Powerful stories of women around the world

By Meg Wagner, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Veronica Rocha and Jessie Yeung, CNN
4:18 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019
4:18 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

We're wrapping up our live coverage on International Women's Day, but if you want to keep following stories from women around the world you can...

  • Read up on how women are empowering others around the world
  • Learn about how women are getting into overwhelmingly male-dominated industries
  • Meet the woman investing in entrepreneurs others were overlooking
  • See how women are fighting for a greener planet
  • Read about how female chefs are celebrating today
4:07 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

The CEO of SoulCycle is taking action

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's what Melanie Whelan said.

Melanie Whelan, CEO of indoor cycling company SoulCycle, is taking action. "Over 80% of the managers of our studio communities around North America are women," Whelan told CNN.

"We empower them every day by challenging them to build the sanctuaries in their local communities for all of our riders to come and escape and have an experience that's one-of-a-kind."

She also posted on Instagram in honor of International Women's Day, writing: "It's not 'She's a female CEO', it's just 'She's a CEO.'"

3:29 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

How Meghan Markle spent International Women's Day

British singer Annie Lennox, British model Adwoa Aboah and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, attend a panel discussion to mark International Women's Day in London, England.

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, spent part of International Women's Day at King’s College London on Friday for a panel discussion on female empowerment.

Meghan joined activists and leaders from Australia, Zimbabwe and other countries to discuss issues affecting young women today.

"I think the treat in and of itself is being able to be here and be with these incredible women on the panel. That is such a gift on this day and then separate from that, the women in my life that I want to celebrate I will continue to send some love to today, but also the men who are championing all of us as part of this journey is great," she said.
3:17 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

She's a writer, yoga teacher and body positivity advocate

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's Jessamyn Stanley's story.

Through taking up yoga and chronicling her journey on Instagram, body positivity activist Jessamyn Stanley has proved that "yoga is for everybody, every shape, every size and every color."

She has used yoga as a personal platform to work through both spiritual and physical issues and empowered thousands in the process, changing the stereotype of who or what yoga should be.

2:06 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

San Juan's mayor is fighting for girls' education

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's what San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said.

Cruz, mayor of San Juan, became involved in Puerto Rico's Popular Democratic Party in 2003, and was elected president of its women's organization.

Since becoming mayor in 2012, she has worked to empower women "by making sure they have access to quality education and empowering educational experiences."

1:51 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern: You can be "both a prime minister and a mother."

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's what New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern was just the second world leader to have a child while in office after former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Ardern — the country's youngest Prime Minister for 150 years — gave birth to her daughter last summer. She made headlines last September when she brought the baby to the United Nations General Assembly, hoping it would "normalize" workplaces accommodating mothers.

"If we want to make workplaces more open, we need to acknowledge logistical challenges... by being more open it might create a path for other women," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour last year.

"The fact I'm the third female Prime Minister, I never grew up believing my gender would stand in the way of doing anything I wanted."

This International Women's Day, Ardern says she hopes to empower women by showing you can be "both a prime minister and a mother."

1:01 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

She's the captain of the all-girls Afghan robotics team that won silver in the US

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's Fatemah Qaderyan's story.

Afghani teenager Fatemah Qaderyan is the captain of her country's all-girl robotics team, which gained international attention last year after it was blocked from traveling to Washington, D.C. for a competition.

The US briefly denied the team visas, attracting an international outcry, and eventually walked the decision back. The team went on to win a silver medal.

"We helped bring attention to the limits placed on girls and women in my country, and we showed the world that, if given the chance, Afghan girls can do anything," Qaderyan wrote in a CNN op-ed.

She continues to advocate for access to education for girls all over the war-torn country while breaking stereotypes of what are typical areas for girls' to achieve in.

12:36 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

The first female US Secretary of State wants women to "have confidence in themselves and work hard"

On International Women's Day, CNN asked women around the world to share how they're empowering others. Here's what Madeleine Albright said.

Being first takes courage, a quality the first female US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright wants to instill in the future generations.

Today, she's imploring women "to have confidence in themselves and work hard."

12:26 p.m. ET, March 8, 2019

She wanted to be president, but ended up in jail

From CNN's Kara Fox

Diane Rwigara leaves Kigali's High Court after her acquittal on Dec. 6.

Diane Rwigara, a human right activist, had once hoped to run for the Rwandan presidency, but her campaign was short-lived.

She was jailed and charged with fraud and inciting insurrection. In December, Rwigara and her mother, Adeline, were acquitted of all charges.

"We find that the prosecution charges do not have a basis and find Diane Rwigara and Adeline Rwigara not guilty on all charges," the three-judge verdict read, according to local news website The East African.

Her presidential bid: She was the sole female challenger in the presidential election, which the incumbent, Paul Kagame, won with almost 99% of the vote. She was also a fierce critic of Kagame.

She launched her election bid three months ahead of the August 2017 vote. Just days after she announced her plan to run for office, nude photos — allegedly of her — were posted online. Rwigara said the images were digitally altered and used by the government to discredit her. A spokesperson for Kagame's party at the time denied to CNN having anything to do with the photos.

The disqualification: Rwigara was eventually disqualified by electoral authorities who said she falsified signatures that she needed for her bid to qualify and accused her of submitting the names of dead people. Rwigara then launched an activist group called the People Salvation Movement to "encourage Rwandans to hold their government accountable," but was soon arrested on charges of inciting insurrection against the government and fraud.

A year in prison: The Rwigaras spent a year in a Kigali prison before they were released on bail in October.

Their case had alarmed human rights activists, who argued that all the charges were politically motivated and highlighted a lack of political and social freedom under Kagame, who has been president since 2000 and long an influential figure in Rwanda's modern history.