In Russia, a former Soviet country, Marxism's morals and equality of gender and classes were deeply ingrained in its traditions and holidays. This made women's rights a big focus, and on March 8, International Women's Day, a grand celebration for all girls and women.
I was born in Russia and moved to the U.S. when I was one year old. Stepping into the threshold of my house was entering an island of Russia in America. Russian holidays were celebrated even when the rest of the country had a regular day. So even though I never got to experience March 8 in Russia, it was widely reflected in our household in things like Russian news specials, flowers from our dad and a deep appreciation for what it is to be a woman. My parents told me stories of giving flowers to classmates and receiving gifts such as handkerchiefs and candy. My grandparents grew tulips for a living, and on that one day, they sold most of their stock because everyone was giving flowers to the women they love in their lives. But beyond gifts, it was a day marking empowerment for women.
March is women's history month in the U.S., and March 8 marks the beginning of the month, remembering the women's movements that have changed the world. The holiday began in 1913 Germany by socialists Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg to honor women being able to vote. They were spurred to create it as an international holiday after a socialist convention. They were influenced by women participating in numerous labor protests in New York City over harassment, low wages and overall bad conditions. The holiday reached Russia through similar protests and connections of socialist parties as the Russian revolution occurred. But, because of this association with communism and the Soviet Union, the U.S. didn't adopt this holiday (Time.com).
Still, that doesn't mean we can't make this a holiday that warrants official status. Celebrating women's history month is the first step. As Virginia Wolfe once said, "For most of history, anonymous was a woman." The various contributions of women have been ignored for long enough. Now is the time to look back and recognize the women that have incited change for the U.S. and the world.
You can self-educate to be informed about women's history by visiting the womenshistorymonth.gov website and browse the resources collected by the U.S. government for exactly this reason. The website describes itself with these words, "The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history." These institutions provide a rich view of every subject, vocation, art and avenue of expression where women have contributed.
At womenshistorymonth.gov, you can find beautiful exhibitions showing historical women in news, politics, fashion, education, business, work, social media, performing arts, etc. There are videos and films from the Library of Congress displaying women of all ages, races and sexualities changing our society. Historical moments are brought to life in these easily accessible virtual exhibits found in thousands of links. You can sit for hours reading and watching this site to absorb the radiance found in these examples of women's ambition, strength and creativity standing in the face of the patriarchy. Let's change the world even more by honoring their legacy and creating new ones!