Thousands of men and women from around the world stopped traffic in midtown Manhattan on Sunday, passionately raising their voices for women’s rights.
“Women’s rights are human rights!” some shouted amid a cacophony of car horns, drumbeats and police commands.
“Today, you are marching in the footsteps of generations of feminists,” said New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, noting that International Women’s Day commemorates the day in 1908 when thousands of women marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
Established by the Socialist Party of America, the celebration spread to communist and socialist countries, especially the former Soviet Union, where Vladimir Lenin made it an official holiday.
“This march started more than a century ago, but we still have a long way to go before we get to equality,” McCray added.
She pointed to universal prekindergarten, paid sick leave and other causes that her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has emphasized as a mark of progress for women in New York City. In November, New York joined the U.N.’s Safe Global Cities Initiative, which works to combat sexual harassment and violence in public places.
Caeli Waldron, 26, flew in from Los Angeles to lead a contingent of high school students marching as part of a program called Girls Learn International, which involves American youth in the global movement for girls’ education.
“Women’s inequality affects men because we’re all fighting for equality in various ways, we’re all connected — whether it’s racial or gay or economic rights,” said Waldon, adding that if, for instance, a man is married to a woman earning less for equivalent work, “your family is not going to be as stable.”
Another marcher hoisted a sign that read: “If women are equal, men are free.”
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