I wasn’t aware that this holiday existed until, well, yesterday. However, today I received a letter from some of my students wishing me a happy Women’s Day and I decided that I needed to investigate further. Enter, Wikipedia.
International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is marked on March 8th every year. It is a major day of global celebration of women. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political and social achievements.
Started as a Socialist political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries, primarily Eastern Europe, Russia, and the former Soviet bloc. In many regions, the day lost its political flavour, and became simply an occasion for men to express their love for women in a way somewhat similar to a mixture of Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day. In other regions, however, the original political and human rights theme designated by the United Nations runs strong, and political and social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide are brought out and examined in a hopeful manner.
When I asked a student how to “celebrate” Women’s Day, he said that you pretty much call all of your female relatives, text all of your female classmates, and if you have a girlfriend, get her flowers. Not bad. He also said that he didn’t understand why there wasn’t a similar day devoted to men, to which I replied, “Every day is Men’s Day.” I don’t think he understood my sarcasm.