International Women's Day -- March 8, 2016

Every year more and more people in the U.S. become aware of the International Women’s Day, a global holiday celebrated on March 8th and recognized by the U.N. The fun fact about the holiday is that it started in the United States in the early 1900's (you can read about the history of it here). Still, not very many Americans I know are actually excited about it or celebrate it in any way.

I must say now that I am originally from Russia, and half-way around the world, millions of people consider it to be a big day. International Women’s Day, or Vosmoye Marta (March 8th) as we refer to it in Russian, is one of the main national holidays in Russia and many other countries. Every girl and every woman in my home country looks forward to this day with great anticipation and excitement. And here is why…

In Russia, the March 8th holiday is a blend of Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s Day. The difference is that all girls and women are the center of attention on this holiday. Although the International Women’s Day started as a political campaign for women’s rights and equality, the meaning of this holiday has evolved to mean different things to different cultures. In Russia, it stands for recognizing the important role of women in our lives – mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, teachers, the list goes on.

The tradition in my country is that all men are expected to show love and appreciation for the women in their lives. They are expected to make women feel special on that day – give flowers, chocolates, and presents, however big or small. I love this holiday because to me it represents the unique role women play in societies around the world and thus deserve to be treated in a very special way. As a daughter, young professional woman, and now mother, I see the enormous contributions women make on a daily basis both at home and at work. And we should recognize and celebrate all professional women and moms, those strong and powerful women who are an inspiration to us in so many ways.

If you know someone from the part of the world where March 8th is not just another ordinary day, make sure you take a moment to recognize this holiday and don’t forget to do something special for the women in your life today!



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