The day gets more mileage in Europe than it does in North America where Mother’s Day is the premier holiday for women. But owing to the fact that it’s an ode to moms only, it doesn’t fully embrace women’s many other roles in life and society.
In Italy, festa della donna is synonymous with yellow mimosa flowers that women give to one another in show of solidarity. And that support is a welcome sight in a country where young women are increasingly contemplating a career as a showgirl for their future and the country’s on and off again leader makes headlines for allegedly having sex with underage gals.
Recent statistics from the Bologna-based Casa delle Donne advocacy group reveals that in 2012, 124 women in Italy were killed by their partners, making it one of the top-ranking femicide countries in the West.
But North America doesn’t have a whole lot to pat itself on the back for either. Considering that its network TV programs are rife with reality shows featuring women whose only claim to fame is synchronizing their Botox appointments and marrying rich and powerful men, it’s not quite time to congratulate one another. And then there was the recent Oscars show introduction devoted time and energy to a song and dance about women’s boobs (which was not so much offensive as unfunny).
South Africa has the ill fortune of being the country with the worst gender violence in the world (three women are killed each day at the hands of men) according to the South African Institute for Race Relations, which also reveals that in the same country a woman is raped every four minutes.
So while we might have come a long way, we’ve gone a heck of a way to go.