UPDATE: Paula Kirby has posted a long comment here explaining her position.
Here is a video from the World Atheist Convention held in Dublin in early June; the theme was “Women Atheist Activists.” Thanks to Grania Spingies, an officer with Atheist Ireland, who sent me the link.
The introduction is by Grania, and the other panelists are
- Paula Kirby (secular consultant and activist, UK) http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/paula_kirby
- Bobbie Kirkhart (Author and Activist, USA) http://www.bobbiekirkhart.com/
- Anne Marie Waters (One Law for All, IRL/UK) http://www.onelawforall.org.uk/
- Tanya Smith (President of Atheist Alliance International /Atheist Foundation of Australia)
What makes this panel interesting is that everyone on it is female, an atheist and and activist, but each in a different way. They also represent different nationalities (although all are Caucasian): USA, UK, Irish-UK and Australian. All of them are positive about being an activist (in whatever form it takes for them) and none of them seemed to think that there was a serious case of sexism in the atheist community. All of them were very aware of sexism in society but mostly felt that they had not suffered any negative experiences in the atheist community. Tanya in particular put forward some useful ideas on encouraging women to get involved in whatever capacity they might find interesting. Paula stressed that she realised that her experience did not entitle her to speak for “everyone”; this is a point that is maybe missed by people who use personal anecdotes to color an entire community. Bobbie talked a bit about the history of atheist activism in the States, which she said was dominated by women at one stage. That was interesting too. I think that a lot of people don’t know much about that—they do tend to think that atheism started in 2006. Anne-Marie Waters is a tireless campaigner against Sharia Law because of what it does to women in those communities in the UK that use it. She is not an atheist campaigner, but a campaigner who happens to be atheist.
The video is much better than others I’ve seen from meetings, for it was filmed and produced by a professional.
I am proud of my readers, the general lack of rancor on my site, and the ability to discuss issues in the reasoned way that is the ideal of atheism (not always realized, of course!). I hope the comments for this thread, too, will be polite and—more important—to the point. Please, no name-calling or comments about issues not relevant to this panel. And one other request: please don’t comment on this panel or its issues unless you’ve watched the whole video. With the questions at the end, it’s a bit over an hour long (so no comments for at least an hour after I post this, plz.).
UPDATE: If you want to talk about Elevator Guy, Rebecca Watson, or Richard Dawkins, or anything that’s been hashed to death in other places, please do that on one of the many other sites where flame wars are going on. I won’t have them here.
Thanks to Grania and Atheist Ireland!