Russian CSO (NGO) leaders on international Women’s Day

March 8: a personal holiday for many CSO (NGO) leaders. Female leaders of CSOs and the stars of the CSO- Profi project: what does International Women’s Day symbolise for them and why is it so important?


Aleksandra Boldyreva, Executive Secretary of the Donor Foundation

For me, ‘gendered’ holidays are not big, high-profile events, but rather personal occasions. I see March 8 primarily from the point of view of a daughter- for me it is, first and foremost, Mother’s Day. It’s also a spring celebration, when flowers are beginning to pop up in all the shops. I always try to give my mum some nice little gifts and some flowers. I love to get flowers as a gift too.

Lana Zhurkina, Director of the Centre House of Friends

In our country, March 8 has long been considered Women’s Day. And that’s probably not a bad thing. Whatever job we do, whatever heights we reach, we still remain women. I don’t really like ‘gendered’ holidays, but it does make me happy to see the smiling faces of women walking down the street, carrying bunches of flowers instead of laden down with shopping bags.

I love to reward my apprentices on Women’s Day: I have a special locker at work where I collect and store gifts for my favourite ladies. I know all of their preferences. And, the day before the holiday, every one of them will get something they love: perfume, jewellery, books.

Usually I ask not to receive gifts on March 8, but I really do love getting Mimosa, Tulips, or Hyacinths, because, although I am strong, I am a woman after all.

Elena Malitskaya, President of the Siberian Centre for the Support of Public Initiatives

In our sector, women are in the majority and they are all leaders. You could even say that this sector has a woman’s face. But the holiday originally arose in response to the struggle for women’s rights and their opportunities to work. Therefore, I believe that there is a direct link between the non- profit sector and this holiday. But, as women, working in the non-profit sector, let us remember that we are women, first and foremost, and we can be weak and we are allowed to be loved. Let us receive flowers, smile and be showered with well wishes on this day for this very reason.

Aleksandra Babkina, Director of Social Projects for Group

Historically, March 8 is a ‘day for mothers’ in my eyes. But nowadays it is also a reason to talk about the rights of women to realise their talents and potential in every area. A woman really can do almost anything, but sometimes even the strongest need help and support- and that’s the reason for our project: Good What to give her? We invite everyone to get involved.

Elena Alshanskaya, President of the Volunteers to Help Orphans Foundation

For me, this holiday has an original significance that has unfortunately be overshadowed and forgotten along the way: it is a day for women to talk about their rights, and to review those problems that still exist. In many places throughout the world March 8 is not a public holiday, but it is still celebrated by activists and social movements who use it as an opportunity to talk about discrimination and equality.

Still, such days are an opportunity to draw the attention of the media to a particular topic. Therefore, it is important to use this day as a reason to remind people that we still have big problems that need to be solved.


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