A day of celebrating womanhood or a day for protest! To fight for a more gender-balanced world?
Living in Russia our family grew up with International Women’s day as a MAJOR celebration. You could nearly call it a public holiday. However what would usually happen is that everyone would come to work dressed in their finery. Speeches about how amazing we women are (stop it my head might explode :)), then we would receive gifts and flowers from our colleagues. We would drink a lot of ‘shampanskoye’ and eat a lot of chocolates. Then everyone would go home to celebrate with their friends and families. It was like a sort of Christmas but only for women. I certainly could not compare it to Mother’s Day.
International Women’s day is also linked with spring, as mother earth shows us the first signs of life after winter. That is why bouquets of red roses and tulips are given as presents. To celebrate Womanhood! Men honour their mothers, wives, grandmothers, aunties, sisters for their part in their lives. Women their mothers and grandmothers.
I find it different to our western International Women’s Day, which has recently emerged as a political celebration. Symbolising the fight for gender equality all over the world and celebrating our achievements and raising awareness for rights and against prejudice.
This was the original International Women’s Day in Russia.
Russian women got the vote very early, back in 1917 and it was since then that International Women’s Day became a national holiday. Only in 1975 was International Women’s Day adopted by the United Nations.
Born from a political agenda, International Women’s Day has, is and always will be a celebration of what we can do individually and as a collective. We are always taking steps forward to raise awareness. Whether for choice, equality or innovation, in the words of Golda Meir Israel’s 1st and only Female prime minister “Whether women are better than men I cannot say – but I can say they are certainly no worse”
So on 8th of March let us drink to women’s achievements and equality, but also let us also toast motherhood, beauty and spring.
Za zdarovia i za zhenshin (Cheers to you and to all women)