Jurgita Noreikiene

Did you get flowers for International Women’s Day? asked Jurgita Noreikiene. In Lithuania, just as in other countries in the former Soviet sphere, it’s customary for men to give women flowers on March 8. “Just for being a woman.” For being so “feminine, charming, sweet, and caring” that men must, as a matter of course, treat us like princesses. “Stop, stop, stop!” This is not what the day is supposed to be about. It started back in the 19th century as a women’s labor movement, a “day of solidarity” when women protested against their crappy salaries and rotten working conditions. Now we are free “not only to work and earn money, but to run our own businesses.” We have paid maternity leave and child care. We should be spending this day “thinking about what we have won and what is yet to be achieved.” For example, we have equality before the law, but we’re still struggling against sexist stereotypes. That’s why when our male co-workers shower our desks with flowers once a year, it’s not exactly appropriate. “Of course they mean well. But this gesture disempowers their female colleagues”—no matter how “flattered” we may be.