Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Ukrainian Women Reclaiming the Feminist Meaning of International Women's Day: A Report about Recent Feminist Activism

Oksana Kis

Abstract

During the Soviet regime the meaning of International Women’s Day (IWD) in Ukraine changed dramatically: its original feminist essence was substituted with communist propaganda aimed at women’s mobilization for the construction of a radiant communist future. In recent decades 8 March turned into a holiday of spring, women’s beauty, and love, celebrated both in public settings and in Soviet families. By the late 1980s, Soviet citizens had interiorized the new ways to celebrate this day at which men and boys were expected (or even required) to solemnize the “eternal femininity” of their counterparts by expressing their love, respect, and attention to women and girls of all ages, to greet them with flowers and gifts and to fulfill all their (rather modest) wishes one day a year. The leaders of the Communist Party and the heads of local authorities developed the new tradition of publishing their holiday greetings to female citizens in the media, while directors of enterprises congratulated their female employees in more tangible ways, from flowers and letters of commendation to financial bonus or career promotion. While celebrating “Soviet women―the most liberated women in the world,” nobody was to speak about the multitude of gender inequalities persisting in late Soviet society, as the so-called woman question was proclaimed solved in the USSR long ago.

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or log in to access all content.