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Berlin makes International Women's Day a public holiday

This year’s blogpost for International Women’s Day comes from Germany, where Kimble has a strong and growing customer base and this month launched a German-language version of the website.

Like most people in the city of Berlin, member of Kimble’s PR team Michaela Krause, will be enjoying March 8 off as the city has declared this a public holiday.

Here she explains the background.

Why does Berlin have a bank holiday on International Women’s Day?

The story behind is that the federal states decide on their own bank holidays. Berlin had the smallest number of bank holidays in total, so people were rightfully complaining. The Berlin government then decided to grant us another, non-religious bank holiday – and picked International Women’s Day for that.

Is this the first year that Berlin has had a day off on International Women’s Day?

It is the first time and the decision was only made at the end of January this year, so companies had to react really fast to reschedule appointments! First there was a fear that planned weddings at registry offices would also need to get rescheduled, but most civil registrar will just work that day as a gift to the couples. You can read more about the background in English-language articles here and here.

What happens on the day? Are there public events to go to?

It is not widely celebrated, I am not aware of any big public events. People in the past did not do anything special. However, it is often used as a hook for demonstrations for female rights, equality etc.

In Russia men buy flowers for all the women in their lives – does anything like that happen in Berlin?

Celebrating that day actually has strong Russian roots in Germany as well – at least in the former GDR part of it (where I also come from). Here in the past my mom always got flowers from her male boss/colleagues – so it was especially about appreciating women in the workplace, but on a somewhat hypocritical level. (Getting flowers once a year doesn’t make up for inequality, of course.) Also social democrats / left-wing parties used the day in the past to gift red flowers to women on the street.

What will you be doing on the day? What about your colleagues?

We obviously have the day off and I am thinking about a spontaneous short trip somewhere nice – maybe to the Baltic Sea, Swiss Saxony or even outside Germany if I find a dog-sitter for my dog Zelda. Other team members are just happy to have the day off and relax, or they will visit family.

What do you think about the day off being on this day? What does it say about Berlin?

I think it’s fair that we finally get another bank holiday – we always had the smallest number of bank holidays compared to all other federal states of Germany. I also like that it is a non-religious one, it perfectly matches the multi-cultural city of Berlin, where another Christian bank holiday would not represent the majority of citizens.

How do other cities in Germany feel about it?

Our clients from Munich, Hamburg etc. are a bit surprised and maybe even jealous. However, they shouldn’t: Bavaria still has many more bank holidays and in the Rhine region they celebrate what they call “the 5th season” this week – German carnival.

How do you think Germany compares to other countries in terms of equal rights for women, equal pay and so on?

We still have a massive gender pay gap. In general, a lot of studies show that we are below the European average when it comes to gender equality.

Do you think there should be a men’s day?

Actually, the German versions of Father’s Day is already a bank holiday and a “mens’ day”. That day you see hordes of men roaming streets with handcarts full of alcohol. BBQs are also very important to them 🙂


To contact Kimble in the DACH region, go to https://www.kimbleapps.com/de/