What are the origins and purpose of International Women’s Day (IWD) as a gender equality platform and what is the symbolic significance of IWD in and outside the United States (U.S.)? Of particular interest is IWD as comparatively observed in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia where the day, born in Sweden and Germany under socialist ideals, gained contextual ground. Using the 2011 IWD centenary as a research lens, analyzed within feminist theoretical frameworks and via Soviet historians, this paper provides a historic synopsis of IWD and of women in Russia, then considers the neoliberal and materialist backlash of IWD in the U.S and Russia. In comparative analysis, we argue that IWD eludes agency to Mohanty’s (2003) vision of global feminism, and instead serves as lip-service to what Eisenstein (2007) assesses as hegemonic ways of seeing and narrating feminist activism and gains.

Author Biography

Barbara LeSavoy, Director, Women and Gender Studies Program, The College at Brockport, State University of New York (SUNY)

Garrett Jordan, Graduate Research Assistant, Department of History, The College at Brockport, State University of New York (SUNY)