Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!

Unlike my American friends, most of whom do not know about International Women's Day, I have been celebrating it on March 8th my whole life. For a girl growing up in Russia, it was a combination of Mother's Day and "fun day when dad gave me flowers too!" Though I memorized many poems about moms during my elementary school years, I never learned the history of International Women's Day.

Trying to rectify this shortcoming just now, I came upon this website, which is a "global hub for sharing International Women's Day news, events and resources," run by a non-profit with an apparently large number of corporate donors. The history section informed me that this celebration of women began in the socialist movement back in the early 1900's.

The socialist movement kept the idea and the celebration alive for years, which is why the Soviet Union was all about the holiday, spreading it to other countries in its sphere of influence.

It also explains why many Americans have never heard of March 8th and why they stick with just Mother's Day in May. We can blame the Cold War. That is too bad though - I love celebrating mothers, but celebrating all women is a bigger party!

So today, take the moment to wish all the women in your life a happy International Women's Day! And share with them this beautiful song "One Woman" launched by UN Women to celebrate our unity and to raise funds for UN programs that improve the lives of women and girls worldwide.

Anya Malkov is an MPP candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School, a WAPPP Cultural Bridge Fellow, and an alumna of From Harvard Square to the Oval Office.

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