Say what you want, but there’s no holiday out there that is as great as 8 March.

See for yourself. It has started in the early 20th century as a day to celebrate the movement for equal rights for the proletarian women. “Proletarian” is a key word here: this exact date was proposed by Clara Zetkin, who was a notable communist of her time, at a congress of the Second International, an umbrella organization for communist and socialist parties worldwide. A cynical person may of course say that communists wanted to use women as a tool for their cause. But to my view this is irrelevant — a woman’s life at that time was genuinely difficult, full of back-breaking home labor combined with giving birth to and raising significantly higher number of children compared to now. So this struggle wasn’t ungrounded.

After the victory of the communist idea in Soviet Union, the holiday became widespread in there and in the countries within its area of influence. The original idea of this day celebrating the struggle for equal rights got blurred over the years, and for several decades this day was a feminist nightmare in places where it was celebrated and completely ignored everywhere else. Why nightmare? Here: in modern Russia it normally involves women dressing up for the workplace, men giving them large amounts of flowers and sometimes small gifts, while exchanging silly but charming greetings like “Stay as beautiful as you are now!” This sounds as if it’s taken out of the feminist textbook.

But nowadays things seems to be changing. Countries like UK or US, where nobody previously ever wanted to even hear anything about the Women’s Day, have suddenly rediscovered it. The most common agenda associated with this day here is women empowerment: activists claim that a woman can be a winning Olympic athlete, or a CEO. This surprises me: how silly, they seem to actually have had doubts about that!

I cannot really attribute the great longevity of this holiday and its uncanny ability to bend with the zeitgeist to anything except to how special women actually are. This world surely would have been a much duller place without them.

Happy 8 March!