Markus Stocker bio photo

Markus Stocker

Between information technology and environmental science with a flair for economics, the clarinet, and the world of soups and salads.

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Largely due to discussions on women’s rights, equality, misogyny with a woman while I was in the USA during 2008 and the resulting misery I occasionally felt for being a man following those discussions, today I’m more than ever sensitive to a particular day of March, namely the 8th of March, the day that marks – should you be unaware of it – the International Women’s Day.

It was on Monday, but I expressed my first wish for a happy women’s day on Saturday. I happened to stand in a kitchen with an African woman. She was meticulously cleaning her dishes and everything she possibly got dirty as I had never witnessed before in this particular instance of kitchen. When she left, I said goodbye & happy women’s day on Monday. She had no idea a women’s day exists.

It came to me that I could wish every woman I know and I would meet on Monday, March 8th, a happy women’s day. Beside a well-meant wish, I must admit, I plotted a little experiment. How do women react to someone wishing them a happy women’s day? My next wish went to my mother on Sunday who replied she wouldn’t have recalled the day without me mentioning it. My first wish on Monday was to a woman from Spain who knew the day was sometime that week. And the day passed by me wishing a few times happy women’s day. Two reactions are memorable. A dutch woman replied “thanks, you are the first” – early afternoon, I wonder if I was the last as well. A Russian woman knew about the day and was sad in the evening as she didn’t get any flowers. Not seriously, I think.

For sure, I didn’t have a chance to perform a stratified statistical study but the experiment was interesting nonetheless. Aside from plain ignorance, I would summarize that the majority obviously didn’t seem to care about women’s day as much as I was expecting. On a side note. Did you know there is an International Men’s Day? Not followed by as many countries as women’s day, switching from February 23 in its early history to November 19 later, almost a century younger than women’s day, I can’t help but feel a little amused by such days which, at least for some, seem to have no space in personal calendars. But that’s just me (& now go and call me a jerk …)

But what about Pi-day and Pi-time? To celebrate the mathematical constant with the Greek letter π as its symbol and value 3.14 plus, computed, almost 2.7 trillion digits (as of January 2010) today, March 14 (3-14) some, perhaps the geeky more than the gender centric – not meaning to discriminate who is both geeky and gender centric – are likely to wear a Pi-shirt. Of course, one can extend the idea and introduce Pi-time on Pi-day, i.e. 3:14 on March 14; Dude, what time is? Dude, it’s pi time. And because in life the next link is typically only a small step away, today marks Albert Einstein’s 131 birthday.