Women’s Day in China

Today is March 8th, International Women’s Day. When I was a child, this day was called Working Women’s Day (at least in Spain). There were articles in the newspapers commemorating it and some events, but it was not a big deal. And, of course, working women spent the day working.

In China, working women have the afternoon off today. Well, I think only the ones working in offices, as I doubt doctors, factory workers, teachers, etc. can do it. Maybe teachers can but then the kids have a holiday too, because they are not going to stay in the classroom by themselves. Housewives also cannot have the afternoon off if they have to take care of their kids, do the chores or prepare dinner. Unless their father, husband or father-in-law replaces them.

In this day, many companies in China prepare small gifts for their female employees, usually roses or snacks. I got a hand lotion and a small air purifier once. This year our company prepared heart-shaped boxes of strawberries, but as I work from home I had to be contented with seeing the pictures!

And, as it happens with almost every holiday in China, today also became a shopping event. All of the online shopping websites started offering deals and discounts a few days ago. Physical shops also have discounts. In my first year working in Suzhou, some colleagues took me shopping in the afternoon of Women’s Day. The malls were full of women.

Women’s Day is officially called 妇女节 in Chinese, but 妇女 sounds like an old woman. Now everybody is calling this day 女神节 or Goddess Day. The word 女神 (goddess) became popular a few years ago to refer to women. I don’t really like it.

I found online some of the old communist propaganda posters promoting women’s work and I wanted to share them with you. I think the style is very interesting! Their objective was to show that women could do the same jobs as men and participate in the industrialisation of the country.

Women hold half of the sky!

“Proud to participate in the industrialisation of the country”.

“The women of China are a great human resource. (Mao Zedong)”.


How is Women’s Day celebrated in your country?