International Women’s Day … Womans !
Always Happy day !
International Women’s Day, which began to be celebrated early in the 20th century, was a political statement expressing women’s struggle for equality in the work place.
Baltic States women were only slightly behind their European and American counterparts in their search for parity with men, but their embrace of the holiday would have far-reaching consequences that reverberated throughout the 20th century and beyond.
Given the passionate celebration of Women’s Day in post-Soviet countries, Latvia may be excused for thinking one of their former communist neighbors came up with the holiday. But it was socialists across the globe, including in the United States, who started the trend in 1909.
The holiday is rooted in the industrial revolution and the early women’s rights movement. At the initiative of the German socialist Clara Zetkin, a 1910 international women’s conference in Copenhagen established the holiday.
It was embraced by the Soviets, who took power in Russia in 1917 and declared March 8 an official holiday. Yet it remained a working day in the Soviet Union until 1965. In 1975, it was recognized by the UN.
It continues to be an official holiday in former Soviet countries, except Estonia and Georgia. The holiday has remained popular among Russian speakers in Estonia and Latvia.
Other nations with a communist past are tapping back into the tradition as well.
In Slovakia, Prime Minister Robert Fico planned to use Women’s Day to kick off a two-week tour of the country. When Fico, a left-leaning populist, resumed celebrating March 8 last year, he paraded his housework skills by folding curtains and hanging laundry.
In neighbouring Czech Republic, leftist and feminist groups have marked the day since communism collapsed in 1989.
Women’s Day also lingers in former Yugoslavia, which had its own brand of communism. Men secretly collect money to buy flowers and gifts for female co-workers.
Bank customers bring flowers to female tellers, hoping for better service the rest of the year, and a lucky school teacher might get a surprise from her students.
Some countries also observe it as an equivalent of Mother’s Day, where children also give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
In Latvia, a recent survey showed that 62 percent of ethnic non-Latvians – that is, Russians – celebrate it, but 47 percent of ethnic Latvians do, too.
In spite of the fact that I’m not very pro-March 8, I think it’s nice that there are days when you have legitimate possibility to make somebody smile…