People around the world celebrate International Woman’s Day in a bid to push for sexual equality 

Marches, protests and strikes were observed all around the world as people came together to celebrate International Women’s Day and push for sexual equality globally. 

Activists from feminist group Femen singled out Hamburg’s red light district for their protest on Friday, breaking down a gate that seals off a notorious street of brothels.

Wearing body paint with slogans saying ‘women are not goods’, some bare-breasted members of the organisation took power tools to the metal barrier.

Femen Germany posted on its Facebook page later: ‘We destroyed a highly-symbolic gate today of a public street inaccessible to women.

Thousands of women shout slogans as Turkish police block the roads during rally marking International Women's Day at Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

Thousands of women shout slogans as Turkish police block the roads during rally marking International Women's Day at Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

Thousands of women shout slogans as Turkish police block the roads during rally marking International Women’s Day at Istiklal Street in Istanbul, Turkey

Feminist demonstration organized by women's associations, student and labour unions on international women's day in Barcelona

Feminist demonstration organized by women's associations, student and labour unions on international women's day in Barcelona

Feminist demonstration organized by women’s associations, student and labour unions on international women’s day in Barcelona

Several thousand people gather to take part in demonstration on International Women's Day in Oslo today, waving banners and chanting slogans

Several thousand people gather to take part in demonstration on International Women's Day in Oslo today, waving banners and chanting slogans

Several thousand people gather to take part in demonstration on International Women’s Day in Oslo today, waving banners and chanting slogans

‘We tore down the wall to denounce sexual exploitation of women, trade in human beings and sexual violence that conceals itself behind the closed doors of the sex industry.’ 

The barrier blocks access for women and under-18s to Herbertstrasse, not far from the Reeperbahn cluster of nightspots in the north German port city.

Elsewhere in Germany, organisers expected as many as 10,000 people to take part in a march for women’s rights through the capital Berlin, which celebrated International Women’s Day as a public holiday for the first time this year.

‘Our Basic Law calls for equal rights for men and women in article three. Implementing this in social reality is an enduring task,’ Chancellor Angela Merkel said via a tweet from her spokesman Steffen Seibert.

In Turkey, thousands of women took to the streets to protest on International Women’s Day, chanting slogans and raising banners as police battled to control them.

Across Spain, women downed tools on Friday in a mass movement which drew in female employees from across the spectrum, from nuns to journalists.

Even the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, got involved with the issue becoming more and more prevalent as Spain gears up for upcoming elections in April. 

Protesters make their voices heard with placards, banners and loud chants on International Women's Day rally in London

Protesters make their voices heard with placards, banners and loud chants on International Women's Day rally in London

Protesters make their voices heard with placards, banners and loud chants on International Women’s Day rally in London

Huge crowds could be seen in Istanbul as thousands of protesters came together to demonstrate against sexual inequality and crimes committed against women

Huge crowds could be seen in Istanbul as thousands of protesters came together to demonstrate against sexual inequality and crimes committed against women

Huge crowds could be seen in Istanbul as thousands of protesters came together to demonstrate against sexual inequality and crimes committed against women

These woman in El Salvador also came together to mark International Women's Day, marching and chanting against inequality

These woman in El Salvador also came together to mark International Women's Day, marching and chanting against inequality

These woman in El Salvador also came together to mark International Women’s Day, marching and chanting against inequality

A passionate protester joins a crowd of mostly women as they protest for better pay and conditions for women in Brussels

A passionate protester joins a crowd of mostly women as they protest for better pay and conditions for women in Brussels

A passionate protester joins a crowd of mostly women as they protest for better pay and conditions for women in Brussels

Thousands of women walked off the job in Spain to mark international women's day, with these women marching and holding flares in Madrid

Thousands of women walked off the job in Spain to mark international women's day, with these women marching and holding flares in Madrid

Thousands of women walked off the job in Spain to mark international women’s day, with these women marching and holding flares in Madrid

People carry banners and red balloons as they take part in a demonstration to mark the International Women's Day, in Rome

People carry banners and red balloons as they take part in a demonstration to mark the International Women's Day, in Rome

People carry banners and red balloons as they take part in a demonstration to mark the International Women’s Day, in Rome

Meanwhile, thousands flocked to the street in Manila to demonstrate against President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Around 4,000 people chanted slogans and protested against the president of the Philippines, who has repeatedly made jokes about rape and last year admitted indecently touching the family maid when he was a teenager.

Aides brushed off his comments as jokes, but activists have denounced his ‘misogynistic’ statements as ‘unacceptable’, pointing to statistics showing a 153 per cent increase in rape from the decade before he was elected.

With one woman or child is raped in the Philippines every hour, activists aiming to raise awareness about gender-based violence staged an exhibition of clothes worn by victims, called ‘Don’t tell me how to Dress’.  

In Lahore, Pakistan, hundreds of women took to the streets to protest, chanting slogans and waving banners and homemade posters to mark International Women’s Day.

This stunning photo shows several thousand people gather in central Oslo on March 8, 2019 to mark the International Women's Day

This stunning photo shows several thousand people gather in central Oslo on March 8, 2019 to mark the International Women's Day

This stunning photo shows several thousand people gather in central Oslo on March 8, 2019 to mark the International Women’s Day

A woman holds up a sign saying 'Women are superheroes' as she joins thousands of people protesting in the centre of Brussels

A woman holds up a sign saying 'Women are superheroes' as she joins thousands of people protesting in the centre of Brussels

A woman holds up a sign saying ‘Women are superheroes’ as she joins thousands of people protesting in the centre of Brussels

Thousands take part in a feminist demonstration organized by women's associations on International Women's day in Malaga

Thousands take part in a feminist demonstration organized by women's associations on International Women's day in Malaga

Thousands take part in a feminist demonstration organized by women’s associations on International Women’s day in Malaga

In Pyongyang, Flower Shop No. 5 did a brisk trade in flowers on International Women’s Day, which is a full public holiday in North Korea, as a steady stream of customers turned up to buy blooms for their wives, mothers and significant others.

As the North’s founder Kim Il Sung once said: ‘In our country, women are in charge of one of the wheels of the revolution’.

And his attitude has expression in the dictionary which features sample phrases like ‘If women are confined to their homes and remain away from labour and organisational life they cannot be revolutionised.’ 

Pope Francis meanwhile praised women as the source of peace, hailing their contribution to building a world ‘that can be a home for all’.

Women in Paris take to the streets to protest against sexual harassment, workplace inequality, abortion rights and domestic violence

Women in Paris take to the streets to protest against sexual harassment, workplace inequality, abortion rights and domestic violence

Women in Paris take to the streets to protest against sexual harassment, workplace inequality, abortion rights and domestic violence

An indigenous woman in a wheelchair takes part in a demonstration for the International Women's Day, in La Paz, Bolivia

An indigenous woman in a wheelchair takes part in a demonstration for the International Women's Day, in La Paz, Bolivia

An indigenous woman in a wheelchair takes part in a demonstration for the International Women’s Day, in La Paz, Bolivia

Protesters take part in a demonstration during a nationwide feminist strike on International Women's Day in Madrid

Protesters take part in a demonstration during a nationwide feminist strike on International Women's Day in Madrid

Protesters take part in a demonstration during a nationwide feminist strike on International Women’s Day in Madrid

People wave Algerian national flags during a demonstration on Trocadero Square in Paris, for equality of rights in the country

People wave Algerian national flags during a demonstration on Trocadero Square in Paris, for equality of rights in the country

People wave Algerian national flags during a demonstration on Trocadero Square in Paris, for equality of rights in the country

A woman protesting in Karachi, Pakistan holds up a sign calling on an end to honour killings against women in the country

A woman protesting in Karachi, Pakistan holds up a sign calling on an end to honour killings against women in the country

A woman protesting in Karachi, Pakistan holds up a sign calling on an end to honour killings against women in the country

Thousands of Pakistani women observed the day, with hundreds participating in a rally to mark the International Women's Day in Karachi

Thousands of Pakistani women observed the day, with hundreds participating in a rally to mark the International Women's Day in Karachi

Thousands of Pakistani women observed the day, with hundreds participating in a rally to mark the International Women’s Day in Karachi

‘Women make the world beautiful, they protect it and keep it alive. They bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion, and the courage to give of oneself,’ he said.

‘Peace, then, is born of women, it arises and is rekindled by the tenderness of mothers. Thus the dream of peace becomes a reality when we look towards women… If we dream of a future peace, we need to give space to women.’ 

France awarded the first Simone Veil Prize to Aissa Doumara Ngatansou, a Cameroonian woman who has spent 20 years helping victims of rape and forced marriages.

On receiving the 100,000-euro prize ($112,000) Doumara dedicated it to ‘all women victims of violence and forced marriages’ and to those who had escaped the clutches of Boko Haram, the jihadist movement which emerged in Nigeria a decade ago and has terrorised the region. 

Women holding signs and banners take part in a march staged by feminist, anti-racist and human rights organizations to mark the International Women's Day in Athens

Women holding signs and banners take part in a march staged by feminist, anti-racist and human rights organizations to mark the International Women's Day in Athens

Women holding signs and banners take part in a march staged by feminist, anti-racist and human rights organizations to mark the International Women’s Day in Athens

A woman holds a flare as she takes part in a march in Athens against violence and the inequalities faced by women

A woman holds a flare as she takes part in a march in Athens against violence and the inequalities faced by women

A woman holds a flare as she takes part in a march in Athens against violence and the inequalities faced by women 

Police officers were out in force in Istanbul as they tried to contain thousands of women and protesters marking International Women's Day

Police officers were out in force in Istanbul as they tried to contain thousands of women and protesters marking International Women's Day

Police officers were out in force in Istanbul as they tried to contain thousands of women and protesters marking International Women’s Day

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, attend a rally marking the International Women's Day in Caracas

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country's rightful interim ruler, attend a rally marking the International Women's Day in Caracas

Supporters of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who many nations have recognized as the country’s rightful interim ruler, attend a rally marking the International Women’s Day in Caracas

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