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Women in some countries will mark International Women's Day with protests


It's International Women's Day. It's an annual event frequently observed with protests in places such as South Korea, India and Kosovo.




UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Non-English language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Non-English language spoken).


UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Non-English language spoken).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: To believe that our society can only develop if we have inequality.


We're giving you sounds from around the world because while this holiday began in the United States, it gets more attention elsewhere.

KRISTEN GHODSEE: I'm in Bulgaria, where International Women's Day is actually a thing.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Kristen Ghodsee. She's a professor of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

GHODSEE: There are very specific reasons why it's not a thing in the U.S. I mean, part of those have to do with the fact that it has really radical socialist roots.

INSKEEP: Yeah. The American Socialist Party declared the first International Women's Day in 1909. The German feminist Clara Zetkin helped to popularize it across Europe. And Ghodsee says it holds special significance in Russia.

GHODSEE: March 8 is the day in our calendar, the Gregorian calendar, which was the time when Russian women during the First World War went out onto the streets, and they were protesting the czar. They were protesting bread shortages and fuel shortages. They were also hoping for better veterans pensions for men coming back from the war and for their families.

MARTÍNEZ: Those protests help usher in the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

GHODSEE: This holiday was always sort of associated with anti-capitalist, anti-establishment politics in which women are really a part of the revolution, really part of bringing social change to the world.

INSKEEP: Today some Americans do pick up on the tradition, though, in a distinctly American way.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. Amazon has a website dedicated to products you can buy on International Women's Day. And a couple of years ago, Nike made an ad marking the holiday.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: One day, we won't need this day at all because one day, this day will be our every day.

INSKEEP: (Laughter) Never mind the anti-capitalist part. As for how Ghodsee is marking this day, she is dancing.

GHODSEE: A group of us women are going to go to a club or to multiple clubs, and we are trying to figure out which ladies night International Women's Day party we want to go to.

INSKEEP: Dancing as a form of celebration as well as protest.

(SOUNDBITE OF TOKIMONSTA'S "LOVE THAT NEVER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.