I have had enough.

Everywhere I see people (usually men) using their religious beliefs to keep women in their place. It’s disgusting, it’s discriminatory, and it’s despicable.

I’ve just listened to a call-in on BBC Radio Oxford (because it’s International Women’s Day and my amazing friend Manon was one of the speakers). She and another woman got about a third of the air time, if that. The rest was men – in particular a man, who said we should not go to other countries and stand up for the rights of women there because ‘religion’.

Codswallop.

If religion is keeping women from education, if religion is enabling men to be abusive to their wives, if religion is treating women – you know HUMANS – as second or even third=class citizens, then it needs to be addressed.

And bear in mind, often it’s a patriarchal mindset interpreting their reigious texts their way. Letting go of the things that don’t suit them and insisting on the ones which keep women ‘in their place’.

Just because ‘religion’ does not make it right and does not mean it has to continue. You are using what should be an enlightening and uplifting experience to make women miserable because you are afraid of what will happen if you give women power, especially power over their own bodies and future.

Afraid that with educated women your community will improve and grow and become strong.

Afraid that women with power over their fertility will mean healthier children born at the right time for the mother and the child.

Afraid that women have natural bodily functions which you don’t and therefore must be ‘unclean’.

Stop being so bloody afraid, stop using ‘religion’ as an excuse, stop allowing others to carry on their control over women just because it’s the way it’s always been. Progress is not a dirty word.