Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Internationaler Frauentag

[ International Women's day ]

One particular holiday/day of political action that I have learned about this year is "International Women's day" that takes place around the world on March 8th. I find it ironic that this day goes largely unnoticed in the states [ since it was one of the nations of origin for this day during the movement for women's suffrage in the early 1900's]. Even so, the date has stuck and retained a important meaning for nations especially in South Asia, the middle east and former Soviet-Block Europe in present day.

For some countries, it is a day to buy flowers for a mother or wife to show them appreciation - in defense of the states, often compared to our Mother's day. For other countries, such as Turkey - which I have heard some heated speeched in my German class with many Turkish exchange students - the day holds many marches and publicity movements to raise awareness of the stark gender inequalities in the country. More common in Eastern Germany, the holiday is still recognized in the entire country, and has become a day to publicize Germany's own unique inequalities between men and women still present in the culture. I have written about it before, that Germany's stance on woman's rights has drastically changed and improved for mothers, female workers and students over the past two decades. Even so, there are still visible differences, especially with percentage of male bosses, and pay between the sexes.

On March 8th, doing my Praktikant duties, I was sent off on a little side project to capture one of the Aktion campaigns of the Grünen party. Some members of the Green party as well as the Grünenjugend [the young Greens] set up a stand in the center of Göttingen around other woman's day themed booths displaying what the Green party see as still an everpresent problem in German society - unequal pay for men and women.

Taking pictures of the booth, I caught on to the message of the campaign. With women in Germany earning statistically 22% less than men on average, information was passed out to address the issue, and some cookies as well. However, if you were a woman you received a whole cookie - men... something close to a quarter less [ made to just half a cookie ... so I was slighted nevertheless ].

I found the event to be a creative idea, as well as a look into some of the projects and views of the party I am currently working for and learning about, some of the political holidays in Germany and the rest of the world, and how these messages radically change on different country's interpretations.

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