him among the worst violators of women's rights in Asia. Human rights groups have condemned Duterte's sexist remarks, including a suggestion that troops shoot female communist rebels in the genitals.

In Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, a throng of activists was joined by a victim of one of the acid attacks frequently perpetrated in the country by embittered men. Black glasses covered part of her badly burned face.

Hundreds of women gathered in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, to commemorate the occasion and urge more progress on women's political rights, education and safety. During Taliban rule, many women would have been afraid to leave their homes.

In Spain, major unions estimated that 5.3 million people joined the strike, which targeted gender violence and unequal pay. The day culminated with street protests in scores of cities. The theme was "If we stop, the world stops."

Social services worker Teresa Sonsur, protesting in Madrid, said she wanted to end workplace discrimination at her agency.

"The women are doing all the hard work, dealing with the customers, but in the positions of management it is always men," the 38-year-old woman said.

French companies that treat women unequally may soon face new pressure and penalties. President Emmanuel Macron says his government is going to name and shame such companies. He predicted positive changes "because no one wants to be the worst student in the class."

Another government initiative would fine companies with more than 50 employees if there is an "unjustified" gender wage gap.

The left-leaning French daily Liberation said that for one day only, men would have to pay 50 cents more than women for the newspaper, a reminder that women in France, on average, are paid 25 percent less than men.

In a striking development in Russia, the head of Parliament's foreign affairs committee apologized after being accused of sexual harassment by several female journalists. Noting it was International Women's Day, Leonid Slutsky said on Facebook, "I am using the occasion to ask forgiveness from those of you whom I freely or involuntarily caused suffering."

The apology came after demonstrators, including opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, picketed outside Parliament, demanding Slutsky's resignation.

In Italy, actress Asia Argento, who helped sparked the #MeToo campaign last year, said she is launching a new movement, #WeToo, to unite women against a power imbalance favoring men.

Argento told Radio 24 that her aim is "to finally change the patriarchal system so rooted in our culture, not just in Italy."

Argento helped embolden other women to report sexual assault and harassment when she accused Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape in an expose by The New Yorker. She faced a backlash in Italy, with critics questioning why she waited 20 years to come forward.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, one of the world's most powerful women, said in a video message that the quest for greater gender equality in Germany and worldwide must continue.

"Many women before us have made sacrifices and fought persistently so that women would have more rights," she said. "But there's still a lot to do."

In Rome, Catholic women challenged Pope Francis to give women a greater voice in church affairs. Former Irish President Mary McAleese, an advocate for women's ordination and gay rights, accused the church's all-male leadership of refusing to change women's second-class status.

"The Catholic Church has long since been a primary global carrier of the toxic virus of misogyny," McAleese said.

In Uganda, where domestic violence is common and often goes unreported, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged men to stop abusing their wives.

"If you want to fight, why don't you look for a fellow man and fight?" said Museveni, calling domestic abusers cowards.

At a star-studded event at the United Nations, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on men to join in making gender equality "a reality for all."

"This is what women and girls want. And that is what I want," he said. "It is what every sensible man and boy should want."

International Women's Day, created over a century ago by the socialist and labor movements, traditionally has been a higher-profile occasion abroad than in the United States, where women's rights activists have been energized over the past 14 months by huge protest marches and the emergence of the #MeToo movement.

Nonetheless, several U.S. companies, including McDonald's, Kroger and Old Navy, made gestures in recognition of the day, and the White House announced that first lady Melania Trump would present State Department courage awards to women from around the world at a March 21 ceremony.

___

Associated Press reporters around the world contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, AP World News, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, AP Business
© Copyright 2018 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Int'l Women's Day: Protests, a strike, a Russian's apology
In many countries, International Women's Day events carried echoes of the #MeToo movement
4:19PM ( 3 minutes ago )
The Latest: 'Fearless Girl' dons blue cape for Women's Day
The "Fearless Girl" statue that's been a New York City tourist attraction for the last year was decorated with a blue cape for International Women's Day.
4:17PM ( 5 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says tariffs fulfill campaign promise
President Donald Trump says his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports fulfills a key campaign promise
4:03PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: UN chief urges men to make gender equality real
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says the world is at "a pivotal moment for women's rights" and is urging men and boys to join in making gender equality "a reality for all."
3:43PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Study finds false stories travel way faster than the truth
The most comprehensive study of online fake information finds that false stories on Twitter travel six times faster and reaches way more people than the truth
3:37PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Northeast tries to dig out, power up after latest storm
Residents in the Northeast are digging out from as much as 2 feet of heavy snow as utilities deal with downed trees and power lines that snarled traffic and left hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity
3:30PM ( 52 minutes ago )
AP National News
Melania Trump to present courage awards to women
White House uses International Women's Day to announce that Melania Trump will present courage awards to women from around the world
2:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
Thousands of women rally in Spain after 1-day strike
Spanish women stage one-day strike as thousands take over the central arteries of cities across Spain for evening marches to mark International Women's Day.
2:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: UK police: 21 total treated after spy poisoning
British police now say a total of roughly 21 people have sought treatment after a nerve agent was used to attack and ex-Russian spy and his daughter
2:01PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Shaquille O'Neal to hold carnival-style EDM affair in Miami
NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal will put his DJ skills on display at his own carnival-style event after a popular electronic dance music festival in Miami
2:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
'Sopranos' prequel film in the works with David Chase script
'Sopranos' prequel film in the works with David Chase script; will be set in the 1960s during the Newark riots
2:36PM ( 1 hour ago )
Publisher of Franzen, Eugenides is stepping back
The longtime publisher of such prize-winning authors as Jonathan Franzen and Marilynne Robinson is stepping back
2:21PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Judge: Man accused of McDormand Oscar theft will be released
A man who is charged with stealing Frances McDormand's best actress Oscar will be released on his own recognizance
8:34PM ( 19 hours ago )
NYPD: We have considerable evidence in Weinstein rape case
NYPD chief of detectives Robert Boyce says they've gathered considerable evidence in the rape investigation of Harvey Weinstein
7:16PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Man accused of Oscar theft to be released
The Latest: A man who is charged with stealing Frances McDormand's best actress Oscar will be released on his own recognizance
7:06PM ( 21 hours ago )
AP Online Movies News
GOP aides say Trump threatens veto over NY-NJ rail tunnel
President Donald Trump has threatened to veto a $1.3 trillion government-wide spending measure if it includes money for a rail tunnel under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey
3:29PM ( 53 minutes ago )
Stocks turn higher as details on metals tariffs emerge
U.S. stocks are turning higher in afternoon trading as President Donald Trump's proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports appear to be less harsh than Wall Street had feared
3:22PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Trump: 'Rich guys, they love rocket ships, and that's good'
President Donald Trump says it's good that "rich guys" love rocket ships
3:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
The Latest: 'Fearless Girl' dons blue cape for Women's Day
The "Fearless Girl" statue that's been a New York City tourist attraction for the last year was decorated with a blue cape for International Women's Day.
4:17PM ( 5 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump says tariffs fulfill campaign promise
President Donald Trump says his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports fulfills a key campaign promise
4:03PM ( 19 minutes ago )
UK police: 21 people sought treatment after ex-spy poisoning
A British police official has updated the number of people who sought treatment after a nerve agent attack on an ex-Russian spy, saying "around 21" had been given medical help and support
4:02PM ( 20 minutes ago )
11 nations sign Pacific trade pact as Trump plans US tariffs
Trade ministers from 11 Pacific Rim countries have signed a sweeping agreement to streamline trade and slash tariffs just hours before U.S. President Donald Trump announced his plan to impose new tariffs on aluminum and steel to protect U.S. producers
3:59PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Florida governor won't say whether he will sign gun bill
Florida governor won't say whether he will sign gun bill passed after Parkland shooting
3:54PM ( 28 minutes ago )