Berliners will now get a day off on International Women’s Day after local parliament declared it a public holiday. The German capital is the only state that recognizes the day as a public holiday.

Berlin’s parliament on Wednesday approved a bill to make International Women’s Day, observed annually on March 8, a public holiday.

The city-state’s legislature, which is governed by a coalition of Social Democrat (SPD), Green and Left parties, voted 87 to 60 in favor of the measure. Berlin thus becomes the first of Germany’s 16 states to take this step.

Derya Caglar, the SPD spokesman for equality policy, said the decision was “a very big sign that we are making progress on the road to equality between men and women.”

Women’s Day is now the 10th public holiday on the calendar in the German capital. Berlin had the fewest number of public holidays of any German state in 2018 — eschewing several of the more minor holidays tied either to Christian tradition or to German events like Karneval that are common in other states.

The move affects millions of workers in Berlin, Germany’s capital and by far the country’s most populous city. Berlin’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce has criticized that the new holiday will cause the city-state’s economic output to decrease by 0.3 percent.

In addition to Women’s Day, Berlin’s parliament decided to establish May 8, 2020 (Victory Day in Europe) as a one-off holiday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the surrender of Hitler’s Germany and the end of World War II in Europe.

Source: DW