Every year, on March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated. In America, we might see it written on our daily calendar as an automatically populated international holiday or see a few posts on Facebook from our more socially-conscious friends. We think “oh, that’s cool,” and then proceed to put a female-focused quote on Instagram to make it appear as if we are socially aware, woke, etc. to our followers. And, for the majority, that is where it ends.**
In America. One of the most developed nations in the world. And all we do is reduce International Women’s Day to a passive social media post.
Since I have been abroad, I have been inspired by the women who have taken to the streets to advocate for and rally around women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. Nothing will ever change until we support all of our sisters because…
Here in Moldova, however, International Women’s Day is celebrated annually and has been for a long time. This is a national holiday where schools and businesses are closed and the purpose of the celebration is to celebrate the women in your life and all of their sacrifices and successes. This is actually a holdover from Soviet times so, say what you want about communism and its inevitable downfalls, but they got it right with this holiday. Women of all ages are greeted with gifts (usually flowers) from the men in their lives and all of the toasts around the accompanying meal are dedicated to the women: success, good health, good will, etc. The celebrations and gifts are reminiscent of American Mother’s Day and the day is often referred to as Mother’s Day here in Moldova even though women from all walks of life are celebrated.
This holiday may be one of my most favorite holidays celebrated here simply because it is not something that is recognized in my home country. Even today, as I walked into the kitchen for the obligatory masa, I was asked “Americans don’t celebrate this day, right?” to which I begrudgingly had to answer “No.” And, honestly, I don’t have a good answer as to why not. If (or when) I have children, they will be taught to recognize the significance of this day and it will be celebrated in our household annually.
So, in honor of International Women’s Day, I would like to recognize all of the women in my life that have made a difference. The women who taught me to be unapologetically myself. The women who got me to where I am today. The women that continue to inspire me through their selfless acts of generosity, kindness, and love. The women that give me hope for the future. The women that I am proud to stand alongside and fight with until we get the equality we deserve.
Thank you for teaching me, guiding me, listening to me, and leading me to becoming the woman that I am today. No amount of thank you’s can express how truly grateful I am.
**I recognize that there are women that get out every year on this day (and more) to engage in activism surrounding women’s rights and, for that passion and grit and determination, I salute you.**