Leading communist women gathered in London this weekend to celebrate International Women's Day as an important day for the working class to assess the achievements of the past year and prepare for challenges ahead.

An international panel of women representing several countries' Communist Parties brought greetings to a packed meeting at Marx Memorial Library writes Louise Nousratpour in todays Morning Star.
Their tales of struggle against gender-specific discrimination and violence were remarkably similar and their enemies the same - imperialism and neoliberal policies.
 
But a positive tone was struck by new Cuban ambassador Esther Armenteros, who told the audience that she was proof that gender and race equality could be achieved in a socialist system.
 
"I was born into a very poor black family living in a society where discrimination was rife and opportunities scarce," she explained.
 
"I was 12 when the revolution swept Cuba and it changed everything. Suddenly all possibilities were open to people like me. Today, there is equal pay and equal rights in our country. In some areas we have excelled compared to men to a point that the government has had to put quotas in in favour of men."
 
Ms Armenteros condemned the decades-long US economic blockade on Cuba, adding: "Can you imagine how much better women's situations could have been?"
 
Chairing the event Communist Party of Britain women's organiser Liz Payne highlighted the significant achievements women have made in capitalist countries.
 
But she dismissed claims by sections of the bourgeoisie that women should now hang up their marching boots.
 
"Recent reports from the UN and Unicef show that women's lives everywhere are still alarmingly bleak - they suffer violence and face economic and social discrimination," Ms Payne said.
 
Representatives from Sudan, Iraq and Iran all condemned their country's Islamic laws restricting women's rights.
 
Azar Sepehr of the Democratic Organisation of Iranian Women said: "Discrimination against women is enshrined in law in Iran."
 
Iraqi Women's League speaker Nora Mohammed Ali warned that the puppet regime in her country had pushed women's rights back decades by introducing regressive marriage and other anti-women laws.
 
"Girls as young as seven are forced to wear the hijab, though the government denies this is happening," Ms Mohammed Ali said.
 
Amal Gabrala of Communist Party of Sudan called for the women's struggle to be linked to the wider working class struggle: "Let us remember Rosa Luxemburg and the likes of her, whose memory and work continue to inspire us."
 
Representatives from the Bangladeshi and Indian communist parties also took part.