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Political climate affects Women’s Day floral sales

More than 100 nations recognize International Women’s Day every March 8 and 35 have declared it a national holiday, but this year women around the world held the first mass International Women’s Strike under the banner “A Day Without Women.” The strike was coordinated by the organizers of the Jan. 21 Women’s March that attracted up to 2 million people to protest violence against women, oppression, inequality and misogyny.

A Day Without Women supporters went on strike across the globe, staged demonstrations, closed schools, took time off work, descended on governments, occupied farms and wore red in solidarity. Unfortunately, the CalFlowers and Asocolflores national campaign called Love, Honor, Respect in celebration of Women’s Day appears to have been overshadowed by A Day Without Women.

WOMENS-DAYOn International Women’s Day March 8, protests were held across the globe under the banner ‘A Day Without Women.’“Personally, it was frustrating,” Amy Carrieri, sales representative at Sun Valley Group in Arcata, CA, told The Produce News. “It was unfortunate because I think it really hurt the day of sales for some of the mass markets, to be honest.”

Mari Sjolberg, consumer bunch and bouquet buyer at Bachman’s in Minneapolis, told The Produce News, “This year, because of the political climate, we didn’t plan any promotions or Women’s Day specials for our stores. But in the Highland Park area of St. Paul, MN, and in Plymouth, MN, where there is a large eastern European population, the demand was high and we had to restock several times — especially rose bouquets.”

Christine Boldt, executive vice president at the Association of Floral Importers of Florida in Miami, told The Produce News that the association didn’t do flower handouts at the airport or as much outreach this year.

“If you remember, on Women’s Day there [were] a lot of political things about A Day Without Women in the business and there were protests, so there were some negative things that came out of it,” said Boldt. “The positive was it was talked about on the news, even with some negative political stuff attached to it, it got recognition that March 8 was International Women’s Day. We got more attention, it just happened that this year some people were happy that we didn’t have as big an outreach because we didn’t want to be attached to a negative political issue.”

Liane Mast, director of floral at Stater Bros. Markets in San Bernardino, CA, told The Produce News, “I was really disappointed when I heard about the protests. We still ran a Women’s Day ad program for tulips, but it was frustrating because we probably didn’t do as well as we could have.”

And Rita Peters, assistant vice president of floral operations at Hy-Vee in West Des Moines, IA, echoed that sentiment when she told The Produce News, “Unfortunately, I do believe the political climate didn’t do us any favors for this event this year.”

According to the United Nations website, International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on Feb. 28, 1909 in New York City.