How to Attract More Secular Women Activists

Susan Jacoby


At the pioneering program “Women in Secularism” sponsored in May 2012 by the Center for Inquiry–Washington D.C., I discussed some of the reasons—from the greater religiosity of women to actual denigration of female intellect by some male secular activists (which you wouldn’t think would exist among male creatures who pride themselves on their rationality)—for the underrepresentation of women at all levels of the secular movement.

What I did not do was offer any practical steps to narrow the male-female gap. I did not do so, in part, because this conference was a vital first step,and what I have to say is likely to offend quite a few secularists who are as attached as the religious to pseudoscientific beliefs not only about women but about their own righteousness. The religious own up to what they take on faith, but many secularists do not.

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