“I told them about International Women’s Day and none of them even heard of it. Not one!”
That’s what my husband John said of this past Friday, when he happened to mention the holiday to his female coworkers here in the US.
But I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders, because none of it surprised me. “Of course they didn’t. Even I had never heard of it until I went to China.”
I’m sure I must have raised an eyebrow sometime back in March 2000 when the college in China worked for back then called us in for an impromptu meeting regarding Women’s Day — and then announced that all of the women would enjoy time off from work on March 8. Time off? Just for being a woman? And when I discovered it was in fact an international holiday, I couldn’t help but wonder, Where had this holiday been all my life?
Ever since that first March, I learned to look forward to March 8 and not just because employers gave me a half-day off from the office. After John and I started dating, he always observed March 8 in some way — whether taking me out to eat, making me dinner or just relieving me from my share of the chores at home.
The crazy thing is, International Women’s Day originated in the US. And while you might argue Americans still sort of observe it because we’ve designated March as National Women’s History Month, a part of me still feels surprised and even shocked that it took going to China for me to realize that the day actually existed. And, for that matter, to realize what I’ve been missing all along.
I can’t help but think about the strong presence of International Women’s Day in China — and its near absence here in the US — and wonder what, if anything, that says about our respective countries.
But as I ponder this past Friday — when John took over all the evening’s dinner chores in honor of International Women’s Day — I will say this: his coworkers are totally missing out. 😉