It took living in Kazakhstan for me to discover the existence of International Women's Day. Ironically, this holiday honoring working women was first celebrated as a national holiday in the United States on February 28, 1909. It became a global affair after the second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen in 1910. A women named Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office for the Social Democratic Party in Germany, proposed an international day for working women to honor their potential and ability to initiate change. The 100-some women at the conference from 17 different countries unanimously approved her suggestion.
Today, International Women’s Day is an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. Though not an official holiday, it’s still popularly observed in other countries such as Cameroon, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria. I’ve also joined wonderful International Women’s Day festivities in India. As my fellow Americans know, however, the holiday is not widely recognized in the United States.
This year, I’ve decided to counter that fact (even if it’s just on a small scale!). I’ll be celebrating International Women's Day by hosting a tea party for many of the inspirational women I know. Though the actual holiday is March 8, my fete will take place on the evening of Saturday, March 10. Though not be a political event in any way, open conversations about women's issues will be welcome. Essentially, it will be a party to honor women’s vast potential.
I invite you to host your own women’s gathering on or around March 8. The Tuesday after International Women’s Day, I’ll be doing a follow-up forum blog and would love to hear about your events! Also, please comment here about any thoughts you have regarding International Women’s Day or ways to celebrate.
For a cohesive historical timeline of International Women’s Day, click here.
Yoga brings stability and calm into every discipline of Sophie Herbert's life. She is an alignment focused yoga teacher (and perpetual student) and a Whole Living contributing editor. She graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art, where she nurtured her passion for documentary photography. It was during this time that she began her disciplined and diverse study of yoga in New York, Paris, and India.
Sophie has lived, studied, and volunteered extensively in India. She feels grateful to still visit and work regularly with the Deenabandhu Children's Home in Chamarajanagar, Karnataka. In November of 2010, she became an ambassador for Yoga Gives Back www.yogagivesback.org, a grass-roots nonprofit that helps destitute women and girls in India build more sustainable lives. Sophie has also shared her knowledge of yoga at the Prana Yoga Center in Astana, Kazakhstan. Currently, she teaches at the Park Slope Yoga Center www.parkslopeyoga.com in Brooklyn and privately. Sophie is also an avid cook.