8th of March
Posted by kronstadt on March 8, 2007
8th of March – International Women’s Day. It is a major day of global celebration for the economic, political and social achievements of women. Started as a political event, the holiday blended in the culture of many countries of former Soviet union like Armenia. In contemporary Armenia, the day lost its political flavor, and became simply an occasion for men to express their sympathy and love to the women around them – somewhat similar to Western Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day mixed together. Men give flowers and re-affirm the patriarchically created identities of what women are and supposed to be in the social and political scheme of things: a good birth-giver, a good Mother, a good cook, a good wife, a good cleaner, an asexual Victorian beautiful object of adoration and preferably a silent one. hmmm… but do we remember what 8th of March is all about?On 8 March 1857 in New York City Women from clothing and textile factories staged a protest. The garment workers were protesting what they saw as very poor working conditions and low wages. The protesters were attacked and dispersed by police. These women established their first labor union in the same month two years later.
More protests followed on 8 March in subsequent years, most notably in 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. The first IWD was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. Among other relevant historic events, it commemorates the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (New York, 1911), where over 140 women lost their lives. In 1910 the first international women’s conference was held in Copenhagen (in the labour-movement building located at Jagtvej 69, which until recently housed Ungdomshuset – where over 1000 people have been arrested in the last few days) by the Socialist International and an ‘International Women’s Day’ was established, which was submitted by the important German Socialist Clara Zetkin. The following year, IWD was marked by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. However, soon thereafter, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City killed over 140 garment workers. A lack of safety measures was blamed for the high death toll. Furthermore, on the eve of World War I, women across Europe held peace rallies on 8 March 1913. In the West, International Women’s Day was commemorated during the 1910s and 1920s, but dwindled. It was revived by the rise of feminism in the 1960s.
Demonstrations marking International Women’s Day in Russia proved to be the first stage of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Following the October Revolution, the Bolshevik feminist Alexandra Kollontai persuaded Lenin to make it an official holiday, and it was established, but was a working day until 1965. On May 8, 1965 by the decree of the USSR Presidium of the Supreme Soviet International Women’s Day was declared as a non working day in the USSR.
This is what 8th of March is about. It’s about women’s rebellion against the patriarchy. It’s about political significance and the social equality of women. The last thing that it’s about, is about the celebration of the male-created social identity of what men call “the weaker sex”. Please remember that, you strong and rebellious Armenian woman!!!
Yeah… those where the soviet times when Armenian woman enjoyed more social equality with men then women do in the west even today. Now we’re degrading into old barbarisms: the women is slowly regaining it’s position as the Man’s servant, she is once again returning to be the object of male violence, male adoration, male-entertainment, prostitution, wage-slavery, bullying, human-trafficking and so forth.
So please remember what 8th of March is really about and struggle for your equality and rights! Happy 8th of March beautiful rebellious Armenian working women!!!
PS: NPAK will be holding an exhibition dedicated to 8th of March starting from today till March 30. More info here.