In America, today's celebration is a strike. In Russia, it's a Valentine's-style party with flowers, chocolates, and romantic dinners. Wherever you are and however you celebrate and observe: Happy International Women's Day.
Rather than listing off the great attributes of women or making some pithy remark that could be written better by a million other persons, I want to share one image today, the one I saw upon waking up and looking out the window. My flat overlooks the university where I teach, and the flow of students and teachers in and out of the building is constant.
Every day of the week, at every hour that I've looked across the street, during every festival, event, and holiday someone has been there, heading into or out of the building, into or out of the dorms. Today, I watched for several minutes, in awe of the stillness; for the first time in my six months overlooking the campus, I saw no one. Complete stillness. No lights on, no one tugging at the locked door. Just quiet This is the one day that seems to command such respect that the ever-busy university finally stands at rest. In my home country, the Day Without Women demonstration seeks to slow institutions in order to highlight the value of to society. In Russia, society's institutions slow themselves for a few hours in honor of women. Both are important. Whether your day is spent celebrating or demonstrating, remembering or dreaming, I offer my deepest respect, support, and love to the women who make families, societies, cultures and countries thrive.