PITTSBURGH — International Women’s Day, which had been celebrated since in 1908, had a slightly different twist this year.
In addition to events surrounding the observance, two other organizations -- the International Women’s Strike and the “Day Without A Woman”-- rallied women to step away from their jobs on Wednesday and take to the streets in a sign of solidarity.
Women in countries around the world participated in protests, strikes and walkouts over pay inequality, civil rights, violence and sexual harassment.
Organizers said they hoped thousands of women would be drawn to the rallies and strikes, underscoring women’s roles in various aspects of society.
In Pittsburgh, dozens gathered at the City Council building late Wednesday afternoon for an organized march.
The march began around 5:30 p.m. and headed up Grant Street toward Liberty Avenue before circling back.
Several Pittsburgh businesses also observed the “Day Without a Woman” by giving women employees the day off with pay or by closing for the day.
Deirdre Kane, who co-owns 52nd Street Market in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood said she decided to close up shop in support of the strike.
"We felt that closing would really send a message to this community: What if there were no women?” she said.
Standing in solidarity with Kane is Don Mahaney, the owner of Scratch Food & Beverage in the Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill neighborhood.
"Really, I think we should start to change how we perceive women and how we treat them and how we treat them in the workplace, specifically,” he said.
Mahaney said while it created a shortage of employees, he’s gave all the women employees the day off with pay.
In addition to bringing in extra staff, Scratch Food & Beverage also held a fundraiser Wednesday to raise money for Planned Parenthood.