How International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world
For women all over the world, Friday 8th March 2019 is an important date to be celebrated : International Women’s Day. It as an event that focuses on the movement for women’s rights and was first proposed by the 1910 International Socialist Women’s Conference. Although many countries have celebrated it for years, it wasn’t until 1975 that the day was adopted by the United Nations and turned into a truly international event. Here’s how International Women’s Day is commemorated around the world:
For women working in China, International Women’s Day is celebrated by many companies who offer them a half day. Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day are treated alike, where the day is used as an opportunity to give special gifts to the women they love. China also recognises Girl’s Day on March 7th, which gives citizens the chance to celebrate the achievements of the women in their lives.
Known as La Festa della Donna in Italy, International Women’s Day is celebrated by giving women bright yellow mimosa blossom flowers. Every street corner around the country sells the flowers, with people giving them to women as a sign of honour. This is because these flowers are a symbol of female sensitivity and strength. Some Italians also bake a traditional sponge cake with citrus liqueur, which is topped with cubes of pastry styled to mimic the flower.
On the 8th of March, women in the workforce have a public holiday, where they can enjoy the carnivals held in the capital city, Antananarivo. Dancing and marching, traditionally dressed women take to the streets of their villages, towns and cities in celebration. More so than the celebration, International Women’s Day is a chance for people to mobilise support for women’s rights in the workplace, home and broader society.
Australia was the first country to introduce a female pedestrian symbol to honour International Women’s Day in 2016. They replaced the red and green man that was used on traffic lights with a picture of Mary Roger, who was the first woman to be elected to the local Government in Victoria. Across Australia, International Women’s Day is a pivotal time of the year to advocate for gender equality. Numerous speakers highlight the issues still facing Australian women today, though there are plenty of events celebrating the achievements of women as well.
International Women’s Day in the Ukraine is a designated public holiday. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the holiday has remained and women in the country use it as platform to continue highlighting the inequalities they face. Recent years have been marred by talk of whether or not the day should exist, but generally speaking most Ukrainians still recognise its importance. Although the tradition has become somewhat less prevalent, many Ukrainian men still buy bouquets of flowers for the women in their lives. The reason behind this decline is because many Ukrainian women argue that International Women’s Day shouldn’t be reduced to men buying flowers and then being done with it. They (rightfully) say that men should join them in working towards a more just future for women in the country.
International Women’s Day is a unique chance for women across the globe to celebrate their rights and the achievements of women throughout history. It is also an opportunity to create meaningful and essential dialogue about the issues facing women today. More important than this single day though, is the continued efforts by countries to improve the rights and opportunities for women, whatever their background may be. We need to strive to make sure women are seen, heard and listened to, because an equal world is a better world.