International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. While some take this to be a lighthearted day to celebrate the wonderful women in the world with flowers, others use it to fight for women’s rights. There are also people who are not huge fans. In fact, there are a lot of controversies surrounding women’s day, especially in post-soviet countries. In this article, I’d like to tell you a bit about the history, the controversies, and outline ways to celebrate if you are so inclined!
International Women’s Day: History
“International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.”International Women’s Day
In 1908, women were oppressed, and a critical debate was occurring amongst women. This spurred women to be more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Finally, 15,000 women marched through New York City in order to demand shorter work hours, better salaries, and voting rights.
It wasn’t until a year later when the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Woman’s Day an official holiday. From 1909 until 1913, the holiday was celebrated on the last Sunday of February. In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. The following year, women’s day became honored in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.
For a more detailed history, check out International Women’s Day.
I know quite a few people from Ukraine and other countries that used to be communist to be iffy of the holiday because of the political connection to the holiday.
“In Czechoslovakia, which was once a communist country, celebrated International Women’s Day annually in Soviet style. However, after the fall of Communism in the country, Women’s day, which was considered as one of the symbols of Soviet regime, fell into gloom. It was only recently that International Women’s Day was again established as an official day by the Parliament of the Czech Republic on the proposal of the communists and social democrats.
This incident has provoked controversies as a major part of the political and public right considers the holiday as a remnant of Czechoslovakia’s communist past. Followed by this, in 2008 the deputies of Czechoslovak People’s Party, a Christian conservative party, proposed for the abolition of the holiday but without success. Some non-government organizations, however, consider official recognition of International Women’s Day as a celebration of women’s role in the society.”Women’s Day Celebration
There are actually a few other controversies, that you can read about here. Plus there’s the whole idea of holidays like this highlighting the differences between men and women rather than celebrating women.
How to Celebrate International Women’s Day
It may seem like women are on top of the world in 2021, and in maybe ways, we are:
“In 2020 and 2021, countries with women leaders (such as New Zealand, Germany and Bangladesh) received global praise for their effective handling of the COVID-19 pandemic; Kamala Harris broke a glass ceiling and became the first female, Black, and South Asian American Vice President of the United States; and Scotland became the first country to allow free and universal access to menstrual products. “Work Flow Max
However, we still have a LONG way to go. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020, at the current rate of change, gender parity will not be attained for another 99.5 years. Which means that men will keep making more than women doing the EXACT SAME JOB! That just isn’t acceptable.
This year, you can celebrate in a meaningful way. Consider showing your commitment to challenging inequality by taking part in the #ChooseToChallenge social media campaign. Involve men and people who identify beyond the gender binary in the conversation and celebration—advocate for gender equality in your workplace. Host or attend an online panel. Set up a (virtual) coffee date with a woman in your network. Support women-owned businesses. Acknowledge the awesome women in your life. Donate. to a charity. Or start a book club/film screening to learn more about inspiring women!
Summary: International Women’s Day
Check out BBC’s amazing article about this holiday. Consider doing something meaningful for women’s day today. Sure, sending flowers to your favorite ladies is great. But think about other ways that you can actually make this holiday mean something more.
Follow The Travel Bug Bite for more great content!