Contemporary celebrations of International Women's Day were introduced in 1977 by the United Nations. The version of the festival, celebrated in France, adheres to the feministic worldview.
Origins of the festival
The initiator of the celebration of Women's Day on the 8th of March was the socialist activist Clara Zetkin. The day was chosen to commemorate the strike of female garment workers in New York City, which took at the 8th of March, 1857. As a communist, Zetkin gave the question under discussion during the meeting of her international organisation. It was in August 1910. And, as it usually happens at such occassions, the proposition was accepted by acclamation. On March 18, 1911, the festival gained momentum and began to be fully acknowledged as international. 11 years elapsed and the celebrations were embraced by Lenin, then by communists in China. The version of the festival celebrated today in France, stems from the sort of takeover done by the United Nations in 1977. Festival have now a specific twist and is called United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
Celebration of Women's Day in France: media coverage
Giving flowers, although not obligatory, has a permanent place in the traditions and culture of lots of European countries. It is completely different in France, where socialist and worldwiev is very strong. The country is full of feminists. The relationship of French women to gender issues can be seen, for example, in the media coverage of the topic. On March 8, we will hear a lot about gender inequality and violence against women. The topic of abortion is also widely discussed.
How do the French celebrate Women's Day?
Celebrating Women's Day in France focuses primarily on promoting feminist attitudes. The symbolism of these holidays is poor because it is almost only associated with the feminist movement and has no expression of it's own. The colour of the holiday is purple. It symbolizes justice and dignity. It is not a custom that was born in the minds of today's women's grandmothers. The idea is new and informations about it can be found on the website of International Women's Day. As for the holiday itself, it also did not arise spontaneously, based on folk customs. The birth of it is associated with the socialist movement.
Women and manifestiations
Another thing that women in France do regularly during the eight of March, is to participate in manifestations. Women talk and shout about their demands. Some of them wore purple clothes or paint their faces, using makeup or other forms of body paint. Since the eight of March in France is soaked with modern feministic ideologies, marches and manifestations are quite common during the day.
Activists and NGOs
The eighth of March is the day of the increased activity of activists, international organizations and NGOs. Meetings and summits take place in various parts of the world, and of course in France. In 2021, for example, there was a summit in Paris, held to discuss the question of equality between women and men. It was one of the typical events, which take place in various parts of France every year. Organisations of the meetings state, that they work hand in hand to advance the global agenda, of which the feminist cause is just one piece of the puzzle. The agenda is to be realized by 2030 and is connected with building global sustainability. The feminist threat is intertwined into the agenda.
Curated by the ONZ
Every year ONZ, an organization, which launched the event, invents a theme for the celebrations. Themes vary from the necessity of eliminating violent behaviours towards women, to the questions concerning sustainability and ecology. Those celebrations are goal-driven and deeply political. Apart from politics, central to the celebrations is the woman. The woman which is unhappy, exploited and downtrodden, or whose character and attitude are exemplary and worthy of gaining publicity. United Nations set another goal for the celebrations of this festival. It is to “celebrate acts of courage and determination of ordinary women.”
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