International women’s day. Yes it’s known in other parts of the world like Australia. No it’s not celebrated as a national holiday where you don’t need to go to work. Nor is it celebrated by cleaning the house and cooking for your grandmothers and mothers or taking out your girlfriends and wives to a nice Italian restaurant in Lenina and showering them with pastas and flowers.
It’s just a day. Like any other day. Trains will continue rolling as usual, work will commence at 9am, children will go to school. Most people in Australia think international women’s day is a day commemorating the equality of women around the free world. Even I didn’t know what this day was exactly about before the Russians around me began talking about it 2 weeks ago. Now I know it’s about celebrating women’s achievements around the world, not just the equality achieved by them decades ago in wealthier nations. A part of me wonders when this day was instituted into Russia and by which authority. Was it the president? Was it the parliament? Maybe it was the president’s mother who advised him. 5 gold stars for any student who can tell me the history of international women’s day in Russia. This week’s small talk conversation topic in every class.
I just got off the phone talking to a Belarusian friend of mine who lives in Seoul. She told me it’s a day that Belarus celebrates also and asked me where her bloody flowers were. Therefore I surmise that this day was somehow integrated into the old CCCP societies during the period of the union. Which is... Rather interesting because CCCP ended over 25 years ago and Australians on the whole really only became merely ‘aware’ of international women’s day around 20 years ago. This means that communism had a long history of valuing equality between men and women that far surpasses the ones which exist in liberal democracratic nations... Maybe, perhaps.