President Higgins to mark International Women’s Day

Over 100 Irish sportswomen to join President and wife at Áras an Uachtaráin

President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina will mark International Women’s Day on Sunday afternoon with a reception for over 100 Irish sportswomen at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Irish sportswomen competing domestically and in the international arena in athletics, basketball, boxing, cricket, Gaelic football, hockey, hurling, golf, rugby, sailing and tennis are due to attend.

Elsewhere, hundreds of people marched in London to demand equality for women.

Those leading the march included singers Annie Lennox, Paloma Faith and Made in Dagenham actress Gemma Arterton.


They were also joined by Dr Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst, and Dr Pankhurst's 20-year-old daughter Laura.

Members of the crowd marched from near City Hall towards the Royal Festival Hall, with many carrying banners and dressed in Suffragette style.

Dr Pankhurst said: “The Suffragettes of old would say that the vote was only ever the beginning. If they were alive today, they would be outraged by the myriad of injustices faced by women and girls around the world.”

In China, at least two feminist activists were detained, a lawyer said, as the country escalates a crackdown on dissent ahead of planned rallies this weekend to mark International Women's Day.

Li Tingting, who goes by the pseudonym Li Maizi, a young women's rights campaigner who is best known for leading a campaign for unisex toilets, was detained in Beijing. Another activist, Zheng Churan, was being held in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou.

"They have not given information on why she was detained, but my guess is that it has something to do with maintaining social stability on International Women's Day," said Yan Xin, Li's lawyer.

Rights groups say China is taking an increasingly tough line against freedom of expression.

Additional reporting: Reuters/PA