International Women’s Day And The Intersection Of Feminism, Socialism, & Consumerism


By Brianna Sybella

I’m sure you’re tired of all the sentiments about feminism that regularly flood the internet. And that reading yet another article on how amazing women are (and how not alike they are treated) will bore you to death.

But this is not your average feminist piece.

It’s about that part of socialism we often refuse to talk about – and the way we’ve turned International Women’s Day into a triviality when, in fact, it’s a celebration created with a completely different purpose in mind.

Come Again? Women’s Day Isn’t About Giving Flowers?

Well, no. It’s not that flowers aren’t a nice gesture for March 8th.

It’s just that this day wasn’t coined for an excuse to give gender-specific gifts. In fact, it was meant to jumpstart a new era in Eastern European feminism that had a very socialist agenda.

Now, I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of politics, and I’m definitely not enforcing socialism, communism or any other “-isms”. But it’s fair to admit that women of the Eastern Bloc had a better chance to be successful professionals than their sisters across the Ocean.

To understand how, you have to look at the history of women’s positions in society.


How Socialist Women Owned It in the 20th Century

Once upon a time, there was a country ruled by a Czar. Power was in the “blue” blood, and climbing up the social ladder was nearly impossible for mere “red-blooded” mortals.

Then, socialism came around to transform society into a utopia where everyone had equal opportunities, regardless of upbringing. In this society, even women (oh, the horror!) could be highly-acclaimed professionals.

International Women’s Day was born from this concept, but it finds its origins not in Socialist Russia, but in Socialist America (there’s something to give you nightmares: a Socialist Party that actually did things to influence the course of history).

The very first Women’s Day was observed nationally in the US in February 1909, in memory of a (supposed) strike held by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. Guess who organized this first celebration? The US Socialist Party. Although no official records mentioned a specific strike on March 8th 1908, it remained in history as the day to have “started” the International Women’s Day.

Weird, right?


Not even the second IWD was celebrated in Socialist Russia. In fact, it was an idea promoted by the International Conference of Working Women, another Socialist event held in Denmark in 1910. One year later, more than 1 million men and women in Denmark, Austria, Germany and Switzerland attended women’s rights rallies – not your usual “commie” suspects – attended women’s rights rallies.

International Women’s Day did not reach Russia until 1913, observed in February. Four years later, Saint Petersburg women marched the streets on this day (Sunday February 23rd that year according to their Julian calendar, and March 8th on the Gregorian calendar) to put an end to the war, food shortage and Russian czarism.

When the October Revolution was won by the Bolsheviks, they proclaimed March 8th as the official date for Women’s Day – and, for decades, it remained a day of homage for working women in the Communist Bloc only.

Finally, in 1977, the UN invited the world to proclaim March 8th as the day to celebrate Women’s Rights and World Peace at an International level.


So, To Chocolate or Not to Chocolate?

The TL;DR version of the story above is this: International Women’s Day is a socialist and feminist invention, but we have somehow managed to transform it into “Valentine’s Day – Part II” by diluting its true meaning.

Again, that’s not to say I’m pro communism or socialism, or anything they brought into the world. In the end, the ideas behind celebrating Women’s Day don’t belong solely to a socialist-turned-nightmare system. They are actually applicable in the individualist society built by Americans too – and ring true in a modern world that wants to close the gender gap as soon as possible.

Instead of making IWD a holiday about candy and fluffy teddy bears, it’s important to take a moment to consider what it meant for working women who wanted to be something more than what society imposed on them. This year, the UN has dedicated IWD to a powerful theme: the Pledge for Parity.


So let’s take our pledge for girls receiving the education they need and deserve; for closing the gender gap; for celebrating the amazing achievements of women worldwide; for gratitude to the women who made it through difficult times and left their mark in global history.

I pledge for the awesomeness of being a woman – and for eradicating the differences that make us less equal in the eyes of politics, economics, science and culture.

Borderline socialist and purely feminist, International Women’s Day is a celebration in its own right. Although trivialized, it should be celebrated in lieu of a day of triumph for women – and their success shouldn’t be strictly connected to communism, socialism or capitalism.

Beyond the cuteness and the spring vibe, this is a holiday dedicated to women and their achievements.

Celebrate International Women’s Day with pride – because, in the end, we have come a long way to be accepted as equal members of the world we live in. Although we might still have a long and winding road ahead of us, we still have many reasons to clink our glasses in recognition of our successes so far.







Brianna is a teacher-and-novelist with an avid passion for writing and coffee. Madly in love with her work, she will always go the extra-mile to pull off a great piece and she will always struggle to squeeze the best words out of her writing.

One Comment

  1. Pingback: International Women's Day: Interflora Creatively Highlights Gender Inequality With New Bouquet - GirlTalkHQ

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