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Happy International Women’s Day!

Posted: March 8, 2017

International Women’s Day may not be a major holiday in the United States, but for many residents who make up JCHE’s vibrant multicultural communities, International Women's Day is a special day commemorating the countless ways women make the world a better place.

And so in order to better understand why millions of people around the world celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, we sat down for a chat with one of our Russian residents, Zoya Melnikova.

“It’s a day when women get pampered by all the men in their lives—husbands, sons, coworkers—everyone!” explains Zoya, who has lived in Kurlat (formerly Genesis) House at our Brighton campus since immigrating to the U.S. from Russia in 1993. 

“We want to look our best on March 8, and everyone tries to be cheerful throughout the day. Negativity and a bad attitude are discouraged; only kind words and kind gestures are welcome.”

“In Russia, we celebrated International Women’s Day in quite a grandiose fashion,” recalls Zoya. “Husbands and sons gave us gifts, and the companies where we worked even put on all kinds of shows for us.” Zoya fondly remembers one year when her male coworkers did a hilarious dance routine dressed in swan costumes. 

And while International Women’s Day is not widely celebrated in the U.S., Zoya tells us that she and her JCHE neighbors have kept the holiday’s traditions alive at JCHE. They exchange gifts, dress festively, and most importantly, they focus on being joyful and kind throughout the day. 

“Kind words lift your spirits and improve your health,” Zoya reminds us.

She’s looking forward to her son visiting her today and bringing her flowers, but jokes that it’s harder to get her Americanized grandchildren to appreciate the holiday’s significance.

“The grandkids call after their parents remind them. They’ll say, ‘grandma, I’m calling to congratulate you on this holiday you celebrate,” she laughs.

“There’s no Mother’s Day in Russia, so International Women’s Day is the only holiday exclusively for women.”

Thank you Zoya for sharing with us what International Women’s Day means to you, to your friends and neighbors, and to millions of women around the world who celebrate this special day. And thank you for keeping the holiday’s traditions alive at JCHE!

We wish all women a wonderful International Women’s Day!

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