A Snapshot of International Women’s Day in Tokyo and Serbia

By Sruthi, Mika, Dijana, and Maddie

What began as a 15,000-person protest against oppression and inequality in New York in 1908 is now a global event, with thousands of people from around the world  marching, walking out, and demonstrate for women’s rights.

On March 8th, women and men in small towns and large cities participated in International Women’s Day. Despite the shared goal among the protestors, each  community celebrated the event in its own way. Below are snapshots of how International Women’s Day was celebrated, discussed, and, in some cases, questioned.


Typically, there is not much protesting or marching in Japan, as people tend to avoid engaging in public discourse about politics or issues about women, especially in public spaces.

But at 2:30 PM on March 8th in Tokyo, marchers took to the street. The event was organized bythe Women’s March Tokyo Organizing Committee and took place between Aoyama and Shibuya in the center of Tokyo. Though the 300 people who participated did not match the thousands who marched in New York, Dublin, or other large cities, the protesters were passionate and drew attention of the press.

Translation:  “My first ever march!”

Translation: “Thank you! All the rage, concerns, and frustrations which I had experienced in the past… Thanks to everyone, I now realize that I am no longer alone and am energized by all of you. Let’s voice our anger together, and make Japan and the rest of the world a better place!”

Though may news organizations covered the protest, including a livestream from Huffington Post Japan, the national public broadcaster NHK chose not to. Many expressed their frustration with the decision:

Translation: “NHK sucks! They showed marches abroad, no mention about Japan!”


Serbians also held a march for International Women’s Day, with news outlets estimating that as many as 600 people attended, though the Facebook post shows only 45 publicly said they attended:

In Serbia, many popular singers turned to social media to comment on women’s equality:

Jelena Rozga

Natasa Bekvalac

 But not all Serbians agreed with the meaning behind International Women’s Day and the march. For some, gender equality was not an issue worth protesting:

Translation: (comment 1)“What right do we lack??? If I am, as a woman, fed up from these feministic things, I wonder how men feel when they sleep with women with silicones but eat normal food only on Sundays at their mom’s’ house!!!…”

(comment 3) “Foolishness. You can vote, you have jobs, you can chose your careers, what do you want more? Stop bothering people.”

Maddie’s Media Diary

From Wednesday, February 15th, to Monday, February 21st, I kept track of my media usage and consumption, including app usage on my phone, laptop, and smartwatch, total time on different apps, and time spent reading or listening to news. I recorded the majority of my usage manually (to the best of my ability) while also using RescueTime to track the activity on my computer. I created the charts below using info.gram.

Below are various charts showing my usage as well as my takeaways from the entire experience:

Technology Usage

I broke down the various methods I consumed media by tracking my activities on each platform. I also kept track of my sleep to show the stark contrast each day between watching television and resting.

Additionally, here is the day-by-day chart of my technology use:


By looking at both charts it’s clear that my time is largely taken up by staring at either my MacBook or my iPhone. This is largely due to my app consumption, especially Netflix (for my laptop) and Twitter (on my phone). I was somewhat surprised by my Apple Watch usage, partially because I thought I looked at it fewer than I do; I averaged 75 glances at my watch each day.   

Application Usage

My media consumption is largely done through an app on either my laptop, phone, or smartwatch. Though I currently have 151 apps installed on my iPhone, I only used these 11 apps for a statistically significant amount of time over the six days:

  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Outlook
  • Twitter
  • Podcast
  • Slack
  • Instagram
  • Microsoft Word
  • Facebook
  • WhatsApp
  • Text

Here is my total app usage over the past six days:

Additionally, here is the total number of hours spent on each app:


I do wonder how much my app usage depends on my schedule each day. For those where I’m in class more, I seem to rely far more on Outlook and Twitter. But when I’m home, Netflix is the dominant app by far and away. I wish I could’ve seen a snapshot of my usage only a year ago. I know my Twitter usage would’ve been much higher, as I’ve noticed a drop off over the last several months in the time I spend on Twitter each day. This may be due to my exhaustion of political news or simply a move away from checking Twitter compulsively throughout the day for news. Also, I’ve started using Slack more now that I’ve joined a startup team, and we use it as our main means of communication.

Reading Habits

Finally, I wanted to see how much of my day I dedicated to consuming news, and more importantly, how I choose to do so. I know my use of Twitter has decreased over the last several months, but I wasn’t sure if I had dropped from one of my most used apps.

A large portion of my news consumption comes from podcasts, including:

  • This American Life
  • Reply All
  • What What Don’t Tell Me
  • The New York Times’ The Daily
  • NPR Poltiics Podcast

Here is a the breakdown by day of the total number of hours spent on each app each day:


The biggest surprise for me came out of my little use of Facebook. I always assumed it would be one of my most used apps, but I rarely check the app unless I have an event or a friend request. I also included my time on Messenger because it was such a small portion of my overall time on the app.


Maybe the biggest thing to take away from this exercise is how little I sleep or do anything without a screen in front of my face in some way. I’m always inundated by media in some fashion, and the majority of it is something I do without even thinking, such as listening to music or checking my email on my watch or phone.

When I finished my analysis, I realized that I only spent approximately 13 hours in the total 144 hours of the six-day period doing non-technology activities, such as talking with people. It made me realize that it may be time to schedule some sort of technology break for a few days, if only to refresh my mind and remind myself that things are going on around me and not just on a screen.

PGP: An Old Technology for a New Media Environment

Data privacy is, and should, be top of mind for journalists. As the Trump Administration takes an antagonistic approach with the media, it’s not very unrealistic to imagine the President signing an executive order any day now forcing news organizations to release emails to the government or have to pay significant fines or even face jail time if they do not reveal sources for leaks.

Just this week, President Trump tweeted about the “illegal tweets coming out of Washington” following the resignation of Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor. Flynn’s resignation was due in large part to reporters from The New York Times, the Washington Post, and other outlets publishing stories based on leaked information from government officials about Flynn’s conversations with Russia.

For journalists to keep informing the public of the stories that the Administration is trying to hide or ignore, they must continue using anonymous sources from within the government. These leaks cannot stop, regardless of whatever measures the Administration tries to put in place to stop government employees from speaking out and contacting the press.

The Need for Encryption

But for many of these employees, there are major ramifications to divulging top secret or sensitive information. Before any government employee considers leaking information to the press, they need to be sure that the communication is delivered securely and their identity is not divulged. Outside of in-person, secret meetups Deepthroat-style, this means that the journalist will need to use encryption to keep the information secure. Similarly, the journalist will need to keep the information secure to keep sources private to continue reporting the stories that need to be told.

PGP: A Golden Standard

Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is a free encryption and decryption program created by Phil Zimmermann and typically used for email that has been around since 1991. The name, which is a tribute to A Prairie Home Companion, is misleading, as the tool is known to be more than just “pretty good” when it comes to maintaining a user’s privacy. In a post titled “Why do you need PGP?,” Zimmermann explains the need for the encryption tool:

Intelligence agencies have access to good cryptographic technology. So do the big arms and drug traffickers. So do defense contractors, oil companies, and other corporate giants. But ordinary people and grassroots political organizations mostly have not had access to affordable military grade public-key cryptographic technology. Until now. PGP empowers people to take their privacy into their own hands. There’s a growing social need for it.

Encryption, much like PGP, is a very old technology that is still just as relevant and powerful as it was when it  was first invented. Through encryption, the message you send is muddled up into a meaningless string of letters and numbers so that anyone snooping through your email cannot decipher the message. Only those with the correct key can unlock the meaning:

(via Lifehacker)

To start using PGP, you need to download GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG), either through GPGTools (OS X) or Gpg4win (Windows). Once he or she has his or her own PGP key, the person can communicate with anyone else through encryption, so long as the recipient also has a PGP key. There are several browser extensions you can download to make the process of sending an encrypted email quicker, including PGP Anywhere and Mailvelope. PGP also works with mail clients such as Mozilla Thunderbird for email encryption.

The biggest hurdle for anyone new to PGP is finding others who have their own PGP keys as well. WIthout the two-way system, you cannot send the encrypted messages. This may be a deterrent for some reporters who cannot convince sources to use a PGP key because of the time it takes to set it up. But for journalists who want to protect information and confidentiality, the upfront costs are worth the privacy gained through encryption.

To avoid this issue, there are other encryption tools journalists can use, such as Virtru. This tool is used in conjunction with other platforms such as Gmail and Salesforce to keep information secure through data encryption. However, unlike PGP, Virtru and other similar products are not free for users.

PGP is only the first step

Though email encryption is only one step journalists can take to keep their messages secure and the privacy of their sources intact, it’s one of the most important and the first they should consider. PGP is not the perfect solution for encryption, as several government agencies to have the ability to unlock keys and decipher the message. But using PGP can be seen as a gateway for journalists to better maintain confidentiality and keep information secure. Creating a key and locking their emails is the first step journalists can take to unlocking the road to better privacy habits.

Maddie’s Bio

I’m Maddie Perez, a second year MBA at MIT Sloan. Before coming to MIT I had a mixed bag of a career, including working in sports journalism, crisis communication, education PR, R&D research and consulting, and venture capital. I’m an aspiring venture capitalist with the hope of funding media companies that have found ways to create high-quality, accurate content with a profitable business model—we’ll see how long that takes. Here are a few more random facts about me:

  • I’m an army brat and moved around a bit growing up, but I consider Fayetteville, NC home
  • Coding-wise, I’ve focused primarily on front end work, and am pretty proficient in CSS/HTML and quasi-proficient in JavaScript
  • I’m currently working on a VR platform for autism therapy. The hope is that using different types of media in new ways (in this case building simulation exercises for VR) can improve the efficacy of autism therapy while drastically reducing costs
  • I was an English major in undergrad with a minor in policy journalism and media studies, so in some ways I feel like I get to relive some of my favorite classes
  • I’m a proud Slytherin