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IWD 2012: Photos of women around the world
Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Today marks International Women's Day (IWD), which was first celebrated in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. The occasion was mainly recognized only in Europe until 1975, which became designated as "International Women's Year" by the United Nations. After that, International Women's Day gained more significance globally, and the UN declared March 8 the official date to recognize and celebrate women achievements all across the world.

Check out these powerful images of women today.

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Members of the alternative choir 'Gaggle' prepare to take part in a Join Me On The Bridge event on the Millennium Bridge in central London, on Mar. 8, 2012, as they celebrate International Women's Day. The Join Me On The Bridge campaign started in 2010 when women from Congo and Rwanda joined together on a bridge connecting their two countries, sparking what has now become a global annual event.

(Leon Neal - AFP/Getty Images)
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North Korean women wave their country's flags and Cambodian flags as they wait to welcome North Korean Prime Minister Kim Yong-Il at Phnom Penh International Airport on Nov. 1, 2007.

(Tang Chhin Sothy - AFP/Getty Images)
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Indian women from The Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD) participate in a protest rally in Ahmedabad on Mar. 8, 2010, on the occasion of International Women's Day.

(Sam Panthaky - AFP/Getty Images)
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Two Nepalese ethnic women wear traditional dress and jewelry during a rally to mark International Women's Day in Kathmandu on Mar. 8, 2011.

(Prakash Mathema - AFP/Getty Images)
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An Indian Muslim woman poses showing her hands decorated with mehendi (henna) during 'Chand Raat' or 'Night of the Moon' in Hyderabad on Aug. 30, 2011, traditionally held on the eve of the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

(Noah Seelam - AFP/Getty Images)
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Himba women gather in the village of Ohungumure, 15 kms west of Opuwo in northern Namibia. Their bare-chested bodies painted with rich ochre-red colors, Himba women sing and dance in villages untouched by modernity since their ancestors settled on the Angola-Namibia border 200 years ago.

(Stephane De Sakutin - AFP/Getty Images)
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A woman sleeps among ethernet cables at an IT shop in Shanghai on Aug. 20, 2010.

(Philippe Lopez - AFP/Getty Images)
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Women activists throw tomatoes and paint bombs at the entrance of Manila's oil depot following an announcement by major oil companies of another round of oil price hikes on Mar. 7, 2012. The rallying by the women activists coincided with the worldwide celebration of the International Women's Day.

(Jay Directo - AFP/Getty Images)
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Animal rights activists of the AnimaNaturalis international organization stage a naked protest in the middle of the Plaza de Espana square in the centre of Madrid on Dec. 4, 2011, to denounce the slaying of animals to make fur coats.

(Dani Pozo - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Pakistani nomad woman feeds her camels in Peshawar on Mar. 7, 2012 on the eve of International Women's Day.

(A. Majeed - AFP/Getty Images)
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Maria Rendon sells hats during a march to celebrate the International Women's Day on Mar. 8, 2011 in San Salvador.

(Jose Cabezas - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Burmese woman smokes a traditional Burmese cigarette at a local afternoon market on Dec. 6, 2011 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.
(Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

(Paula Bronstein - Getty Images)
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A group of women take part in a performance during a protest against the killing of women within the commemoration of the International Women's Day in Mexico City on Mar. 8, 2011. Banner reads: 'No more female murders, no more violence. It is enough!'

(Luis Acosta - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Colombian indigenous woman sits on the lawn in Cali, department of Valle del Cauca, Colombia.

(Luis Robayo - AFP/Getty Images)
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Four pregnant women relax in a coffee shop during a support group meeting at a shopping center in Shanghai on July 30, 2011.

(Mark Ralston - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Tunisian student walks to her courses in the university of Tunis on Mar. 8, 2010, on the International Women's Day. Women's rights have inched forward in the Middle East, but gender inequality remains the norm in the region and in some countries the situation has taken a turn for the worse.

(Fethi Belaid - AFP/Getty Images)
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An Afghan policewoman stands guard during a ceremony to mark International Women's Day in Lashkar Gah in Helmand province on Mar. 8, 2010.

(Behrouz Mehri - AFP/Getty Images)
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Hospital Corpsman Shannon Crowley, 22, US Navy Sailor working with the FET (Female Engagement Team) 1st Battalion 8th Marines, Regimental Combat team II packs to go on a mission while Lance Corporal Kristi Baker, 21, sits on her bed on Nov. 12, 2010 in Musa Qala, Afghanistan.

(Paula Bronstein - Getty Images)
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A southern Sudanese woman from Nuer tribe shows her registration card as she waits in a line outside a polling station in Bentiu, capital of oil-producing Unity state on the border with the north.

(Yasuyoshi Chiba - AFP/Getty Images)
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Japanese geisha girls clad in kimonos admire wooden battledores called 'hagoita' at Tokyo's Sensoji temple.

(Kazuhiro Nogi - AFP/Getty Images)
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A Sri Lankan Hindu woman offers prayers at a Hindu Temple in Colombo on Jan. 15, 2012.

(Ishara S. Kodikara - AFP/Getty Images)
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A woman prays at a temple in Jakarta on Jan. 16, 2012.

(Adek Berry - AFP/Getty Images)
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It's a lovely thing when shared traditions unite so many different people.