Women in Secularism

August 4, 2011

Are men over-represented at humanist, atheist, and skeptic conferences and in the leadership of humanist, atheist, and skeptic organizations? Does the work of female writers and scholars tend to be overlooked? Does our movement need to become more diverse? Should we give careful consideration to the relationship between feminism and secularism?

I think the answer to the foregoing questions is obvious.  What is not obvious is why these questions have not received, in my opinion, appropriate attention in our movement. 

Here at CFI we think it’s high time—it’s past time—for these and related issues to receive serious consideration.  This is why we are proud to announce a special (dare I say historic?) conference on Women in Secularism, which will take place in Washington, DC on May 18-20 of 2012.  To my knowledge, this is the first major conference sponsored by a national secular or skeptic organization to focus exclusively on the role and importance of women in our movement.

This is a hugely significant event. The contributions of women to our cause will finally receive some recognition.  Speakers will include (in alphabetical order) Ophelia Benson, Jamila Bey, Greta Christina, Elisabeth Cornwell, Margaret Downey, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Sikivu Hutchinson, Susan Jacoby, Jennifer McCreight, Wafa Sultan, and Rebecca Watson. 

Holding this conference was such an inspired idea, I would like to credit for it.  But honesty compels me to say that it was a woman, our own Melody Hensley, CFI-DC Executive Director, who recommended we hold this conference and who has taken the lead in organizing it. But I did have the good sense to recognize a great idea when it was presented to me.

Put this conference on your calendar now. It’s a must event for anyone—male or female— who cares about the future of our movement.