The Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine recently conducted a survey in the state application "Diia" on whether March 8 should continue to be day off or revert to a standard working day in Ukraine.
Diia has conducted surveys among citizens 11 times regarding proposed state changes. However, as reported by the Ministry of Statistics, this poll has been the most popular in terms of participation, with 2.1 million Ukrainians casting their vote.
The Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov referred to an “unbelievable result – a record.”
The majority of Ukrainians responding to the poll (62 per cent, 1.3 million) voted in favor of keeping March 8 as a day off. A third (33 per cent) voted to make it a working day, while five percent were undecided.
The survey was implemented by the Ministry of Digital Transformation together with the Ministry of Culture and upon the initiative of parliament. The aim was to make a decision based on the preference of Ukrainians.
On March 5, the Verkhovna Rada announced that March 8 would remain a day off and a bill was registered for it to be renamed “International Women's Rights Day” in accordance with UN practice.
Retention of the holiday comes after the Verkhovna Rada proposed on Feb 13 to cancel the celebration of March 8, Labor Day and Victory Day. The poll of Ukrainians then followed.
People's deputies of Ukraine have proposed Feb. 25 to be made the Day of Ukrainian Women.
Similar surveys are conducted of Ukrainians almost every year. In 2017, the Institute of National Remembrance wanted to abandon March 8 as a public holiday.
That request was brought forward in an effort to move away from the Soviet narrative that still pervades many post-Soviet countries. That narrative was of women being celebrated in early spring in recognition of their beauty, as guardians of spirituality and for their place in the home rather than having an active role in society.
March 8 in Soviet states was made a holiday to effectively reinforce that line. This contrasts with the original historical basis of the holiday which began in the early part of the 20th century. That was when female workers in the U.S. began to speak up for their rights, leading to the 1910 International Women's Conference in Copenhagen where the date was adopted as the Day for the Struggle for Women's Rights. On March 8, 1911, millions of women then took to the streets to fight for suffrage, labor rights and against violence.
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