Women in Asia Mark International Women's Day

( [email protected] ) Mar 08, 2004 02:52 PM EST

In celebration of International Women’s Day, women across Asia, including India, Pakistan, and Nepal, rallied protesting against domestic violence and sexual harassment in efforts to demand more equal rights, Monday, March 08. In India, particularly, YWCA joined in rally, to increase awareness of domestic violence against Indian women.

Even today in Muslim dominant nations, dowry – money and gifts from the bride side given to the groom, is demanded, even though the law bans it.

More than 570 women - mostly from poor families - have been murdered or committed suicide since 2000 because their families failed to meet dowry demands, humans-rights group Odhikar said in a report released Monday.

About 10,000 women joined rally in Bangladesh capital, Dahaka, with signs that said Stop Violence on Women and Don’t Kill Women for Dowry.

"We live in a country where women are killed simply because their families can't pay dowry money. It's a shame," women's-rights activist Ayesha Khanam told a 2,000-strong rally in central Dhaka.

In rival Pakistan, thousands of women demonstrated in the central city of Multan, demanding the government to enforce human-rights legislation.

In Nepal, the All Nepal Women's Association called a general strike to mark the day and to protest the abuse of women.

In the Philippines, some 1,000 women activists and supporters marched toward the presidential palace to demand better jobs and opportunities, and an end to sexual harassment.