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International Women’s Day: the fight for equality is urgent

The situation of women in the world is getting worse. According to the UN Secretary General, “Gender equality is growing more distant. On the current track, UN Women puts it 300 years away”!

a gender apartheid

In Afghanistan, the Taliban regime locks women and girls in their homes, denying them their rights to education and work. In Iran, a criminal repression is being carried out against women and men demonstrating against the Islamic Republic in the name of “Woman, Life, Freedom”. In all countries where political Islam imposes its misogynistic agenda, women are victims of a gender apartheid.

In Europe, progress is accompanied by regression and threats, particularly against the right to abortion. Christian fundamentalist movements and extreme right-wing parties are trying to reverse fundamental rights and the principle of gender equality.

These violations of women’s human rights are all caused by the alliance between religious fundamentalism and political power. Wherever religious fundamentalism have power, women’s rights suffer first.

secularism and universality of human rights

The separation of religion from political power is a guarantee of human rights, and in particular of women’s rights.

On this 8 March 2023, the European Secularist Network recalls its commitment to the universality of human rights and gender equality. We call on the European Union and its Member States to fight against sexist and sexual violence and discrimination against women, in their internal and external policies.

To this end, the EU and its Member States must ratify the Istanbul Convention, and recognise sexual and reproductive rights as fundamental rights, in accordance with international law. We also call on the EU and its Member States to use all the tools at their disposal to fight against violations of women’s rights in third countries.