MADRID (AP) — Marches and protests were held Friday across the globe to mark International Women's Day under the slogan #BalanceforBetter, with calls for a more gender-balanced world.

The day, sponsored by the United Nations since 1975, celebrates women's achievements and aims to further their rights.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a commemoration at U.N. headquarters in New York that "remarkable progress on women's rights and leadership" in recent decades has sparked a backlash from "an entrenched patriarchy."

And he warned that "nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to inequality with policies that curtail women's rights and cut social services."

"I do not accept a world that tells my granddaughters that economic equality can wait for their granddaughter's granddaughters," Guterres said. "I call for a new vision of equality and opportunity so that half the world's population can contribute to all the world's success."

Millions of others around the world demanded equality amid a persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality.

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