On March 8th, it was practically impossible to walk through Rome without realizing that something special was happening around me. What it turned out to be was the celebrations of International Women’s Day. As a young woman, I am embarrassed to say that I have not learned about International Women’s Day before my time studying abroad in Rome. It seems to me that it is not as widely celebrated in the United States as it is in other parts of the world.
For anybody out there who is like me and does not know much about International Women’s Day, I will give a little bit of an overview. This celebration has multiple facets. For instance, this day is the rejoicing in how far women have come in regards to gaining equality in political, economic and social spheres. The holiday was actually created within the same year that Italian women were granted the right to vote (1946)! While this day represents how far women have come, it also serves as a reminder for how far we have yet to go to reach true equality.
Another aspect of International Women’s Day is to celebrate not only feminism as a movement, but being strong women. Both men and women alike show their appreciation to the women who have made a positive impact on their lives by being extra sweet and taking them out to dinner or buying them a bouquet of mimosa flowers, the flower chosen as the symbol of International Women’s day by Italian Feminists in 1946. In a way, it can be compared to Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day.
While having a special day solely for celebrating women, it is important to celebrate our femininity each and every day. So men, don’t forget to remind the important women in your life how much you appreciate them, and ladies, celebrate yourselves and all of the past women who have formed the path that you are able to walk on.
I asked a couple students at Temple Rome to describe to me what International Women’s Day means to them and they said:
What does women’s day mean to me? Well my passion and my heart is for women’s ministry. International Women’s day to me means women on all races, ages, and professions coming together to celebrate the thing that ties us together-our femininity-even though we express that in a multitude of different ways. This year for International Women’s day, I attended and volunteered at a Women’s conference. I cut and tied bows on mimosa flowers to hand out to the women that attend my local church. At the conference, I was able to hear a handful of women speak about their passions- whether that be education, hair dressing, or being a mom. Every women is different. But every woman is strong and beautiful. Everyday, but especially on International women’s day, we should encourage and celebrate all the diversity that entails what it means to be a woman with each other. – Ella Ward
“International Women’s Day is a day that I get to feel more connected to the women around me and I’m reminded to take a moment and reflect on the ways I can relate to women all over the world. I celebrated International women’s day by applying to be an officer for the Women’s/feminism club at my home campus.” -Grace Best
“International Women’s day made an impact all over the world. There were women who were mentioning people they were inspired by, people like their mothers, their sisters, their best friend, famous women in history. My International Women’s day inspiration was my mother. She is a strong women who has encouraged me to be the best that I can be.” – Erin Patterson
“This is the first time I have ever heard of International Women’s Day. Although I was unaware of this holiday, I am greatly appreciative of the things the women of my life have done for me. Grazie Donne!” – Paul Sandhu
So to all the strong women in the world, this blog post is dedicated to you!