US congresswomen have walked out of work, joining women around the world who are going on strike as part of International Women's Day, BBC reports.

The move by House Democrats is part of a "Day Without a Woman" strike, designed to highlight how crucial women are to the US national workforce.

"I think it's important women in Congress show our solidarity," said Congresswoman Lois Frankel.

Schools in some districts were forced to close after staff walked out.

International Women's Day has grown from a labour movement with its roots in a 1908 protest to a UN-recognised annual event.

Protests of various kind took place around the world. In Ireland, women across the country went on strike and wore black to protest against the country's restrictive abortion laws.

Solidarity protests were held in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere to call for Irish laws to be changed.

Women in Poland staged rallies and marches to demand protection against violence, equal rights and respect. They were joined by actress Jessica Chastain, who was in the city for a screening of her latest film.

In Germany, airline Lufthansa said six all-female crews would be flying in support of the day. Just 6% of pilots in the airline's parent company Lufthansa are women.

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