International Women's Day

(AP) -- International Women's Day, observed annually worldwide on March 8, is a time to express respect, appreciation and love and to celebrate women's achievements in all walks of life.

Around the world, many people give flowers and other small gifts to their mothers, wives, grandmothers, sisters and daughters, as well as co-workers, teachers and friends, in recognition of Women's Day.

Cambodia is one of the few countries where International Women's Day is a public holiday, and its long-serving leader marked the occasion with a tongue-in-cheek call for protecting men's rights.


Prime Minister Hun Sen, better known for savaging his political enemies than joking about family life, said many men in Cambodia are oppressed by wives who do not let them go to wedding parties for fear that they would eye prettier women. He said he didn't think he was being extreme in demanding that an association be set up to promote men's rights.

However, Hun Sen did not ignore the many problems besetting Cambodia's women, highlighting unequal pay, fewer educational opportunities and domestic violence.

International Women's Day typically happens during China's annual ceremonial legislature. And Chinese state media are fond of marking the day with photo galleries of female journalists covering the legislature -- "Beautiful Women Reporters" asking questions, checking their makeup, posing for selfies.

The Communist Party-run People's Daily said in a front-page editorial that women "can not only help to make homes more pleasant and lively, but also contribute their valuable female perspective and efforts to the progress of the entire society." The editorial made no mention of leadership roles for women.

Last year, the Chinese government detained five women just before International Women's Day for planning to hand out fliers denouncing sexual harassment. The women were released 37 days later but remain criminal suspects.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for only female lawmakers to address the Indian parliament on International Women's Day included silence because there weren't enough women to speak.

Of 543 elected members in the lower house, only 62 are women -- or 12 percent -- and not all of them were prepared to address the assembly.

Those who spoke Tuesday talked about allowing women's entry into Hindu temples and better education for girls. They also demanded renewed effort in passing long-stalled legislation to require that 33 percent of lawmakers be women.

After all the women who wanted to speak had taken their turns, there was enough time left for the Speaker to ask the men in the house for input on the day's agenda.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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