March 8 – International Women’s Day in Italy, a day to celebrate and think
The 8th of March is International Women’s Day. How do Italian men celebrate women’s day in Italy? They do this with the traditional gift of women’s day yellow flower, the mimosas. This is the traditional women’s day flower in Italy.
The historical context of women’s day
This civil holiday of March 8th was born as a political event. Over the course of years, it blended into the culture of many countries. So much so that the day lost its political flavor. Instead, it became simply an occasion for men to express their love to the surrounding women.
To many, International Women’s Day was established to commemorate the social, economic, and political achievements of women, as well as the discriminations that have occurred and continue to exist in the world. The first National Women’s Day was observed on February 28, 1909, in the United States, as part of the initiative of the American Socialist Party, which chose this date to commemorate the suffrage of millions of New Yorkers who had been relegated to better working conditions the previous year.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the world…
On March 8, 1917, women demonstrated in Saint Petersburg to demand the end of the war. To commemorate this event, the Second International Conference of Communist Women in Moscow in 1921 declared March 8 to be International Workers’ Day.
The first Women’s Day was observed in Italy in 1922, but on March 12 rather than March 8.
The global movement for women’s rights grew in the decades that followed.
The UDI, Unione Donne Italiane, was founded in September 1944 in Rome, and it was decided to celebrate Women’s Day on March 8, 1945, in the liberated areas of Italy.
International Women’s Day in Italy
Italians are fond of this celebration. Although critics believe it’s an excuse, men used it to make up for year-long neglect. Furthermore, Women’s Day has become more and more of a commercial and marketing initiative. In fact, its civil and political meaning has been pushed in the background.
Obviously, Women’s Day is a particularly emotional occasion in Italy. Both men and women are aware of the challenges women have faced in gaining independence. It’s a slow process, but it’s bearing fruit.
Women’s Day is a symbolic day that represents all the injustices that have occurred. One day a year cannot rebalance history or erase the past, but it is a small event with great significance.
You learn from history, and this day is closely related to very important historical events that have enabled women’s ever-increasing emancipation.
Some of the most important dates in this regard are listed below:
- 1893: New Zealand grants women the right to vote. It is the world’s first state.
- 1910: At the International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, the delegates decided to establish a day dedicated to the defense of women’s rights.
- 1914: Germany celebrates the “Frauentag“, a day when women demand the right to vote (March 8)
- 1917: Women take to the streets in Petrograd (now Saint Petersburg) to demand an end to the war. The protest, in fact, marks the start of the so-called “February revolution” (8 March)
- 1921:Moscow establishes “International Workers’ Day“. (March 8)
- 1922: On the initiative of the newly formed Italian Communist Party, “International Women’s Day” is observed for the first time in Italy. (March 12)
- 1946: Women in Italy exercise their right to vote for the first time (granted the previous year), voting in local elections (March 10) and then, more importantly, in the institutional referendum and elections to the Constituent Assembly. (June 2)
- 1972: 20,000 women demonstrate in “Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori”, kicking off the hot years of Italian feminism (March 8)
- 1976: Tina Anselmi is appointed Minister of Labour and Social Security. She is the country’s first female minister. (29 July)
- 1977:The United Nations declares “International Women’s Day” (8 March)
- 2022: September 26 Georgia Meloni is elected as the first Italian female prime minister
- 2023: Elly Shlein gets elected as secretary of the PD political party
What happens during Women’s Day in Italy?
The symbolic women’s day flower in Italy is the yellow mimosa, which expresses female solidarity. The origin of the custom is lost, but it probably started in Rome after World War II.
Men started giving mimosa to their partners, friends, co-workers, and family, as well as to their significant others. They gave these yellow flowers to colleagues, mothers, and sisters. Indeed, the scent of mimosas fills the air. Nowadays, the celebration has evolved and now women also give mimosas to each other. Mimosas became the traditional women’s day flower in Italy.
While men show all their love for women, society as a whole remembers the importance of women. It remembers women’s important contribution to the betterment of our society. And their sacrifices and achievements.
Still, the road to equality is long and winding. There’s a long way to go for Italian women, who are often victims of abuse, femicide, and inequality. Every day should be Women’s Day in Italy. Until equality is achieved.
All women have a wonderful Women’s Day!
By Andrea Nicosia and Justin Demetri