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How Italy is marking International Women's Day on 8 March

A roundup of events in Italy to mark Giornata Internazionale della Donna.

International Women's Day is marked with events across Italy on Friday 8 March 2024 to commemorate the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of women.

Free museums for women

On 8 March women will have free entry to Italy's state museums and archaeological sites, with numerous cultural events being held in Rome, Milan and other Italian cities.

Colosseum and Pompeii

The archeological park at Pompeii will mark the occasion by opening to the public the restored women's section at the Terme del Foro complex. The Colosseum Archaeological Park will present La prima voce, a historical re-enactment event by the Gruppo Storico Romano dedicated to the first century BC Roman orator Ortensia, at 15.30 at the Curia Iulia.

C'è Ancora Domani

The smash-hit directorial debut of Rome actress Paola Cortellesi returns to the big screen on 8 March when it will be shown in 150 cinemas across Italy. C'è Ancora Domani follows the domestic struggles of an abused housewife in post-war Rome, confronting issues related to patriarchy, gender violence and women's empowerment. The film, which became one of the top 10 highest-grossing Italian films ever in Italy's cinemas after its release last autumn, struck a particular chord following the brutal murder of 22-year-old student Giulia Cecchettin and helped to spur a national debate on violence against women.

8 March demonstrations

There are dozens of rallies - organised variously by the feminist movement Non una di meno, trade unions, students and other associations - scheduled to take place in cities around Italy on 8 March.

In Rome a Non una di meno rally will be held at 10.00 in Piazza Ugo La Malfa (Circus Maximus) and in Milan there will be two demonstrations: at 09.30 in Largo Cairoli and at 18.30 in Piazza Duca D'Aosta.

Casa Internazionale Delle Donne in Rome

Una, Nessuna e Centomila is the title of an event comprising theatrical performances and storytelling dedicated to the theme of violence against women, from 18.00 to 20.00 at the Casa Internazionale Delle Donne on Via della Lungara 19. Describing the event as "Stories about us to break the wall of shame, silence, pain", organisers say: "We are one, none and one hundred thousand women affected by violence. Testimonies of those who have suffered violence."

Straordinarie exhibition in Milan

The city of Milan has organised a series of initiatives including the exhibition Straordinarie which, through the portraits taken by photographer Ilaria Magliocchetti Lombi, tells the story of the lives of 110 Italian women who are considered extraordinary. The 110 women, aged from 22 to 94, include journalists, scientists, magistrates, singers and dancers, actresses and athletes, teachers, senators and women involved in institutions and politics.

Naples mural of courageous women

A mural dedicated to "courageous women" will be unveiled in Naples on 8 March. Painted by Neapolitan street artist Trisha Palma, the mural on Vicoletto Donnaregina in the city's historic centre features the faces of Frida Kahlo, Michela Murgia, Rita Levi Montalcini, Artemisia Gentileschi and the journalist Matilde Serao who lived in Naples and was the first Italian woman to become the editor of a newspaper - Il Mattino - which she co-founded in 1892.

8 March general strike

The Giornata Internazionale della Donna coincides with a national general strike, affecting regional rail transport, education and healthcare services, in protest over violence against women and demands for women's rights and gender equality. The strike is not expected to affect local public transport in Italian cities.

Mimosa

The traditional gift to women on 8 March in Italy is mimosa, with Italian florists normally selling around 13 million sprigs of the bright yellow flower on the day each year.

Due to unseasonably mild weather in Italy this winter, the mimosa trees bloomed at least a month earlier than normal, the agricultural association Coldiretti said in January.

Origins of International Women's Day

International Women's Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on 8 March as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

Its origins date back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. A year later, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman's Day.

The annual day has been recognised by the United Nations since 1977.

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