Women fill streets with red for International Women's Day

- Women across Tampa Bay area wore red and walked in solidarity with female counterparts nationwide on Wednesday for National Women's Day, as well as a strike known as A Day Without A Woman.

Organizers were hoping to build off of the moment started from the historic Women's March in Washington, DC in January, and get women involved in bringing awareness to women's rights and inequality issues.

Dozens of women gathered at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa on Wednesday night for a march to Lykes Gaslight Park. A candle lighting ceremony was held to honor women of the past. In St. Petersburg, a separate rally was held earlier in the day at Williams Park.

Women who could not take off from work were encouraged to wear red as a sign of love and sacrifice. They were also advised not to shop, in stores or online, unless they were supporting a small woman-owned or minority-owned business.

"Women are the backbone of all societies and certainly in the United States, so if we don't show up to do any work or do any shopping, or show up in any aspect whatsoever, I think society will really feel the pain," said Marina Welch, captain of the Women's March Florida Tampa Chapter.

According to the U.S. Census, women make up 47 percent of the workforce, however, statistics show women are only paid 80 cents on the dollar compared to men. Some men came out to the Tampa march on Wednesday to show their support.

"Women definitely make it a better world all the way around, and I think it will show when we all unite together," said Alan Maloney.

"I'm tired of seeing women being treated like second class citizens," said Susan Edgerley, who marched in part to draw attention to women's health care rights. "Whether it's somebody in Washington telling us what to do with our bodies, which is my choice."

Organizers said they plan to take part in another march on Wednesday, March 29, to draw attention to human rights and concerns over corporations not supporting fair pay or fair working conditions for Florida tomato farmers. They plan to march from the Publix store in Hyde Park to the Wendy's restaurant on Kennedy Blvd.

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