International Woman's Day - On Bicycle

[image via Miami University Russian Studies Department]

In honor of March 8th, International Woman's Day, I give you "Collective Farm Woman on Bicycle" by my favourite Soviet painter, Alexander Deineka.

["Woman Riding a Bicycle with Grasses" by Jerry Cooke ]

... and a real Soviet "commuter" farm woman from 1960. Too bad this holiday is neglected in the USA. In Vienna I got flowers!


  1. I remember celebrating this day in Lithuania as well :)

    That's a great photo :)

  2. Wow, you got flowers. I didn't. Completely forgot it anyhow, until you mentioned it. Nevertheless an important day!

  3. i remember this day as well, from when i lived in immediately post-velvet revolution czechoslovakia. courtesy of the government, all women working for the state received the identical, standard issue, box of chocolates and a single rose. i think the note that came with it was boiler plate fare as well. how personal!

    at any rate, happy international women's day!

  4. Thanks Gentlemen : ) International Women's Day shall prevail!

    Anna - the flowers were from work. We even had Frauentag activities!

  5. Wow, I didn't know it was an international thing! I thought it only took place in Asian countries. One of the kawaii stationery sites I love has a big "Happy Women's Day" banner on it.

  6. I love that beautiful clear red. So much of the Soviet art I've seen is almost inhumanly heroic - it's nice to see the Soviet Woman having a little fun on her bike in a bright red dress!

  7. Wow.... and I thought IWD was an American celebration we here in Australia had picked up on in the same Hallmark tradition as Halloween or Valentine's Day. Over here it's not so much celebrated with flowers and chocolates, but there are usually plenty of events on predominantly for businesswomen - breakfasts, luncheons, networking etc. Happy International Women's Day everyone!
    And I really like the Collective Farm Woman on Bicycle. You can feel the summer heat.

  8. You'll note that Soviet woman in the top photo:

    * Rides a drop bar, diamond frame bike, though I'm not sure how her skirt works with that bike.
    * Rides a bike with no brakes at all - a fixie
    * Rides assertively in the road
    * Rides a RED bike
    * Wears Costco "Court Classic" shoes (well, that LAST observation might involve some projection)

    So, what does all this mean? Regardless, both pictures are inspirational in totally different ways.

  9. Carinthia - the idea was initially American, but it never caught on. Then the Bolsheviks tied it into their revolutionary activities, as gender equality was one of their causes. Shortly after the USSR was formed, they made it an official holiday. Though in the USSR it came to be celebrated more like Valentine's Day than like a political holiday.

    Steve - the skirt could work if the hem is not too wide and the material is not fluttery. It looks like it's wide enough to pedal comfortably and narrow enough not to go into the spokes.

    Given that she is riding a fixed gear, I can only imagine her trip down the hill from whence she came. Seeing these roads makes me understand that riding "brakeless" fixies and roadsters with rod brake in those times was not a problem, as at no point were you required to brake suddenly.

  10. Great pictures. I never heard of International Women's Day until I started studying Russian. I kinda wish we celebrated it in the US, but that would give corporations another opportunity to sell us stuff.

  11. March 8th was also my 24th wedding anniversary. Ironically, she rarely rides a bike.

  12. Jefe - congratulations! (And maybe buy her a Pashley or Retrovelo?)

    Dottie - Ah the bleak anti-corporate outlook! Well, it can be a "handmade gifts only" holiday.


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