It’s International Women’s Day this Friday (March 8th). I’m sure you’ve heard of it because it’s an important global celebration and has been observed annually for over a century, recognising the long fight for women’s rights.
You may know that many people mark the event with flowers, giving a gift to the inspirational and important women in their lives - but you might be surprised to learn that International Women’s Day is the biggest flower-giving event across the globe, even ahead of Valentine’s and Mother’s Day! This is because one of the enduring traditions of this worldwide event is the simple act of giving flowers to show support and appreciation - and to acknowledge women’s achievements and strength.
The first celebration is said to have taken place in 1911 across Europe, with demonstrations calling for suffrage and equality within the workplace and society in general. Flowers became part of the celebrations early on, however, they became truly ingrained in the festivities after World War II, when Italian feminists selected the Mimosa flower to symbolise strength, sensibility and sensitivity.
Today, flowers are given by husbands to wives, and children to their Mums, relatives and influential women, such as teachers. Women also give each other flowers, too. The flowers aren’t only a gift but a meaningful show of appreciation. Some countries celebrate with more gusto than we do in the UK; Italian women take a day off work to celebrate the Festa della Donna with others, while in Russia, the number of roses sold on International Women’s Day apparently equates to a normal month’s worth!
As we approach Friday, I feel proud to have a fantastic, diverse team here at Williamson’s My Florist. We have 56 female employees at present across the business, including women from Russia, Poland and Romania; so, around 70% of our workforce is women. Our finance manager, flower delivery manager and most senior florists are women. The senior management team includes myself as retail director, and my pioneering Mum, Myra Williamson, who is very much involved here day-to-day, and across all of our flower shops. I’m proud to say that she was the first - and only - Chairwoman of the Interflora British Unit.
Here’s to all of the women who work here, support and champion us and rely on our family business for flowers for their special life events!