International Women’s Day is March 8: Are you ready?

February 28, 2014
If Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton observe International Women’s Day (above, at an awards ceremony for women on March 8, 2012), why have so few Americans heard of it? (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images)
If Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton observe International Women’s Day (above, at an awards ceremony for women on March 8, 2012), why have so few Americans heard of it? (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty Images)

EXCUSES TO PARTY

It’s Reigning Women, Hallelujah

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a holiday honoring women that’s celebrated around the world. The U.S., where ladies don’t get a day unless they’re moms, has never been firmly on the bandwagon.

IWD kicked off in Europe on March 19, 1911, to drum up support for the suffrage movement, and moved to March 8 in 1913. A 1909 attempt to launch a similar holiday in the U.S. flopped, probably because the Socialist Party of America was behind it.

In 1917, Russian women chose March 8 to protest the deaths of more than 2 million Russian soldiers in World War I. Days later, the czar stepped down and the provisional government granted Russian women the right to vote.

Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, IWD is still a popular day for women’s rights protests and marches.

It’s also got a softer side: Gals get gifts, pampering and a day off work in many countries.

Maybe this list will convince the federal government — or Hallmark — that March 8 should be America’s next big thing.

Flowers
Russian women insist on red roses, and Italians and Albanians prefer yellow mimosas. Locally, florists see at least a little action. “Most of the clients that come in and buy flowers for that are usually the Europeans,” says Vicky Manalansan, who has worked at Foggy Bottom’s Nosegay Flower Shop for more than 25 years. “It’s not a big thing.” What sells best? “Mostly just anything small,” she says.

Time Off
In Russia, IWD is a public holiday. This year, Russians — including those working at the Russian Embassy in D.C. — will get Monday, March 10, off. In China, many women (but not men!) get a free half-day. Since IWD falls on a Saturday this year, most white-collar American workers have the day off, too.

Dinner
In Romania, single ladies gather for homemade meals. In Russia, progressive husbands do the cooking. Here in D.C., at least one restaurant is making March 8 special. Mari Vanna, a Russian eatery in Dupont Circle, plans to hand out free champagne and roses, as it did last year.

Gifts
Romanian children use March 8 to honor their moms with trinkets and homemade crafts. In China, women’s bosses provide the gifts; movie tickets are common.

Charity
India, Uganda, Bangladesh, Fiji, Cambodia and Rwanda are just a few of the nations that use IWD to promote women’s rights. Uganda, for instance, sees the “Run for Safe Motherhood” marathon, the proceeds of which are donated to hospital maternity wards.

HOUSES OF BOUNCE

Spring Is in the Area

With the debut of Flight Trampoline Park, which at press time was set to open in Springfield, Va., on Feb. 28., our area now boasts a whopping 73,666 square feet of commercial trampoline space. Flight’s 16,000 square feet joins Rebounderz’s 26,000 in Sterling, Va., and SkyZone’s 31,666 in Columbia, Md. To put this figure into perspective, we have as much bounce space as:


 VOCABGATE

Infamous Last Word

By the time the Watergate Seven were indicted on March 1, 1974, Americans had been inundated by Watergate coverage for nearly two years. Disgusted, bored citizens soon had another nuisance to endure: Most modern scandals are now named by appending “gate” to a noun. We looked back on four decades of this way-over-used signifier of public disgrace.


1. Watergate (1972) The scandal that started it all.

2. Volgagate (1973) The first known spinoff was a fake Russian scandal created by National Lampoon.

3. Billygate (1980) Congress investigated Jimmy Carter’s younger brother, Billy, for inappropriate ties to the Libyan government. President Carter was found negligent for not dissociating himself from Billy’s activities.

4. Camillagate (1993) A recording of an explicit phone call between Prince Charles and now-wife Camilla Parker Bowles mortifies the English monarchy.

5. Fajitagate (2002) In San Francisco, a fight over a bag of fajitas involving several off-duty officers brought about police reform.

6. Nipplegate (2004) A split-second flash of Janet Jackson’s nipple during her Super Bowl performance with Justin Timberlake resulted in 540,000 complaints to the FCC and has been cited as the moment that inspired YouTube.

7. Antennagate (2010) iPhone 4 owners, angry about reception problems caused by the antenna’s design, turned against Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

8. Cablegate (2010) Wikileaks released more than 250,000 classified cables, embarrassing American diplomats all around the world.

9. Weinergate (2011) Anthony Weiner’s Twitter antics spawned a double-entendre-gate that seemed endless.

10. Plebgate (2012) British MP Andrew Mitchell allegedly insulted policemen who refused to let him bicycle out the main gate at Downing Street. They said he called them “plebs,” quite a nasty term. The scandal, which led to Mitchell’s resignation, was also dubbed Gate-gate, and thus -gate swallowed itself.

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Kelly A. Magyarics · February 28, 2014