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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

I would like to wish all my female friends of Atheist Universe a very beautiful Women's Day. In America International Women's Day (IWD) is largely ignored because it started as a Socialist Party event, here in the United States, in 1910. It very quickly became an international day, sponsored mainly by Socialist parties evetywhere, especially in Europe. It was back in the days when women everywhere were fighting for the right to vote and for other rights. For a history of IWD, please visit Wikipedia, the United Nations,, or its own page for 2012. IWD is largely sponsored by the UN these days, with events occurring across the globe. The theme for 2012 is "Empower Rural Women. End Hunger and Poverty"

In this 101 anniversary of IWD, we can be happy for the incredible progress that has been made, and at the same time reflect on the fact that the fight for women's rights is far from over. Women are oppressed in many parts of the world, in large part thanks to the backwardness of religion. And let's also not forget that in these days, in the United States, in the 21st century, we have prominent political candidates that actually want to turn the clock backwards with their continuous assaults on women's rights, including a flare up of an astonishing, anachronistic debate on contraception! And it seems that these days, women are still called "sluts" and other sexist insults simply for speaking up for what they believe.

Happy International Women's Day!

I'd like to share this 101 year old poem with all of you:

Bread and Roses

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!
As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women’s children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.
As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life’s glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses.

The slogan “Bread and Roses” originated in a poem of that name by James Oppenheim, published in The American Magazine in December 1911, which attributed it to “the women in the West.” It is commonly associated with a textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts during January–March 1912, now often known as the “Bread and Roses strike”. The slogan appeals for both fair wages and dignified conditions.

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That's neat!

On IWD, lobby for Saudi Arabian women's rights!

Saudi Arabia: Open the road for women drivers (link to petition)

I saw this on Balloon Juice

Open Thread: Life in Wartime

This is a pretty good summary of the last month or so to commemorate International Women’s Day. When is International Men’s Day, you ask? Every day but March 8. 

Women’s Impact On The Economy, By the Numbers

Today is International Women’s Day, which this year is coinciding with a lot of debate on the subject of women’s rights, specifically regarding abortion, contraception and reproductive health. But it’s worth pausing for a moment to also consider the enormous contributions women are making vis-a-vis the global economy.

The World Bank predicts that the earning power of women will hover around $18 trillion by 2014, which is $5 trillion increase in current income, and more than double the estimated GDP for growing economic forces like India and China combined. So, in celebration of International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at the contribution that women are making, while bearing in mind all of the work there’s still left to do:

66 million: Number of American women currently in the workforce.

64: The percentage of mothers with children under the age of 6 that are in the labor force. 78 percent of mothers with children ages 6-17 were in the labor force.

60: The percentage of American women who are now the primary or co-breadwinner for their families.

87: Percentage of women who possess at least four years of high school or more education, as compared to 86 percent of men.

58: The percentage of all undergraduate degrees in the U.S. that were awarded to women in 2010.

50: The percentage of the total college educated population women accounted for in the U.S.

12: Number of Fortune 500 companies that have female CEOs.

1.9 million: Number of firms that are majority-owned (51% or more) by women of color in the U.S.

26: The percentage of vice presidents and senior executives that are female.

7: The percentage of directors on the world’s coporate boards who are female.

15.6: Percentage of elected parliamentary seats globally that are held by women.

18: Average percentage by which women worldwide are paid less than their male counterparts at work.

0.77: The female-to-male earnings ratio in the U.S., meaning female workers earned 77 cents on every dollar earned by a male worker. Progress on the pay gap in the last 10 years remains statiscally unchanged.

Although women have been making significant strides towards gender equality in the workforce, a survey carried out by Yale Law Women highlights a major discrepancy in the growing numbers of female attorneys (25-35 percent) in comparison to the small number ....

– Fatima Najiy

Great article, food for thought, thanks, doone

A good rebuttal post from Ann Althouse

"An increasing number of affluent women with affluent husbands are ...

Writes James Taranto, noting a new Federal Reserve study showing a decline in the number of highly educated women with highly educated husbands in the workforce. (Between 1976 and 1992, there was an increase.)
"The trend is not limited to top earners," Reuters notes. "It has been detected among households earning around $80,000 per year." But $80,000 goes a lot further in the middle of the country than it does in New York or San Francisco. A husband has to be fairly affluent for his wife to be able to afford to stay home: "Only a few households can afford to give up a good second income."...

Marriage and male responsibility for families were once the norm at all levels of American society. Feminism was supposed to liberate women from dependency on men. Instead it has helped to create a two-tiered culture in which the norm is for women to be "chained to a desk," but those who hit the jackpot in the mating game can realistically aspire to escape that status. Nice going, ladies. Happy International Women's Day.
Oh, my.  I'm not going to try to say everything that's wrong with that. I'll just say:

1. A family is an economic unit, and the adults in it should think carefully and clearly about their needs and interests. It may very often work out better, both financially and in terms of happiness, for one person to specialize in bringing in the money, freeing up the partner to contribute in other ways, through child-rearing, homemaking, community service, developing social connections, and innumerable other things that a person not tied to a job can do. There is absolutely no reason that the spouse in the job-free position needs to be the wife. 

2. Male or female, a working person can find himself/herself in a stultifying or otherwise unpleasant job, and a job-free spouse may find himself/herself lacking power in an abusive relationship. There's no one answer to how to stay out of the many bad positions a human being can get into. You can go too far protecting yourself from dysfunctional dependency on a lackluster job or a lackluster jobless life. And you can go too far clinging to one or the other.  People need to pay attention to the details of their own lives and exercise good judgment as they make their own individual decisions. You can get into trouble using big ideologies to make those decisions.

3. Feminism opened up some new ways of thinking about various life decisions. If women are simply trying to be good feminists and not thinking about their own individual wants and needs, then they're unlikely to be any better off than if they'd unthinkingly followed the old-fashioned traditions. And they're not even good feminists, because they're just doing what they think other people want them to do. Good traditionalists are reflective too. Think for yourself!

4. Is there a "mating game" with "jackpots," in which some women just get lucky? That sounds like a loser's theory. I think there's some skill involved. And it's not a matter of finding the person with the most wealth. A man being rich is like a girl being pretty...



... but you might be happier shopping for a mate a few levels down from the top of the wealth/beauty pyramid. Shop well. Make good decisions. And stop being envious of everyone else. Get your own life in order.

James Taranto's way of thinking is so backwards. Not surprised his article was in the Wall Street Journal. His "hitting the jackpot" comment is going back to the usual tiresome stereotypes. Blah. 

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