March 08, 2015

Celebrating Women on Women's Day


Celebrating Women on Women's Day

Imagine; Valentine's Day and Mother's Day all in one! This is what International Women's Day (IWD), in Russia, is like. March 8th is a national holiday and a non-work day. Several nations celebrate IWD, but only a few acknowledge it as an official, non-working holiday. In the West, where Mother's Day falls in May, IWD is typically celebrated by feminist and women's rights groups.

On IWD, Russian men bestow gifts, flowers and other expressions of praise and gratitude on the ladies in their lives. While this holiday does have its roots in the women's rights movement, it is important to remember that it, also, reflects the respect that Russian people have for the role of women in their culture. All women are honored, not just mothers!

In 1910, German socialist, Klara Zetkin, presented the idea of marking March 8th as a day of international solidarity of women' social equality. IWD was first celebrated, in Russia, in 1913. Russian women wanted the right to hold paying jobs. Later, the Soviets agreed and opened the workplace to women. March 8th was not a non-work day. By 1966, opinion had changed and this year marked the first celebration of IWD as a non-work holiday.

Brief Chronology of IWD

1908 - Socialist, trade and professional women, in the U.S., celebrated first Women's Day, on the last Sunday of February. This was a day of demonstrations and rallies for women's equal rights and the right to vote.

1910 - Socialist International meeting, Copenhagen, Denmark, established IWD to bring attention to world-wide women's suffrage.

1911- IWD observed, for the first time on March 19th in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. March 25, 1911; so called Triangle Fire in New York City in which over 140 women garment workers were killed.

1913-1914 - First observance of IWD in Russia; held on the last Sunday of February and seen as a demonstration for peace as Europe headed into WWI.

1917 - By this time, over 2 million Russian soldiers had died in WWI. On the last Sunday of February, Russian women held a protest for bread and peace. Four days later, Tsar Nicholas II abdicated and the new Provisional Government granted Russian women the right to vote. This was February 23rd (old or Julian calendar) and March 8th on the Gregorian calendar.

1922 - Lenin proclaimed IWD an official Soviet State holiday.

IWD had encouraged world-wide attention and action regarding women's rights. In 1975, the United Nations declared this year, International Women's Year and 1975-1985 as the Decade for Women. UNESCO established March 8th as International Women's Day and UN World Conferences on Women have been held, in various locations, in 1980, 1985 and 1995.

Role of Women and Russian Cuisine

Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.
The Little Golden Calf

The Little Golden Calf

Our edition of The Little Golden Calf, one of the greatest Russian satires ever, is the first new translation of this classic novel in nearly fifty years. It is also the first unabridged, uncensored English translation ever, and is 100% true to the original 1931 serial publication in the Russian journal 30 Dnei. Anne O. Fisher’s translation is copiously annotated, and includes an introduction by Alexandra Ilf, the daughter of one of the book’s two co-authors.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Driving Down Russia's Spine

Driving Down Russia's Spine

The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia. 
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
The Latchkey Murders

The Latchkey Murders

Senior Lieutenant Pavel Matyushkin is back on the case in this prequel to the popular mystery Murder at the Dacha, in which a serial killer is on the loose in Khrushchev’s Moscow...
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955