‘You will be taking the day off tomorrow, won’t you?”, Ibrahim asked me on Monday.
‘Why would I be taking the day off tomorrow?”, I asked him in surprise. “I’m having a day off today.”
The 8th of March always has been a day like other days to me. To be honest I wasn’t even aware of the existence of International Women’s Day until 8 March 2006 when I was presented a rose by a friend originating from the Balkans.
In Mali International Women’s Day is ‘a big thing’. Cloth sellers start promoting the 8 March fabric weeks in advance. Men who have the means buy 3 pieces for their wives and present it to them timely, so they’ll have a chance to (proudly) show up in the proper clothes on 8 March.
All around the country meetings are held for women. Often with some kind of educational or sensitizing value.
The women enjoy their special day.
The ladies in our lunch restaurant all had the day off on March 8th and two of them were served a meal by their husbands. They felt sorry for me that I had been working and cooking meals and were telling Ibrahim he’d better prepare me a meal next year on March 8th.
I’m amongst the lucky few in Mali, who has a partner, doing a fair share of daily tasks both at home and in the office. I’m pretty sure that if the ladies would have a choice between the 8th March advantages and having a husband, who contributes some of his time and energy to the household on a daily basis, they’d opt for the latter.
May International Women’s Day add to a better understanding between the sexes about contributing to the daily needs, sharing (financial means, emotions and what’s important to each individual) and supporting one another*.
I count my daily blessings!
* I’ve noticed that this is more likely to happen in relationships based on love.