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What's wrong with March 8 and how to respond to congratulations if you don't celebrate it: an explanation

Anna OnishchenkoNews
What's wrong with March 8 and how to respond to congratulations

International Women's Day has been celebrated in Ukraine for many years in a row. However, due to the ambiguity of the holiday and the Soviet imprint that remains on it, there is a high probability that March 8 will be canceled or modernized.

OBOZ.UA has gathered information about this women's holiday and will tell you about its true meaning and the reason for its transformation. Read on to recall the history of the struggle for equal rights and understand how to respond to inappropriate congratulations on the day of spring.

Last year, a bill to abolish March 8 and introduce the Ukrainian Women's Day on February 25 instead was registered in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Some other draft laws propose simply renaming the holiday to Women's Rights Day and celebrating it like Europeans, or calling it Spring Day and not being tied to the fact that it is a women's holiday.

In other words, the fate of March 8 is still unclear, so everyone will have to form their own attitude to this day.

The true meaning of March 8

The history of this day goes back to the 19th century when women began to actively defend their rights. One of the key moments in this struggle was the strike of textile workers in New York City in 1857. The women protested against unbearable working conditions and demanded the same pay as men, but the strike was brutally suppressed.

Not immediately, but over time, this event inspired other women around the world to fight for their rights.

In 1908, on the same day, women took to the streets again to declare their desire to have the right to vote. This time, the rallies were successful. Conditions for women workers were improved and child labor was banned.

What's wrong with March 8 and how to respond to congratulations if you don't celebrate it: an explanation

In 1977, the United Nations recognized March 8 as a holiday and declared it the Day for the Struggle for Women's Rights and International Peace. Since then, the day has been used to publicize gender research, commemorate women's achievements, and raise funds to eliminate inequality and combat violence.

Soviet influence

In the Soviet Union, March 8 took on a new meaning. It was used as a propaganda tool to demonstrate the "achievements of Soviet women" and was called Women's Day.

Later, it became customary to glorify working women as mothers, housewives, and inspirations for men because the so-called traditional women's work was in a sad state.

That is, women not only worked on an equal footing with men but were also forced to provide for the family life.

Propaganda began to change the narrative and shifted the focus of March 8 towards glorifying motherhood and reinforcing patriarchal views of the family. Women workers began to be greeted not as equals but as "team decorations," which only reinforced inequality and stereotypes.

Should we congratulate women on March 8 today?

Out of habit, many people continue to congratulate women on the day of spring and remark on their tenderness and beauty. Some of them may be really pleased with this, while others may take it as an insult. Therefore, before congratulating your wife, girlfriend, or child's teacher at school on March 8, you should find out their attitude to the holiday.

What's wrong with March 8 and how to respond to congratulations if you don't celebrate it: an explanation

Ask your loved ones, your teacher, or the school administration directly about their position on International Women's Day to avoid misunderstandings.

How to respond to inappropriate congratulations

If you have chosen to celebrate March 8 not as Spring Day but as the Day of Struggle for Equal Rights, you should tell your surroundings about it directly. However, if you do receive congratulations, do not devalue the attention for any reason. The person probably gave you flowers with their best wishes, so thank them. However, be sure to explain your attitude to March 8 once again the next day.

The main thing is not to decide or explain anything impulsively. You should not organize an "educational hour" because it can be humiliating and offensive to the person who made the effort and gave the gift.

Don't take gratitude for inappropriate words or gifts as insincerity or a betrayal of your principles. You are thanking them not for reinforcing stereotypes but only for the attention to your personality.

You can just say, "Thank you for your attention" or "Thank you for wanting to make me feel good."

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