Celebrating International Women’s Day

A blue bucket filled with yellow mimosa flowers sits at a fresh market in Croatia. The flower is associated with International Women's Day celebrations.

Today is International Women’s Day, a commemorative day that’s celebrated in different ways throughout the world. In some countries, the focus is on women’s accomplishments, whereas in others, it is a day to merely show gratitude towards women.

Here in Croatia, International Women’s Day is not a public holiday (as it is in more than 20 countries) but I hear that men often give flowers to their wives, mothers, daughters, and female colleagues.

In Italy and Russia, for example, it’s customary for men to surprise the special women in their lives with yellow mimosa flowers.

In our current home away from home in Croatia’s Dalmatia region, I’ve seen overflowing buckets of mimosa flowers at the Trogir market. Given Dalmatia’s cultural and historic ties with Italy, I’m curious if they’ll follow the mimosa custom?

I’m commemorating International Women’s Day by sharing images of women I’ve captured around the world. From the Bulgarian lady selling flowers to celebrate Cyrillic Alphabet Day in Sofia, Bulgaria, to the nón lá hat-clad woman in riverside Hoi An, Vietnam, I’ve crossed paths with some exceptional ladies.

With movements such as Half the Sky’s, I hope women worldwide will continue to be afforded more rights, so that we can all reach our dreams. I encourage you to check out the great work that they’re doing, and I’d be curious to learn which organizations you respect.

*Not to forget the special men in our lives, I note that there is an International Men’s Day on 19 November. :)

Two women dressed in feria dresses outside of Sevilla, Spain.
woman in India
A waitress in a fest tent at Oktoberfest-carries 10 liters of beer mugs in Munich, Germany.


Many individuals and organizations work tirelessly to promote the rights of women worldwide. Which organizations do you think are the most noteworthy? What women’s issues do you feel are the most important? Or, quite simply, how will you recognize the special women in your life today?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All rights reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

56 thoughts on “Celebrating International Women’s Day

  1. Beautiful photographs for a worthy day. Thank you for bringing attention to all women of the world.


  2. Beautiful series, Tricia. This is a remarkable way of honoring women from all walks of life.
    Happy International Women’s day to us!

      1. I rarely walk around with a camera at home, and have very few if any photos from past travels around India! Have been trying to remedy that at the risk of being considered crazy and pretentious :-D

  3. This is a fabulous collection of pictures. I love the diversity of cultures, ages, and experiences shown here. You really know how to recognize International Womens’ Day, that’s for sure!

    1. Juliann, thanks so much! I had a fun time reminiscing upon the trips during which I snapped those. Do you have any business or pleasure trips lined up? Sounds like you’re on the road a lot!

    1. Andrew, I also hadn’t heard about IWD until the last year or so. It was interesting to learn that IWD started off here in Croatia as a Socialist political event. Our Croatian hosts were very curious to learn if it was something that we widely celebrated at home in the US or Germany.

      Thanks for sharing your IWD post from Riga – I enjoyed the Gorbachev tidbit of information.

  4. I’m blown out by the ravishing combinations of colours and patterns that women in less developed countries wear, compared with we who live in so called developed countries… these women seem to have an innate sense of artistry, colour, style and design….love them and their creativity….

    1. Valerie, I felt the same way when I was in India. The ones that I found particularly striking were the ladies working in the fields of Rajastahan, India, donning such vibrant outfits. I tried balancing that metal bowl on my head, and had such a difficult time doing so while it was empty! They carried much weight with grace and in clothes that I would think would be tricky to maneuver in.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this resonated with you, Lynne, and thank you for sharing the issues that you think are of utmost importance to women ’round the world.

      Have you seen the documentary, Half the Sky? When we were visiting my husband’s parents this past autumn, we watched it during its first airing on PBS. I read the book too, which was sobering, but also extremely inspiring. Highly recommend both! Knowing you and Ron, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d already seen/read them.

    1. Though I haven’t personally been working with Kiva (yet!), we mentioned it to my father-in-law and he’s since been eagerly following the progress of his recipients. Such a fantastic organization!

      May I ask – what sort of projects/businesses are your recipients doing with the loans? My husband’s father was working with a gardener in the Ukraine, helping him to get more materials to expand his greenhouse’s growing space.

      1. I guess I should specify that I mostly choose women (and added another for IWD). I’ve already had two repaid -which I then turn around to loan elsewhere. One of the first women I loaned to needed to insulate her home in Mongolia (it was one of the badly constructed Soviet monster apartments.) I think she was the first to repay, ahead of schedule, I might add.

        Others have been to buy new products for their stores, or a cow, or gardening materials. At the moment, I have 11 outstanding loans. All are paying back on time. Most are ahead of schedule. I have a link to Kiva at the bottom of my page/post at my blog.

      2. Bravo to you for spreading the word about this great organization! Nice inspiration for the day, Gunta. :)

        My father-in-law has had the same experience in that many of his loans have already been repaid (and ahead of schedule). As with you, that encouraged him to reinvest with others.

        Wouldn’t it be fun to meet these entrepreneurs someday?

      3. It would certainly be fun, but I think my international travel days are over. You could say I do it vicariously through my Kiva loans. :)

      4. Does Kiva send you a photograph of the loan recipients and their projects? That would definitely enhance the armchair travel experience. :)

        I think someday we’ll also run out of the urge to globetrot. Though it’s really fun to explore, it can be costly and stressful. I’m enjoying the challenges and thrills for the moment, though!

      5. Yes, they post a picture of the people when you’re choosing who to loan to (though some Muslim women have faces obscured.) They also give you a short narrative of family circumstances and what the load is for. You can likely just take a look if you go to their site.

      6. You’re right – I do recall seeing the profiles now, as my husband’s father was reading about the potential loan recipients before he decided upon one.

        Such a great cause, Gunta!

  5. Great photos, I’m glad that we are trying to establish equality amongst the sexes…we’re not there yet but we’re heading in the right direction!

    1. You eluded to an important point, Bashar – it’s easy to get frustrated with how conditions are for some women around the world, but we must also celebrate achievements and gains that have been made. I know I mention it all the time, but the book/documentary, Half the Sky does a fantastic job of that! Highly recommended viewing or reading.

  6. Great post, couldn’t reply yesterday as I was partying with as many woman as I could, thought it only fair.

    1. Thanks, Alessandro.

      I’m curious (since you’re from Italy) – was my research correct that Italians often give the yellow mimosa flowers to the special ladies in their lives on International Women’s Day?

  7. These are absolutely beautiful photographs!! Its great to meet people with a passion for travel like you!! Thanks for following my journey, I will definitely also be following yours as I share your passion for travel!

  8. I love the message of this post, and the diversity that you were able to capture. So many people misrepresent or misunderstand what the women’s movement is about. It isn’t about hierarchical, vertical standings between men and women. It is about equality, and horizontal standings between the sexes. No one sex is better than the other, and in celebrating one’s sex you don’t necessarily undermine that of another. I like that you gave the men a shout out a the end. If women are truly going to have equal rights, both women and men need to be comfortable and appreciated for who they are.

    1. Bernice, so glad that you enjoyed this post, and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful feedback. Indeed, I’ve been lucky to have been able to have travelled to so many diverse spots, capture these images, and mingle with some special men and women. You’re absolutely right about the importance of having horizontal standings! On the subject of equality for women, I’m guessing that you’ve read Half the Sky? That book was very eye-opening for me.

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