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9 Mar, 2010 01:55

New York women protest on March 8

Although few New Yorkers know the meaning of International Women's Day, many young women came out onto the streets to bring attention to today's most burning issues.

What is supermodel Naomi Campbell doing on the Brooklyn Bridge?

On March 8 the superstar catwalker wasn’t in New York to cause scandal or just take a stroll. She was part of a global women’s movement against war.

"I think this is a very important day. I think women should be and will be taken more seriously in the world,” said the supermodel.

Almost 100 years after March 8 became a holiday just for women, it’s meaning has transformed.

On International Women’s Day in New York City, hundreds of women and men came out onto the streets. Today this is not a fight for women’s rights, but a peaceful gathering against wars.

“All we are saying is give peace a chance!” said the New York women.

In over 18 countries, women held demonstrations on bridges. In the US, the marches come at a time when billions of dollars are still spent on ever-expanding wars – wars in which women are often collateral damage. The demonstrators in New York say they want to see a day come when women and children no longer make up 75 percent of civilians killed in wars worldwide.

An even bigger part of the movement is to support those women who have been able to survive wars, but need strength to move on.

“I see this day as becoming bigger, more powerful in every way. Every year is going to be bigger and bigger, and more empowering for women,
” said Naomi Campbell.

Among the men in the crowd, American TV show host Tim Gunn was also attempting to attract more people to the cause: “We need to acknowledge that women can change the world, and do change the world. And from our point of view it’s one woman at a time – so if we can reach and touch one person, we are very happy."

This year is the first time women have led a global movement of such magnitude, and from now on they only intend to keep going forward until their voice is heard.