March 8th, 2012, marks the 101st anniversary of International Women’s Day, a celebration of women that is acknowledged around the world and, in particular, by the United Nations. This year, the UN Theme for International Women’s Day is “Empower Rural Women: End Hunger and Poverty,” while internationalwomensday.com has proposed the theme “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures” which has been adopted by many organizations. In many countries around the world, International Women’s Day is marked by special events, though in the United States it doesn’t have a very high profile.
In years past, the inclusion of International Women’s Day in the Google Doodles lineup has meant a significant increase in their annual recognition of women (on that page you can check out the Excel workbook, current as of the end of 2011, to see how International Women’s Day could boost the counts). While it is a great thing that the Doodles acknowledge this day, clearly I think it is shameful that Doodles leave women out of the story for so much of the rest of the year. As of March 6th, here in the United States, Google Doodles have thus far published 5 Doodles honoring “creators and innovators” in 2012 (6 if one were to count Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day), and not a single one of them honors a woman.
This is International Women’s Day, though, and so since most of my readers are here in the U.S., I thought this would be an ideal time to highlight some of the women that Google Doodles have honored in other countries in 2012. Each of these women, as you will see, has made our planet a little brighter, a little more beautiful, and a little bit more of a wonderful place to live and learn.
- May Ziade, February 11th, 2012 (appeared on Google in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Oman, Egypt, Palestinian Territories, Lebanon, Qatar, Morocco, Jordan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, & Kuwait). Ziade was a prolific writer, producing works of poetry, writing essays, and contributing to journalism in Arabic newspapers and magazines, in addition to translations (as she was fluent in Arabic and French and was also able to work in English, Italian, German, Spanish, Greek, and Latin).
- Anna Pavlova, February 12th, 2012 (appeared on Google in Ukraine, Belarus, & Russia). Pavlova was a Russian ballerina and is acknowledged as one of the best ballet dancers ever to take to the stage. She also formed her own ballet company and became the first ballerina to tour around the globe. Her Doodle depicts her most famous role as the Dying Swan.
- Agniya Barto, February 17th, 2012 (appeared on Google in Russia). As a child, Barto studied both ballet and poetry, but grew up to become one of the most popular children’s authors in 20th century Soviet Russia. She is also known for her work hosting a radio program that reunited families that were separated during World War II, and was personally responsible for helping over 1,000 families through these efforts.
- Marcela Paz, February 29th, 2012 (appeared on Google in Chile). Paz was the nom de plume of Chilean writer Esther Huneeus Salas de Clara, who created the character Papelucho, beloved in Chile to this day.