Chicago celebrates International Women's Day

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It's a day to honor women and their accomplishments. Several events took place in Chicago to celebrate International Women's Day. (WLS)

It's a day to honor women and their accomplishments. Several events took place in Chicago to celebrate International Women's Day.

From Moldova to Honduras to the United Nations, International Women's Day was celebrated around the world, including in Chicago where McDonald's golden arches were flipped from an "M" to a "W."

Women empowerment events took place around the city, including the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

"We're here to experience different women in technology and see what kind of options are out there for us," said Nyah Joyce, a student from Bolingbrook Middle School.

Nyah Joyce and students from her girls coding program at Bolingbrook's Brooks Middle School came to hear women who are trailblazers in technology.

"By seeing these woman who are pursuing their dreams and going for what they want despite any gender discrimination that motivates us to go out and do what we want to do in life," said Bolingbrook Middle School Student Nikitha Sheth.

Woman like Roya Mahboob, named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World, Mahboob became Afghanistan's first female CEO at the age of 23. Fearing for her safety, Mahboob moved to New York in 2014 where she founded the Digital Citizen Fund, an organization aimed at giving women and girls, who have never seen a computer, access to the internet and technology training.

"We provide training in IT, social media, programming, coding, designing a website and applications and also gaming," said Roya Mahboob.

In addition, Mahboob said her organization has helped 100 women with start-ups.

Women in technology were also being celebrated today at the tech hub 1871, where women say now more than ever they are no longer afraid to push for equality in the workplace.

"I think women have always been confident, but they are having a voice now and they're able to express themselves and stand up for themselves," said Traci Frausto, an 1871 event participant.

"We run the world so this is a great time to be alive," said 1871 attendee Alexandra Stewart.

At 1871 in Chicago, where entrepreneurs in technology are being nurtured, the celebration is in full swing. Thursday, the hub recognized the achievements of women with speakers, workshops and panels.

"I've noticed a lot more women connecting with one another basically trying to help lift each other up," said Kat Rokhlin at 1871. "So I've seen a lot of that helping one another, lifting each other up in order to push the narrative forward."

In the era of #MeToo and Time's Up, International Women's Day has more urgency and many women said they're more confident than ever.

"So many women are speaking up and out about things that matter to them not just about-- yes absolutely about getting a higher salary or things like that-- but also just getting more respect day to day, having a voice when they didn't before and that's very, very exciting," said Vanessa Yeh at 1871.

Women also marched and rallied at the Thompson Center in the Loop Thursday to celebrate International Women's Day in Chicago. The event focused on jobs and respect for women in the workplace.

Women said the various women's movements during the past year have encouraged women, especially in technology, to support each other. While women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, they remain underrepresented in STEM careers and there is a long way to go in countries like Afghanistan.
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