Global State Initiatives For International Women’s Day


Most countries celebrate women’s rights on March 8. But what does this really mean? International Women’s Day was created for the purpose of fighting for women’s rights, the improvement of women’s condition all over the world, and gender equality. In consequence, this day is marked by numerous events organized by civil society, from major demonstrations to academic conferences. What remains a vital question is what role does the government play in the celebrations of March 8th and what are their actions. Let’s find out below!

(Secretary Antony J. Blinken and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden participate in the 18th annual International Women of Courage Award Ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2023. (Official State Department photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Award Ceremonies To Honour Women in the US, France and India.

The US and the “Women of Courage awards”

This annual ceremony recognizes audacious, hard-working women, who advocate for a better, fairer and more egalitarian world, that the American government wishes to highlight. This year on March 4th, at the White House in Washington the event was hosted by the First Lady Jill Biden, and the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The event isn’t just dedicated to Americans,  but women of various nationalities have been rewarded. Among them was Rabha El Haymar, who was forcibly married off at the age of 14 in Morocco, and who won recognition of her rights after a long legal battle. Since 2007, the prize has been awarded to 190 women from over 90 countries for their promotion of human rights, justice and gender equality. 

France and the public ceremony to enshrine abortion in the constitution

On March 4th 2024, France became the first country in the world to make the freedom to have an abortion a constitutional right, the highest legal protection at state level. This major step forward was welcomed by feminist organizations and the majority of the French population, who were largely in favor. On March 8th, a public ceremony was held at the Ministry of Justice. In his speech, President Macron praised ‘a long fight for freedom’, adding that he supported the idea of including the right to abortion in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. During the ceremony, the feminist anthem was also performed.

Similar to the United States, The Simone Veil Award, existing since 2019, was won by Myriam Djangala Fall and Lea Kongbo from the Central African Republic, who represent a movement of 700 women survivors of sexual and gender-based violence in the country. 

India and free admission to historical and cultural monuments 

On March 8th, a special ceremony was held by Haryana Minister of State for Women and Child Development, Kamlesh Dhanda. During this event, women from diverse fields were recognized and celebrated with appreciation letters, cash awards, and commemorative mementos. The first prize was won by Neha Singh, Pawal Deputy Commissioner for ‘achieving remarkable improvement in sex ratio in the year 2023’ according to Times of India.

Moreover,  iconic landmarks in India were offering free entry to women on International Women’s Day 2024. On this day, women were able to access Red Fort and Qutab Minar, in Delhi for free, as well as the Taj Mahal located in Agra. With this proposal, the government has sought to link societal, historical and cultural issues. 

The Catalan Government and the Distribution of Free Pads 

The government of Catalonia (Northern Spain) launched the ‘my periods my rules’ project this week. The project would affect 2.5 million women, who would receive a free menstrual cup, two pairs of menstrual underwear and two packs of sanitary pads. The primary aim is to reduce menstrual precarity, but the initiative also has an ecological dimension, to limit the use of single-use products. 

Women and Technology in Egypt

Amr Tallat, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, officially opened the annual forum of the “Qodwatech” initiative this week, which focuses on empowering women. The idea is to foster Women’s Empowerment in the Digital Transformation Era. During the forum, Amr Tallat emphasized the essential role of contemporary technologies in bringing about societal, economic, and developmental advancements across diverse sectors, adding that new technologies can be a source of employment for women.

Jamaica: Commemorations and Discussions

On March 3rd, the Bureau of Gender Affairs (BGA), a division of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, orchestrated a special event at the Gregory Park Baptist Church in St. Catherine. The event centered around the theme “Investing in Women and Girls in Leadership to Expedite Gender Equality, Equity, and Socio-Economic Empowerment.” This was a place for discussion and debates concerning women’s rights. “It will also highlight the important role the church plays in empowering women and girls and accelerating gender equality, equity and socio-economic empowerment,” a BGA media advisory said.  The event also commemorated the great women who have fought for gender equality. This is in line with the desire of Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, to make the advancement of women and girls in Jamaica a top priority for the government. 

In conclusion, governments have very different approaches towards International Women’s Day. India, for example, puts more emphasis on the cultural and historical aspect, while Egypt makes a distinction with the role of new technologies. Additionally, in France the state and religion are totally separate, in Jamaica the role of the church is clear. Although many initiatives have been launched across the globe, in some countries, nothing has been set up at state level.


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Emilie Koch

Emilie Koch

Dear Readers,

I'm delighted to have joined the Global Observer team for this academic year! I have a particular interest in international relations, as it's my field of study, and I'll be keen to keep you up to date with the latest world news!

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