08 March, 2023

International Women's Day in Berlin

The right to work or vote seem nowadays as self-evident, however women in Germany and all over the world have been fighting for gender equality for centuries and we still have a long way to go. So in honour of International Women’s Day (IWD) or in German “Frauentag”, let us raise awareness and celebrate women all around the globe together.

Graffiti Women

Importance of IWD

International Women’s Day has been eminent roughly since over a hundred years. It is a benchmarking date with the purpose to acknowledge women’s valuable contributions and accomplishments to society, economy, culture and politics as well as to accelerate gender equality.

The United Nations declared it an international day in 1977, since then it is celebrated every year on the 8th of March promoting different themes. This year’s theme is #DigitalALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, whith the purpose to recognise and explore the digital gender gap.

The progress and growth of IWD promoting gender equality between men and women is evident for instance in the incorporation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that aims to empower women.

Even though Germany is a leader in its effort to combat gender inequality between men and women there are still many issues that need to be addressed and overcome, such as the Gender-Pay-Gap (yes, it is still present even in countries like Germany). Nevertheless, women in leadership roles are scarce therefore the more impressive and affecting it is that Germany, a world known and strong country, has had a female head for so many years.

The 8th of March represents an important date in the history of feminism and equality and is a particularly significant narrative in Germany, since it was an initiative pioneered by German activist Clara Zetkin.

International Women's Day protest

A woman who shaped female history

Clara Zetkin - German feminist and communist – stood for improved wages, reduced working hours and better labour and maternity policies. On top of that, she fought for the free and fundamental right for women to vote. In 1910 she attended a meeting in Denmark in which she proposed the concept of a day dedicated to equality and women. The following year the first international women’s day was hosted.

Public holiday in Berlin

Berlin is the first out of the 16 states in Germany to acknowledge "Frauentag" as a public holiday since 2019. The increased awareness of still to date issues of inequality, has helped IWD to spread the message and since of this year another state in Germany also declared the 8th of March a public holiday.

This sadly also implies that shops are closed however it does not mean that you cannot enjoy the city and its charms or even support women all round the world by participating in demonstrations or events celebrating this intrinsically important holiday.

What to do – Celebrate Femininity

For one month, as part of the Women's March, Berlin's districts host numerous events on the topics of gender equality, gender pay gap and women's rights. Every March, both International Women's Day and Equal Care Day are celebrated.

The 8th of March specifically is a day full of demonstrations. The biggest and most famous one is the Women’s Day March by the “Bündnis für sexuelle Selbstbestimmung” which starts at 13.00 at Invalidenpark. You will march amongst many allies, women, men and children all the way to Bebelplatz where the march ends at 15.00.

Equal rights is not like pie

Apart from demos, cultural events will also take place:

"Jenseits von Nelken und Pralinen" (Beyond Carnations and Chocolates) is a one-day festival that attracts many visitors to celebrate women’s day together with many performing international and national female rap and hip hop artists at "Gretchen" in Berlin-Kreuzberg.

Even though it is a public holiday in Berlin the restaurant Fisch-Borke at Müggelsee opens its doors in tribute of IWD, inviting women to a glass of Frizzante. It starts at noon and is located at Fürstenwalder Damm, Treptow. Enjoy a yummy “Müritzer” catfish fillet with a nice drink to celebrate women’s day.

Delight in a classical concert where works from female composers such as Lili Boulanger and Ethel Smyth will be performed. The “Strong voices concert” at the concert hall at the UdK pinpoints attention to more female representation in the field of classical music, which is still mainly dominated by men. Tickets can vary from 18-36€ and it takes place at 6pm.

Relish in Berlin’s greenery with a barbecue buffet organised by Haus Natur und Umwelt in FEZ, which is free of charge for women. It takes place from 10am-4pm at FEZ, Straße zum FEZ 2, Treptow.

On top of this, you can enjoy a special guided cultural history tour, also free of charge, that will take you through Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, where the lifes of 25 famous women will be discussed. The tour goes from 2-4pm and starts at the location Chausseestraße 126, Mitte.

Who said a visit to Germany's capital could not include politically important activities that resonate all around the world? As a collective we can make the necessary change happen and work together towards an equal and bias-free world, where inclusivity is the norm and not a right that has to be fought for.

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