Women’s Solidarity Day is celebrated sporadically in Western Europe and North America.
The revival of mass actions on this day in the late 1960s and early 1970s is associated with the Second Wave of Feminism and the new rise of the women’s movement in the world.
Starting from the 1930s on the eve and during the celebration of International Women’s Day, the press regularly has been claiming that women in the USSR not only strive to achieve formal legal equality, but also enjoy equal rights in reality. The scale of the celebration of International Women’s Day has gained national scope. The public nature of the holiday was actively supported by the international women’s rights movement. The newspapers of those years said that International Women’s Day was celebrated in the following countries: Soviet Union and China, England, Germany, in other countries of Europe and America, where there was a working women’s movement.
The happy status of the working woman in socialistic countries was constantly compared with the plight of women in bourgeois countries.
During WWII the image of women as patriots fighting fascists at the frontline and saving the wounded was promoted by the newspapers. Although, even in the festive discourse, women recede into the background compared to their sons, husbands, fathers, as well as to the “father of nations” I. Stalin.
During the WWII and post-war period the promotion of motherhood came in line with the ideology of the anti-abortion legislation of 1936. Mother-heroines appeared in the gallery of female images thereby contributing to the construction of the motherhood cult, represented as the highest right of a woman under socialism, and the emphasis was placed on the social responsibility of women to the state, which cannot be avoided.
In the second half of the 1950s International Women’s Day becomes a national holiday, transforming into a holiday for all women, regardless of their age and employment status.
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Victory in WWII May 8, 1965, the Decree of the Presidium of USSR declares International Women’s Day a national holiday and day-off in the USSR starting from 1966.
At solemn events dedicated to this day, the state reports to society on the implementation of state policy towards women.
In 1970-1980 official addresses to women on March 8 in the press were replaced by greetings addressed to them. “Working Soviet women” are increasingly referred to as simply women, wives, mothers, girlfriends
In the mid 80s, public discourse and socio-economic realities return the women to the family, the “women’s holiday” is gradually depoliticized, and its public space is privatized.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union March 8 remained in the list of Ukraine’s public holidays. International Women’s Day is also celebrated in Russia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Belarus as International Women’s Day; in Uzbekistan – as Mother’s Day; in Armenia it is celebrated on April 7 as the Day of Motherhood and Beauty.
This day gradually loses its political context and turns into a holiday of “femininity and beauty”: women are given flowers, gifts, celebrations are held following the rules of mass consumption society, and the day takes its place in the empire of “holiday business”.
1975 UN General Assembly declared 1975 the Year of Women, thus drawing the attention of governments to the issue of discrimination against women’s in many countries of the world.
1977 UN General Assembly approved resolution No. 32/142, according to which each of the participating countries was invited to celebrate International Women’s Rights Day.
1979 UN General Assembly approved the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which was ratified by 150 countries, including Ukraine.
In many countries around the world the 100th anniversary of the International Day of Women’s Struggle for Their Rights was solemnly celebrated. Rallies, exhibitions, presentations of crisis centers, international forums, performances, demonstrations organized by women’s organizations and museums took place in Australia, Argentina, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, etc.
The Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Andres Johnson proposed establishing a quota for women in the parliaments of all countries to ensure women’s participation in political life.
In Ukraine on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the International Day of Women’s Struggle for Their Rights, the Program of Equal Opportunities and Women’s Rights in Ukraine, under the leadership of Ms. Larysa Kobelyanska implemented the “International Women’s Day: History in Photographs (100 years)” project, for which 100 photos telling the stories of Ukrainian women were collected.
The “Feminist Offensive” project was also implemented as a joint initiative of the Center for Visual Culture of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, “Insight” NGO and Representative Office of Heinrich Böll Foundation in Ukraine.
The goal of the “Feminist Offensive” was to draw public attention to the violation of women’s rights in terms of wages, political decision-making, access to leadership positions, reproductive rights, and cultural stereotypes. Feminist March was held in Kyiv as part of the project under the slogan “Spring. Struggle. Feminism” for the first time.
In2016 the 105th anniversary of International Women’s Day was celebrated.
Historian, public figure and activist Oksana Kis encouraged the feminist community to come up with a proposal to act “in advance” and prevent the appearance of stereotypical and harmful greetings from officials of various levels by forcing them to educate themselves on the matter.
Dear like-minded women!
We present to your attention a sample letter of appeal to government officials (heads of village councils, regional state administrations, mayors of cities, governors, rectors of universities, directors of enterprises, heads of ministries, the President, Prime Minister and leaders of political parties and their local branches), which briefly outlines history, main facts and explains the meaning of the March 8 celebration. The idea is that you and like-minded women have the opportunity to use this template and send these letters to those managers and government officials whose position you think needs to be changed.
If you act on behalf of an NGO or other institution, write this letter with an official letterhead of your organization (relevant names, positions, names of institutions should be mentioned), collect the signatures of those who share the position expressed in it and send it to the relevant managers and officials.
If you do not belong to any NGO, you can simply send a collective letter from a group of concerned citizens, who sign this letter. Everyone has the right to personally address an official of any level!
If you are able and willing to publish this letter in the media or on the Internet, do it! The more people read it, the better!
If you aware of the facts that further illustrate discrimination against women in Ukraine, please add them to the letter.
WARNING! It is important that the letter is addressed to a specific official (rather than institution or department). It increases the chances that the letter will be read by the addressee, and this will impose on him/her some responsibility for further false public promotion of March 8 as holiday of “spring, beauty and femininity”.
WARNING! When sending a letter to a specific manager, prepare for him/her a short greeting based on the example provided in this letter addressed to the bank. If it is a rector of the university, prepare a letter about the academic and teaching staff, if it is a minister, write them about the relevant area, if it’s a speaker of the parliament, write them about the deputies. If you have relevant reliable data and facts, be sure to highlight them! If you consider it necessary, briefly explain in the text of the greetings what gender equality or discrimination is.
Pay attention to the fact that high-ranking officials often simply voice or sign what their referents or press services prepare for them, so such letters can be sent to these departments/addressees as well.
If we do not want our elected officials and leaders at various levels to degrade our human dignity in their public speeches and statements, circulating conservative gender stereotypes and legitimizing the essentialist point of view on the social role of women, we must constantly fight this in all possible ways. We believe that water sharpens the stone, and that quantity will inevitably turn into quality over time. A small but real step is better than big and good virtual intentions. Come one everyone, let’s take this step. The more of us there are, the harder it is to ignore us.
Let’s respect ourselves, because we are worth it!
Before the war March 8 was celebrated in different ways in Ukraine. Someone celebrated the Day of spring, love, beauty and charm. Others celebrated the Day of solidarity of women in the fight for their rights. Some were happy to receive flowers and gifts, and others sold these gifts and earned money. Some initiated demonstrations, others joined them.
Since 2012 feminist marches have been taking place in Kharkiv and Lviv. They are joined by Zaporizhzhia, Dnipro, and other cities.
“Sphere” Kharkiv Women’s Organization constantly organizes the Solidarity Marches in Kharkiv.
On February 24, Russia initiated massive attacks of Ukraine without any announcement.
Before March 8, the team of Gender in Details created “8 March Postcards in Wartime ” collection designed by Hrytsia Erde.
On the International Day of Protection of Women’s Rights the Government Commissioner for Gender Policy Kateryna Levchenko appealed to the residents of the EU and USA to join the Campaign of Solidarity and Protection of Ukrainian Women and Children being under the constant threat of Russian bombings with the text “Being Together with Ukrainian Women and Children“.
The Parliament of Ukraine registered draft bill No. 9009 “Draft of the Law on Amendments to the Code of Labor Laws of Ukraine on the Ukrainian Holidays”. This bill proposes to cancel International Women’s Day on March 8 as a public holiday and day-off introducing instead Women’s Day as an alternative to be celebrated on February 25, the birthday of Lesya Ukrainka.
The response to this bill was provided in the Statement of “Equal Opportunities” and Public Council on Gender Issues regarding the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8
The Museum of Women and Gender History expresses its gratitude for the help in creating the exposition to the following persons: