Today it's Girls' Day in Japan, reports Lisa Takeuchi Cullen for Time. It's some kind of ancient festival in which a family celebrates a daughter's future happiness with ceremonial dolls. Cullen has daughters, and, she says, "I'm going to tell them it's the day of the year when everyone gets to remember how special it is to be a girl." In addition, Saturday, March 8, is International Womens Day. Never heard of it? I hadn't either. The date corresponds to the day, 100 years ago, that 15,000 female garment workers took to the streets of Manhattan demanding equal pay, childcare centers and the right to vote. (In Russia, it's similar but different, and guys buy presents for gals.) The protesting ladies paved the way so that we live in a world where a woman is running for president of the U.S. So really, this is Woman's Week! How are you going to celebrate? Here's an idea:
You could maybe buy some music. Thanks to Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis and Kate Nash, female artists are on the rise in the UK. And Entertainment Weekly has compiled a list of female singer-songwriters, including that chick who sings "I'm a new soul/I came to this strange world..." on the Mac Air commercial.
Or you could just educate yourself: The Independent claims that maternal ill-health is one of the globe's biggest crises. Women around the world still die during pregnancy or childbirth; one million pregnant women die every year from largely avoidable causes. We may have come a long way since 1908, but Martha Nussbaum, the author of Sex and Social Justice, warns the paper: "In most nations of the world, women face unequal education and employment opportunities, and have unequal political power. Whether another century of striving for equality will finally hand victory to women remains to be seen."
What Girls Day Means To Me And My Girls [Time]
Treasure Hunt: Women's Day Presents [Moscow Times]
The rise of British Girl Power [News.com.au]
Female Singer-Songwriters: The New Wave [Entertainment Weekly]
100 Years Of Struggling To Win Justice For Women [Independent]