Program in German Blog

Posted on March 8th, 2022 by Thorsten Carstensen

Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day.  Marked over a century ago, the day is meant to draw attention to both the achievements and rights of women, particularly gendered violence and gender equality.

What does that mean in Germany?  Although Weltfrauentag (or Internationaler Frauentag) is acknowledged as a day dedicated to recognizing the contributions and rights of women, only in Berlin is it a “gesetzlicher Feiertag.”  In 2019, the state government deemed the 8th of March an official holiday, meaning government offices are closed, schools and universities do not hold classes, and many shops are closed, too.  This allows Berliners to take part in the many events and Demos across the city throughout the day.  For now, this gesetzlich holiday status only exists in the Bundeshauptstadt (and a city state)—maybe other Bundesländer soon will follow suit. (Although only nine days are listed as holidays for the entire country, many individual states have many more, with many of those days linked to Christian holidays, as many of the gesetzliche Feiertage are.)

Want to learn more? The United Nations’ theme for IWD 2022 is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” which brings into focus women’s contributions to climate change adaptation.  You can read more about Weltfrauentag here.