Religion Is Dangerous to Women

Last week, the legal news service TrustLaw released a poll of the most dangerous countries for women. Based on a survey of 213 experts on women's issues from around the world, the poll ranked countries on the basis of six categories: health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to health care and other resources, and human trafficking. Summing these factors up, the top five worst countries to be female are Afghanistan, Congo, Pakistan, India … [Read more...]

Saudi Arabian Women Hit the Road

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ruled by an absolute monarchy in cooperation with the vicious and medieval Wahhabist clerics, has some of the most oppressive and primitive laws in the world when it comes to the rights of women. Saudi women are forbidden to appear in public without a face-covering veil and a full-body shroud; they're forbidden to travel, get an education or even leave their house without the permission of a male guardian; and they're forbidden to mingle with unrelated men in public … [Read more...]

India’s Daughters Are Missing

I feel bad writing about so much terrible news for women so close to Mother's Day. On the other hand, what better time is there to emphasize just how much still has to be done in the global fight for women's rights?Despite all the outrages against women committed by the religious right in America, at least here there's a baseline belief in women's equality (even if our society often falls far short of its aspirations). More fundamental problems still linger in the developing world, such as in … [Read more...]

Words Worth Reading: The Mother’s Day Proclamation

As you probably already know, today is Mother's Day. But I learned something very interesting about the holiday from a sermon today at the Unitarian Universalist church my wife and I attend, and I'd like to share it with you.Given how rampantly commercial Mother's Day has become, you might be forgiven for assuming, as I did, that it was dreamed up by the jewelry and greeting-card companies. But that couldn't be further from the truth. Although the holiday did become commercialized soon after … [Read more...]

The Republican Party Still Hates Women

This week, the House of Representatives voted for HR 3, one of the most vicious and horrendous anti-choice bills ever conceived. This bill revokes all federal tax credits for any health insurance plan that includes abortion coverage - in effect, it raises taxes on private employers who offer insurance to their employees that covers abortion, and even on individuals who purchase health insurance that covers abortion. Republicans, normally fanatic in their anti-tax stance, seem to have no problem … [Read more...]

Marching for Oppression

Over the past few months, we've seen amazing and inspiring demonstrations of people power erupting across the Middle East, toppling dictatorships that have been in place for decades. It's far too soon to say what form of government will emerge from these movements - whether they'll give rise to true democracies, or whether new dictatorships will replace the old - and the unwelcome news that Egypt's transitional military government has just sentenced a blogger to prison shows that it will take … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• Greta Christina posts her completed list of atheists of color.• In early 1981, Carl Sagan sent this letter to the Explorers' Club - an international society dedicated to scientific exploration - regarding their men-only admission policy. Several months later, the first female members were admitted. (HT: Geek Feminism Blog)• Johann Hari writes about "the myth of the panicking disaster victim" and what it implies for humanity's inherent moral sense.• Catholic … [Read more...]

Movie Review: Agora

When I wrote my review of Creation last year, a commenter suggested I see Agora, the 2009 film by Alejandro Amenábar about Hypatia of Alexandria. It took me a long time to get around to doing that, but I've finally seen it, and it was worth the wait. It only had a very limited theatrical release in the U.S., but if you have Netflix or similar, I strongly encourage you to see it.Agora is set in Alexandria, Egypt, in the late fourth century CE. Egypt is a Roman province in this age, and … [Read more...]

What Comes Next For the Middle East?

The last few weeks in the Middle East have been a story of extraordinary courage and heroism. With dictatorships in Egypt and Tunisia lying in ruins and the democratic revolt now spreading to Yemen, Bahrain and Libya, it's not too early to start thinking about what will come next.The omnipresent fear in Western media is that the newly free countries will be taken over by an Islamist majority. This isn't an unreasonable concern (although it hardly justifies the West's decades of supporting … [Read more...]

Exploring the Gender Disparity on Daylight Atheism

As part of my fifth anniversary post, I included a survey where I asked readers to list their gender and their age, mainly just to satisfy my own curiosity. The results of the age poll, to my pleased surprise, formed a very neat bell curve (I have more computer-savvy older readers than I had guessed!).This wasn't the case with the gender survey, however. I was expecting there to be a gender disparity, and there was, but it was much larger than even I had anticipated. With the poll now closed, … [Read more...]


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