Celebrating Women at the Wende Vault

International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March. Originally started as a Socialist political event, the holiday became incorporated into the culture of many countries, primarily those from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. While the holiday slightly differs depending on the country, they are similar in that they all demonstrate their love, respect, and appreciation for women and celebrate women’s economic, political, and social achievements.

Свежий ветер перемен?, or The Fresh Wind of Changes?, represents the life of a typical Soviet woman. Women’s days in the Soviet Union were full of extensive responsibilities that required multi-tasking. The many arms of the windmill represent the typical duties that a woman completed daily and provide a specific breakdown of how much time she allotted to each task.

One (1) hour spent doing laundry

One (1) hour spent cleaning

Three (3) hours spent cooking

Seventeen (17) minutes spent with her child

Nine (9) hours working

One and a half (1.5) hours spent grocery shopping

These duties are time-consuming, leaving this woman with only 17 minutes per day to dedicate to her child.

It comes to no surprise, therefore, that amid the rapid world industrialization and economic expansion, working conditions began to quickly plummet. It was because of the protests against dangerous and unfair work environments that led to the establishment of International Women’s Day, formerly known as International Working Women’s Day.

This ceramic plate is a simple example of one of the ways that countries such as Germany demonstrated their appreciation of women. The blue text reads as follows: “Herzliche Glückwünsche zum Internationalen Frauentag 1971 __ Allen Frauen Der Brigade”, which roughly translates to “Happy International Women’s Day 1971 __ All Women of the Brigade.”

 This colorful poster depicts many garlands and badges, with text that says: “Да здравствует международный женский день! Слава советским женщинам!” which translates to: “Long live International Women’s Day! Glory to Soviet Women!” Flowers have long been a tradition in regards to International Women’s Day, as the holiday is somewhat a mix between Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day. Men are expected to bring their mothers, wives, sisters, and good female friends a bouquet of flowers that are occasionally accompanied by candy or chocolate. Their gratitude and appreciation for the women in their lives in further celebrated throughout the day in various ways, such as by dedicating their toasts to International Women’s Day during their meals.

Here are a few examples of typical Soviet postcards and holiday cards that celebrate International Women’s Day. Whether it’s a boy giving his girl friend flowers, or women dressed in traditional Russian folk clothing, these postcards all carry the same message: “С празникам 8 марта!” or “Happy 8th of March!” Since International Women’s Day’s beginnings in 1911 all the way to the present state in 2011, these types of cards are still popular to send to your relatives and friends on the 8th of March.

Feeling inspired yet? The Wende folks heartily encourage you to spread a little love and show the women in your life how much you care about them by sending them flowers or a nice card on March 8th!

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One Response to Celebrating Women at the Wende Vault

  1. Lidia S. says:

    Very nicely done and written! Thanks. L.🙂

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