International Woman’s Day Stories

 Part One

I attended my first IWD event yesterday with members of the Older Women’s Network at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast. It was a great event with the ladies from many Queensland branches.

Of course, I have been attending International Women’s Day events for many years but two stand out.  Both were in China.

Visiting a Match Factory?

In 2008, I set off to take on my first contract teaching at a college south of Shanghai.  I and two other Aussie teachers arrived in February, and I was delighted to receive an invitation to an International Women’s Day event.  Our invitation was mainly in Chinese, and the information from the college staff was that it was to be held in a “match factory”.  All of the women teaching staff were invited and we met in what was called SPT Street in the college and boarded a bus.

Our first stop was a ceremonial hall with gifts from the many “sister cities” worldwide that had connected with the city of Shaoxing.  After a short tour of this venue, we returned to the buses for the trip to the factory. There were Chinese and foreign (lowai) women in attendance.

It didn’t take long to learn that it was not a “match” factory, but a “mattress factory” where high-quality mattresses for upmarket hotels around the world were manufactured.  We were taken on a tour through display hotel rooms, to see the products they made, before being taken to a huge hall for the official ceremony.

We were not allowed to take a camera into the venue – for photos of the rooms and mattresses were forbidden.

There were presentations in English and Chinese -from talks, to dances and Chinese Opera too.  At the last performance, a lovely young lady in a beautiful traditional costume made her way around the stage doing a dance with twirly hand movements. Foreigners were asked to join her.  No one did, that is almost no one.  I had hoped one of the younger ladies would have joined the dancer, but when no one else did, I chose to.

My efforts to follow her movements were a total failure, so as the music pace increased, I did my own version.  I might add that the dancer was in wonderful costume, and I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt, a jacket and sneakers – not the best attire for this!

As I embarrassingly departed the “stage” I heard the MC describe me as “the blonde Aussie disco dancer.”  We all had a laugh, and strangely I was to bump into the MC on many occasions over the next year and he always referred to me as “the blonde Aussie disco dancer.

Afterwards, we were treated to a delightful banquet, and we all received a gift of a silk scarf, which I still have.

Fortunately, there are no photos of me there – though I was to learn later, that there was a TV report for IWD, with a short view of me dancing and some of my students saw it and spoke to me about it later!!!

(Over the next few days I will post two more stories about International Women’s Day information).

This week I will be attending four events to celebrate IWD, so more stories to come.

Dear Reader, if you wish to comment on an International Women’s Day event that you can report on, feel free to do so in the contact form below.

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About Di Hill

My business card says "Writer, Traveller, Camera Addict, Bamboo Fan, Workshop Presenter." This website will focus on my writing - and the workshops I present. Workshops on Blogging, Marketing for Writers, and Life Story Writing.
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