Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How Not To Celebrate #InternationalWomensDay

Women strike a pose during an International Women's Day march last year in Rio de Janeiro.
Mario Tama
Getty Images
Women strike a pose during an International Women's Day march last year in Rio de Janeiro.

How can you tell it's International Women's Day? There's something in the air. Actually, it's an Air India flight that's returning from San Francisco to New Delhi after setting the record over the weekend for the longest distance trip ever recorded with an all-female crew — covering some 7,600 miles in 18 hours.

People around the world are finding imaginative ways to highlight this year's theme, #PledgeForParity. It's a nod to the fact that the World Economic Forum predicts we're still about a century away from closing the gender gap. As the ONE Campaign's just-released Poverty is Sexist Report proclaims, "Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men."

But some of the ways folks have decided to mark International Women's Day have decidedly missed the mark.

  • The new FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich is welcoming women for free today! That's a generous gesture, and we have nothing against gratis museum visits. (In fact, if you happen to be in Italy, free museum admissions are one of the loveliest traditions for "Festa della Donna.") What makes the sports museum deal such a loser is the super patronizing announcement on its website. Our favorite part: "[T]he museum has many features that appeal to women who would not call themselves football fans, such as the highly popular interactive dance and music games. The 'Encounters' section also fascinates men and women alike." Perhaps whoever wrote this should work on encountering more women.
  • Mumbai's Old Wild West restaurant seems like a fine place to enjoy some Tex-Mex cuisine. The promotions staff, however, needs to stop trying to spice things up. For International Women's Day, they're celebrating with "High on Heels" — women are encouraged to wear their spikiest, tallest shoes to get discounted drinks. (For every inch of height, it's 5 percent off.) There are ways to do a classy women's day bar promotion. This isn't it. Instead, we suggest heading to Amsterdam's Delirium Cafe for a pub quiz on women's rights. Proceeds go to victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • In Russia and several other nations, International Women's Day has morphed into a Valentine's Day-Mother's Day combo. So it's traditional to give gals cards, flowers and chocolates, which is sweet. What isn't? Having cops pull over women at random. As the Telegraph reports, police in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia's fifth most populous city, have been doing this over the past week in order to surprise the drivers with roses. Really, you shouldn't have. The International Association of Women Police has a better idea — it's co-hosting a conference on March 16 in New York with the International Association of Women Police on "ensuring corrupt-free, accountable public service" — with the hashtag #STOPcorruption.
  • If you've seen any examples of good or not-so-good ways to celebrate International Women's Day, let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @NPRGoatsandSoda

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

    Vicky Hallett