On March 8, Ukraine marks International Women's Day. In 2021, this day remains a state holiday, despite the proposals to cancel it.
Initially, it was the day of solidarity of women in the fight for equal rights and emancipation; however, in some post-Soviet countries, the perception of the holiday has changed and it turned to the day of praising women’s beauty and giving to them flowers and presents.
Some consider it to be the manifestation of sexist stereotypes that completely contradicts the senses put in the idea of the celebration of International Women's Day.
Among these senses, we can see the drawing attention to gender inequality and notification of the women’s achievements that played a key role in the history of their countries.
“…Real changes for the majority of women and girls in the world take place too slowly. Today, any world country can state the achievement of gender equality…Women are still underestimated; they work more than men, earn less and their choice is restricted. Women and girls suffer from various forms of abuse,” the UN stated.
This year, the theme for the International Day, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”.
Its goal is to draw attention to tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The UN stated that the pandemic, and the quarantine restrictions established to contain it, placed an unequal burden on women and men. During the pandemic lockdown, with schools and kindergartens closed, women had the additional burden of juggling childcare, housework, and working remotely. With more women occupying essential jobs in supermarkets and pharmacies during the strictest phase of the quarantine, they were also exposed to a greater risk of infection.
“The crisis thus highlighted both the centrality of women’s contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry,” the UN said.
This day is the symbol of how far women advanced in society, policy and economy. Besides, this day, the marches are held to draw attention to still existed inequality. According to UN Women, due to the lockdown, women all over the globe are forced to do more housework, they lose carrier and education possibilities.
In 2021, the organizers of International Women's Day (IWD) chose #ChooseToChallenge as the campaign theme. The main idea is that the world challenges people and each person is individually responsible for his/her choice.
In Ukraine, the attitude to the holiday becomes more and more ambiguous and caused the urge to cancel it. The supporters of this offer state that March 8 is the holiday only in Post-Soviet countries. In China, the working of a woman lasts four hours instead of eight but it is just a recommendation, not a law. Meanwhile, other countries hold different themed events that remind the purpose of this day.
What is planned in Kyiv on March 8
Traditionally, the March of Women will take place in Kyiv; its partakers gather at Mykhailivska Square at 01:00 p.m. The organizers report that it is the campaign against sexism, discrimination and violence towards women; they will demand the ratification of the Istanbul Convention.
Besides, the campaigns will be held in Uzhhorod, Zaporizhia, Chernivtsi, Dnipro, Lutsk, Odesa, Kherson and Khmelnytsky.
“We offer to say loud that this day is not a holiday of femininity and tenderness but the human rights day of the fight of women for their rights. If we celebrate it – we do it at the march,” the Facebook of the event says.
Besides, the theme of March this year is the influence of the pandemic on the aggravation of the social issues.
“The level of the domestic violence in terms of quarantine is increasing sharply; meanwhile, the responsibility of abusers is still not unconditional before the law,” the organizers of the March said.
Besides, the attention is drawn to the fact that women are in the majority in the sphere of social, education services, as well as in the health sphere and they turned out to be at the greater risk during the pandemic. The women face the larger volume of work on raising children, housework and the main work and due to these facts, women lose their jobs.