This morning at breakfast, I read a couple of interesting articles in Swedish SvD with interviews with women in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, followed by some other articles on gender issues in the same paper. French Le Monde also had the International Women’s Day as one of their main topics with a couple of articles on domestic and issues. (In fact, there is an entire section on the topic behind the initial front page headlines) But when I moved on to the New York Times (and yes, I do go through quite a few news sources every morning!), I realized that there was nothing at all written about the International Women’s Day. So I got a little curious and continued browsing some main European newspapers like the Guardian, El Mundo, and La Repubblica, and all of them had articles on women’s issues and gender equality (or the lack thereof). But just like the New York Times, neither LA Times nor Washington Post even mentioned the day on their opening pages. I wonder why this is? On the other hand, it was Mardi Gras here today, which got a lot more attention than anywhere else I have ever lived. But I still think the U.S. could benefit from paying at least a little attention to women’s issues and gender roles on this day.
In Russia, this is a public holiday and our office in Moscow was closed.
However, I spoke to a colleague there and she asked me if we got flowers or gifts etc so the meaning of the day seems different in some countries.
Yes, flowers are given to women in both Moldova and Romania (see my post on the International Women’s Day last year) and it is more like a mix between Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day than the day for debate that it is in many other parts of Europe. So you’re right, the day seems to have different meaning in different countries. A friend of mine here pointed out, though, that the Day now is quite rooted in socialism and that this might be the reason why it gets so little attention here in the U.S.