Discount shopping replaces awareness on Women's Day

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 March, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 March, 1999, 12:00am

INTERNATIONAL Women's Day has become the latest victim of commercialisation.

It was bound to happen, however, as virtually nothing escapes the tools of marketing on the mainland.

Shopping centres see the annual event, which falls tomorrow, as an opportunity to lure women shoppers with big discounts - not as a time to increase awareness of women's issues.

If it were not for the shopping centres and primary and secondary schools, where ceremonies are held and gifts are presented to female teachers, International Women's Day would pass as any other day for most Chinese women.

In the past, when most people worked for state enterprises, women would get either a whole day off or a half day on March 8. But that is no longer the case.

If a woman is lucky, she may receive a gift from her employer.

'Other than the company party, I don't think I will do anything special for International Women's Day. I have to work on Monday. I may go shopping or go swimming,' said a female employee of the Bank of China.

The bank handed out small gifts at a party on Thursday.

The All-China Women's Federation planned to celebrate the occasion with two ceremonies, one yesterday and a larger one tomorrow to mark the 50th anniversary of the federation and the 89th anniversary of the holiday.

The participants are mainly those already involved in women's issues.

The federation has no plans for any public festivities marking the holiday celebrated in China since March 8, 1924.