Updated: 6/30/2005; 11:26:02 PM.


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  Monday, March 08, 2004

  Women's day: being equal while being different

Today is the International Women's Day. I'm not sure it's truly international, but it's a big day in Russia.

It's started as a fight for women rights (thanks Jill for the link), but in "everyday" Russian life it has also became a celebration of being a women. Daughters, mothers, sisters, colleagues get flowers, chocolates, small presents and the whole country gets a day off (of course, being Russian in the Netherlands doesn't mean that I have a day off :))) The best thing is that it's also a very beginning of spring: there is still a lot of snow, but days get longer, sun shines brighter and everyone is running around with flowers...

Comparing to the Netherlands (the "other" culture I experienced most), the position of Russian women is paradoxical.

From one side, in Russian culture men and women are different, they are obviously masculine and feminine, and not something "unisex" in between. It's reflected in the everyday life: for example, in most cases being a woman you'll get help with lifting heavy suitcase in a public transport (this is something you can forget about in the Netherlands). In Russia nobody will think that I'm weak and dependent only because I allow men to take a heavy bag or to open a door for me.

From another side, Russia is said to be most emancipated country with 89% of companies have a female on the board of directors compared to Dutch 27% (of course, it's not perfect at all).

For me this paradox is not a paradox, but the only solution for women's rights: being equal while being different. So, this is what I'm celebrating today - the fun of being different.

See also: Being yourself' rather than 'misbehaving'.

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© Copyright 2002-2005 Lilia Efimova.

This weblog is my learning diary. Sometimes I write about things related to my work, but the views expressed here are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

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