Women across the world are uniting today, March 8, to show how important their presence really is. They are being encouraged to skip school or work and avoid shopping. “A Day Without a Woman” is a powerful movement calling for gender equality.

Despite not getting the round of applause they deserve on a daily basis, women are true badasses who are tearing down gender stereotypes in all professions.

These 13 ladies show how women can take on any job and excel. 

1

"I think women must fight to break through in all areas, in the midst of the machismo that still persists in Nicaragua and in Hispanic countries."

Firefighter Yolaina Chavez Talavera, 31, stands in front of a truck at a fire station in Managua, Nicaragua.

2

"Once a company did not want to hire me to paint a mural because they said that women could not carry the work material (paint boxes, ladders). I believe that things will only get better for all of us if men treat women equally."

Artist Mado, 34, stands in front of her artwork at Vila Madalena neighbourhood in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

3

"When I started in this job, I did feel discrimination (from officials who controlled the access of members of the press to events). To counter discrimination in this profession, we as women must excel; we must prepare ourselves in every field."

Elizabeth Mamani, 36, a reporter at Radio Union, works inside Bolivia's national congress building in La Paz, Bolivia.

4

"Being a breeder is seen as a man's job. In the past women were usually doing the administrative work or low level tasks. People need to be more open minded. This change needs to happen everywhere not just on the fields."

photo: REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Emilie Jeannin, 37, is a cow breeder in Beurizot, France.

5

"The parity in the army already exists, it is the uniform that takes precedence over gender."

Merylee, 26, is a soldier in Nice, France.

6

"As a woman I have suffered many things, physical abuse from many people, I have suffered discrimination for selling on the street, even from my family. But in spite of everything, as a woman and as a single mother I have raised my children, I have been father and mother at the same time."

Rosa Amelia Mejia Reyes, 35, is a newspaper seller in San Salvador, El Salvador.

7

"There are a few female workers that can drive big trucks and backhoe. If men can do it, why can't women do it? I'm better than the men, they can only drive trucks here but I can drive both."

Filipina Grace Ocol, 40, is a backhoe operator in the southern Philippines.

8

"How unfair that a 54-year-old woman like me has to work and take care of the whole family. With the same work male laborers can get a better income. Not only me, all women in the village work very hard with no education, no insurance and no future."

Phung Thi Hai, 54, carries bricks at a factory outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Hai is among a group of 25 women working at a brick factory where she has to move 3,000 bricks a day to the kiln.

9

"In my country this is an unusual profession for a woman, but so far I have not met anyone seeing it in a negative context. People are often surprised, but essentially only interested in a job well done."

Lejla Selimovic, 34, a furniture restorer, works at her workshop Wood Surgery in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

10

"Physical strength benefits male colleagues in some situations on harder routes. But, women are more concentrated and meticulous. In general, women are better at teaching. My main professional task is to teach safe mountaineering."

Julia Argunova, 36, a mountaineering instructor, works in the Tien Shan mountains near Almaty, Kazakhstan. 

11

"Sometimes (gender inequality) happens. But we cannot do anything about that. After all, you have to digest all those unhappy things and carry on."

Deng Qiyan, 47, a mother of three and a decoration worker at contraction sites, works at an apartment building under construction in Beijing, China.

12

"It must not be forgotten that it is women, moms, who raise the boys. It is therefore up to us to change the mentalities by raising the boys at their youngest age, in a spirit of parity and equality with the woman. We must change the mentalities of early childhood education. A boy can play with dolls and a little girl with small cars."

Valerie Perron, 53, an oyster farmer, works on her boat in Andernos, Southwestern France.

13

"Men don't have to prove themselves like we do. We are tested every day."

Paloma Granero, 38, a skydiving instructor, works inside the wind tunnel at Windobona indoor skydiving in Madrid, Spain.