2013.08 Feature: Women in Atheism

In an essay in Salon last week, Katie Englehardt asked "Where Are the Women of the New Atheism?".

Among the 150+ comments on it was this one from me (Richard S. Russell):
  • American Atheists — founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, carried on by Ellen Johnson
  • Freedom From Religion Foundation — founded by Anne Gaylor, carried on by her dotter Annie Laurie Gaylor
  • Anti-Discrimination Support Network — founded by Margaret Downey
  • Atheist Alliance (originally "Inc.", then "International", now "of America") — originally founded by (among others) Bobbie Kirkhart, Cleo Kocol, Mynga Futrell, and Marie Alena Castle. Castle, Kirkhart, and Downey subsequently served as presidents.
  • Atheist Alliance ("new") International — first president, Tanya Smith
  • Camp Quest — co-founded by Helen Kagin
  • Greta Christina! — say no more!

Anyone who thinks that women haven't been involved — root, trunk, and branch — with organized atheism in America must be on the outside looking in thru a murky window. Quite the contrary, women have long been the go-getters, the organizers, the movers and shakers, the inspirations, the good examples. Those of us on the inside used to occasionally puzzle over where all the men were.
But that was a questioning of the basic premise that there were no women in atheism. A different tack, addressing the question of why women in atheism aren't more visible to the great outer world, was taken by Soraya Chemaly in this week's follow-up essay, the unfortunately titled "5 Reasons There Aren't More Women in Atheism".

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