New York City marks International Women’s Day with march

People walk in the International Women’s Day march for gender equality and women’s rights from the United Nations to Times Square, Sunday, March 8, 2015 in New York. About 1,000 people gathered to speak up for the gender that traditionally is paid less for work and often has a smaller voice in policy decisions. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK (AP) — Men and women from around the world gathered Sunday at the United Nations to mark International Women’s Day with a march to Times Square, joining voices globally demanding gender equity.

About 1,000 people convened at the U.N. headquarters to speak up for the gender that traditionally is paid less for work and often has a smaller voice in policy decisions.

“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.

“This march started more than a century ago, but we still have a long way to go before we get to equality,” McCray added.

U.N. officials say much has been achieved under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, signed by 189 governments in 1995 as a pledge for realizing women’s rights. But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the gains have been too slow and uneven.

He has said the most urgent issue is rape being used as a war weapon, from Nigeria and Somalia to Iraq and Syria.

McCray 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 sexual violence in public places.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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