In many of the world, we enthusiastically celebrate International Women’s Day. We were not aware then of Valentine’s Day and scamming of flower prices then. While the questions surrounding diverse values, gender identities, and contemporary politics are complicated, it is important to note that for many in the world, the basic human rights that we take for granted in the United States are beyond reach. I have been asked today to post a courtesy conference that is not affiliated with our library in which I will participate as a member of the organizing committee in my private capacity. The conference is dedicated to women of contemporary Afghanistan.
The conference will occur tomorrow, March 9th, from 9 am PST through 12 noon. The website for the conference is Afghan Women Speak: Voices from within and beyond. The conference is FREE and OPEN to all with prior registration.
Today, March 8, is celebrated around the world as International Women’s Day. In the USSR, this holiday was celebrated rather religiously as the role of Soviet women in the success of the Soviet experiment and internationalist policies was undeniable. The conceptualization of the Soviet Woman as an idea was nuanced and complicated. A Wikipedia entry starts as follows, “International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. It is also a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence against women.”
Image Source: Messy Nessy (https://www.messynessychic.com/2017/03/10/the-soviet-communist-origins-of-international-womens-day/) Fair Academic Use Only. The copyright belongs to the creator of the image.
Temma Kaplan’s article, “On the Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day,” provides insights into how this day became a signifier in the Socialist World. One however forgets that the origins of this day can be found in Germany as noted by Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild in her article, “From West to East International Women’s Day, the First Decade.” Here you can access some materials from UC Berkeley Library’s catalog regarding International Women’s Day. Also, some posters from the collections of several California libraries can be found here.
One can watch an interesting clip from YouTube with a title, “Демонстрация женщин в 1917 году. Московские Новости. 8 марта 1967,” and a concert honoring women in the Soviet Union from 1984.
Below is the clip of a 1963 concert dedicated to International Women’s day:Концерт 8 Марта из Большого театра СССР (1963).
And here is a clip of protest on the occasion of March 8th from Mexico.
by Taylor Follett
“A word after a word after a word is power,” wrote Margaret Atwood in her poem, “Spelling.” On March 8th, International Women’s Day, we celebrate the particular power wielded by women writers through their incredible works of literature, especially those published in 2018/2019. Make use of the library’s vast literature collection to honor contemporary women who write word after word after word to create worlds, critique society, and inspire their readers.
March 8th is International Women’s Day, the perfect time to start reading works written by and about women. Spend some time this March browsing the stacks for these inspiring, intelligent, and wonderful works.
If you don’t know where to begin, try starting with some of the staples of feminist literature:
Is anything better than fiction? Yes—like fiction written by and about women:
If you’re feeling poetic, try these collections:
Many female writers produce their best work through essays and non-fiction works:
If it seems like we missed one of your favorite books that should be honored for International Women’s Day, tweet us and let us know! Want a book that isn’t in the library? Recommend that we purchase it here.