Forty-three years ago, the United Nations (UN) named 1975 as the International Women’s Year. Two years later, the UN General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the annual day for women’s rights and world peace. My friends in Belarus send me Women’s Day greetings annually, and when I visited Peru, I saw costumes, posters, and a parade to mark the event.
- While some in the US observe International Women’s Day, it is much more popular in the southern and eastern hemispheres. In many places, men give their moms, wives, girlfriends, daughters, and female friends flowers and small gifts.
- In about 30 countries, including China, Cuba, Russia, Vietnam, and Zambia, International Women’s Day is an official holiday.
- In Bulgaria and Romania, it is observed as an equivalent of Mother’s Day; children honor their mothers and grandmothers with presents. In places such as Bosnia, Brazil, and Russia, women receive flowers—sometimes even from employers. And schoolchildren bring gifts for female teachers.
America’s big celebration of womanhood honors mothers; the international day focuses on women of all ages and stages of life.