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The Happy Tooth
To the Women Who Inspire
HOW VIETNAM CELEBRATES INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY — TWICE!
Moving to a new country as a teenager meant experiencing a lot of culture shock. When I was 16, I learned that there are many things the United States does differently than the rest of the world. For example, Americans have never been that big on soccer, while the rest of the world is all about it. Another difference between the U.S. and Vietnam is how the countries celebrate International Women’s Day. First, Vietnam actually celebrates International Women’s Day twice — on March 8, with the rest of the world, and on Oct. 20, the anniversary of when Vietnamese women united against imperialism to form the Vietnam Women’s Union. In Vietnam, people celebrate International Women’s Day in tangible ways. My grandma, aunt, and female teachers would all get flowers. The purpose of the holiday is for people to let the women in their lives know how much they’re appreciated. I was surprised to learn that people in the U.S. celebrate International Women’s Day very differently. The holiday is more abstract here. It is often more about history or looking at what women deal with on a global scale rather than celebrating individual women in our lives. I really miss the way Vietnam celebrated International Women’s Day. I work with a lot of amazing women who deserve to be acknowledged. A majority of my female coworkers are moms working full time while raising kids. Many members of my staff have recently become mothers or welcomed a second child into their family. One of my dental assistants, Kimberly, had her first baby back in January. She kept working until the last possible day in December so she would be able to take four months off to spend with her newborn. It is amazing to see how hard the women in my office work every day, especially when they have a new baby on the way. But that’s nothing compared to the spark I see in them when they come back to work after having a baby. It’s like they have this bigger purpose. They aren’t just working for themselves — they’re working to provide for their children. Then, after helping me take care of patients all day, they still find the energy to go home and be a mom to their children. That’s not an easy task, but the women I work with thrive in this environment. It’s inspiring to see.
“In Vietnam, International Women’s Day celebrates women in really tangible ways. My grandma, aunt, and female teachers would all get flowers.”
This International Women’s Day, I want to shout out all the wonderful women I work with. They are all strong, intelligent, companionable people who deserve to be acknowledged. It is wonderful to work with each and every one of them. I encourage my readers to tell the women in their lives how admirable and inspiring they are. International Women’s Day is about celebrating strides and working toward a better
future, but I believe it should also be about letting the women in our lives know their hard work is appreciated every day.
–Dr. Justene Doan
March 2020 Edition
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