UK

International Women's Day: Hundreds on equality march

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Media captionDr Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst: ''There is still so much to be done''

Suffragettes would have been "outraged" by the injustices faced by women today, the great-granddaughter of their leader has said on International Women's Day.

Helen Pankhurst, whose ancestor Emmeline Pankhurst led the women's rights movement, was among those taking part in a march to mark the event.

She said there should be a "concerted push" to get more women into politics.

Meanwhile, education secretary Nicky Morgan has also said the number of female MPs should be increased.

Events have taken place across the UK to mark International Women's Day.

In London, Dr Pankhurst joined hundreds of celebrities, activists and politicians walking in the march from City Hall to the Royal Festival Hall, with many carrying banners and dressed in the style of suffragettes.

Actress Gemma Arterton, BBC Radio 1 DJ Gemma Cairney and singers Annie Lennox and Paloma Faith also took part in the march organised by charity Care International to show solidarity with women around the world.

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Image caption Dr Helen Pankhurst (left) and her daughter Laura (right) were joined by actress Gemma Arterton
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Image caption Dr Pankhurst's great-grandmother Emmeline Pankhurst fought for women to be given the vote

Dr Pankhurst, whose daughter Laura also took part in the march, said of Sunday's events: "The continuity with the past is important because we need to honour it, but also there is so much still to be done, both here and internationally."

She said that there had been successes in areas like education, but participation in politics was lacking, with improvements also needed in supporting parenting and childcare and fighting violence against women.

"The suffragettes of old would say that the vote was only ever the beginning," she added.

"If they were alive today, they would be outraged by the myriad of injustices faced by women and girls around the world."

Dr Pankhurst told the BBC she felt "passionately" about issues like access to clean water for women in developing countries, adding that it "should not be acceptable" that some have to spend hours a day collecting water.

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Image caption Some of those taking on the London march wore Edwardian dress for the event
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Image caption Annie Lennox was also among celebrities taking part
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Image caption Singer Paloma Faith (centre) marched carrying a banner during the International Women's Day event

Lennox said: "Globally, there is so much inequity for women and girls living in developing countries in terms of sexual and reproductive health care, medical access, education, protection logistically in terms of their rights - just so many endless issues with women and girls."

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Media captionAnnie Lennox: "I feel I inherited the benefits of the suffragette movement"

She added that men and boys needed to fight for equality, saying: "We must have both sexes on board with us."

PM 'is feminist'

Speaking on Sky News' Murnaghan programme, Mrs Morgan denied that Government spending cuts had disproportionately affected women.

She said of Prime Minister David Cameron: "He absolutely is a feminist.

"He is on the side of women and he has done a huge amount to get women into the cabinet."

She said the "tone of the debate" with women in Parliament was "very different", adding: "We need more women in Parliament".

Mrs Morgan went on: "the prime minister is absolutely on the side of making sure that women have the best possible opportunities, as is the chancellor - as are I think all of my male colleagues".

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