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International Women’s Rights Day

Today, 8 March, the secularist movement celebrates International Women’s Rights Day.

In Europe, progress has been made alongside stagnation and even regression. The pandemic and the measures taken to combat it have aggravated certain phenomena, in the world of work, but also gender-based violence.

Religious fundamentalist organisations continue their offensive against women’s fundamental rights, particularly reproductive rights. The consequences of the almost total ban on abortion in Poland have been tragic.

In the face of religious conservatism and fundamentalism that denies equality and fundamental rights, it is urgent to defend the universalism of human rights.

Universalism – the recognition of the unity of humankind, of the equality of its members, of their equal dignity and rights – necessarily includes the effective realisation of equal rights for women and men. Relativism, on the other hand, poses serious threats to human rights in general and to women’s rights in particular.

In the name of religious laws and traditions, States oppose the prohibition of discrimination against women. In Europe, the Istanbul Convention on combating violence against women has also met with strong opposition from some countries with conservative governments, in the name of defending “traditional”, religiously inspired values.

Women’s rights are currently the subject of a fierce political struggle between supporters of universal rights and their opponents, who rely on the defence of an alleged tradition or cultural exception to refuse to apply fundamental rights that would threaten their dominant position justified by this same tradition.

Women’s fundamental rights are often the privileged ground for threats to universality.

The European Secularist Network is committed to real equality between women and men, in all its dimensions, i.e. equal rights, equal pay, equal treatment in society and in the family.