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The Freedom From Religion Foundation is honoring International Women’s Day today, March 8. The global theme, “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” is one that is dear to FFRF’s heart. This theme recognizes that women and girls around the world can lead the charge on climate change and help build a more sustainable future for all. However, in order for girls and women to fully contribute to a sustainable future, it is imperative that they have full bodily autonomy. This means that we need to work toward a world that doesn’t discriminate against women and girls over menstruation, pregnancy, contraception, sex education and abortion. FFRF is committed to that future. Read more about these important topics and why they are foundational to secularism:
Menstruation is a secular issue.
Sex education should be secular.
Fight for abortion rights with FFRF.
Reproductive health is a state/church issue.
Being child-free is not selfish.
Let’s make contraception freely available.
International Women’s Day was initiated in 1908 by freethinking feminists, including Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Lucy Parsons, Margaret Sanger, Rosa Luxembourg and Alice Paul, some of the foremothers of this important movement. In 1975, the United Nations formally adopted the day and recognized its global significance. The importance of International Women’s Day becomes clear as we look at the Pakistani women who have been courageously taking part in “Aurat Marches” (Urdu for “women’s marches”) today. The first such rally was held in Karachi in 2018, kicking off annual marches in other Pakistani urban centers. Women have been met with death and rape threats and have been called obscene. More seriously, last year Islamist groups counterdemonstrated, accusing marchers of holding “blasphemous” signs. In Pakistan, blasphemy is a capital crime, and lynchings and murders have followed such accusations on other occasions. The brave marchers have carried slogans and banners against violence, rape, morality police, and even for abortion rights and LGBTQ rights, which are especially fraught issues in that country. Pakistan’s minister for religious affairs, claiming the Aurat Marches violates the principles of Islam, has insultingly asked the prime minister to declare March 8 “International Hijab Day.” “The women of Pakistan, risking their lives to march against theocratic influence on government, should be an inspiration to us in America. We face our own theocratic inroads, and secular activists must become more vocal as marchers and voters to demand that our nation retain abortion and LGBTQ rights and stop privileging religion,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “True liberty requires keeping religion in its place and out of government.” Please also take some inspiration from FFRF Co-President Dan Barker’s version of the classic feminist anthem, “Bread and Roses,” typically played on March 8. The Freedom From Religion Foundation continues to be inspired by our secular sisters, past and present, to work harder for “the rising of us all.”