Women in the new secular movement

A chronological listing of key events

Starting in 2010, the topic of participation of women in the [new secular movement](http://newsecular.wordpress.com/what-is-the-new-secular-movement/) has received an extraordinary amount of attention. There is a range of views on the subject that has resulted in sharp public disagreements.;xNLx;;xNLx;Complicating matters, much of the commentary is often made based on incomplete information and lack of context.;xNLx;;xNLx;Someone new to the topic will probably miss out on many of the key events through no fault of their own, with the subject appearing more unwieldy than it has to be.;xNLx;;xNLx;In order to provide an accessible and meaningful summary of the topic in it's entirety, I have compiled the timeline that follows.;xNLx;;xNLx;Questions/Comments: [http://newsecular.wordpress.com/women](http://newsecular.wordpress.com/women) | [@SimonKnowz](http://www.twitter.com/SimonKnowz);xNLx;;xNLx;The views expressed are [mine alone](http://newsecular.wordpress.com/about-me/)

2010-11-01 20:24:25

Shores article for Ms. Magazine

Monica Shores notes that while prominent women atheists do exist, none are as visible or recognizable as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens and that "there’s little indication that atheists are receptive to the suggestion that they might benefit from diversifying in color or gender"

2010-11-03 16:58:42

McCreight re:Shores

In a response published by Ms. Magazine, Jennifer McCreight characterizes Shores' earlier statement that "no women are currently recognized as leaders or even mentioned as a force within the movement,” as "blatantly untrue"

2011-04-01 17:15:00

Hensley starts Women in Secularism planning

Melody Hensley starts the planning process for the first Women in Secularism conference for the Center for Inquiry.

2011-05-18 08:59:12

Bekiempis in Bitch Magazine

Victoria Bekiempis asks: "If all these smart, clearly respected women are in the mix of loud-and-proud atheists, why does the face of New Atheism still look like that of a curmudgeonly, sixtysomething white guy?" and offers several statements in response.

2011-05-21 08:59:12

Kirby re:"sexist white dudes"

Paula Kirby responds to a user question asking why women "don’t seem to garner the same respect and visibility as male atheists in the community" that she "absolutely" rejects "the notion that women need a special helping hand in order to do whatever they want to do."

2011-06-04 00:00:00

Kirby at Dublin Conference

Speaking first on the panel, Paula Kirby expands on her earlier short written response to a similar question at the Ask An Atheist site and reiterates her position that sexism is not a problem in the atheist community and that there should not be any steps to address it.

2011-06-04 17:15:00

Watson and Dawkins at Dublin Conference

In a largely improvised talk, Rebecca Watson responds to Paula Kirby who had spoken on the same topic a few hours earlier. She registers her disagreement with Kirby and details the sexist abuse and threats she receives from fellow skeptics and atheists to show why she believes that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

2011-06-20 17:15:00

Watson discusses Dublin Conference

Among other things, Rebecca Watson summarizes her overwhelmingly positive feedback from her Dublin talk and mentions an incident where she was approached by a stranger in the hotel elevator.

2011-06-24 17:15:00

Watson at CFI Conference

In a wide ranging talk about the religious right's assault on women's rights, Rebecca Watson also highlights her objection to a response to her previous video after the Dublin Conference from a college student leader Stef McGraw in attendance.

2011-06-28 17:15:00

Watson on "Naming Names"

In response to repeated twitter comments after her talk at the CFI Student Leadership Conference, Rebecca Watson addresses why she chose make her disagreement with the student leader Stef McGraw public. Watson also notes that she saw no substantive disagreement on the her talk.

2011-07-01 17:15:00

Smith re:Watson

SA "Abbie" Smith takes Rebecca Watson to task for publicly criticizing a student leader in the audience of the CFI Student Leadership Conference

2011-07-02 11:14:00

Dawkins comments #1 and #2 on Myers blog

In two comments on PZ Myers' blog, Richard Dawkins takes Rebecca Watson to task about her Dublin elevator incident

2011-07-02 11:14:00

Myers re:Watson

PZ Myers registers his agreement with Rebecca Watson's decision to publicly register her disagreement with student leader Stef McGraw at the CFI Student Leadership Conference.

2011-07-03 20:50:00

Myers confirms Dawkins comments

After speculation that the previous comments may have been by an impostor, PZ Myers confirms that the earlier comments were indeed from Richard Dawkins. Myers reiterates that he disagrees with Dawkins and agrees with Watson.

2011-07-03 21:32:00

Dawkins comment #3 at Myers blog

In his third and final public comment on the matter, Richard Dawkins rejects the criticism he received for his earlier comments stating that Rebecca Watson's elevator encounter was "zero bad"

2011-07-05 17:15:00

Watson re:Dawkins comments

Rebecca Watson addresses Richard Dawkins' earlier comments, noting that after sitting next to her in a panel where she described in great detail the sexist abuse and threats she received, he chose to ignore this and instead focus in a disparaging manner on her elevator encounter.

2011-07-08 17:15:00

Kirby re: Women in atheist movement

On Jerry Coyne's "Why Evolution is True" post hosting the video of her Dublin talk, Paula Kirby reiterates her earlier position.

2011-07-16 17:15:00

Dawkins sponsors free childcare at future conferences

During his keynote speech on his upcoming book "The Magic of Reality" at the TAM9 Conference, Richard Dawkins announces that his foundation will be sponsoring free childcare at future atheist and skeptic conferences in an effort to encourage more participation by women, particularly mothers.

2011-07-18 17:15:00

Smith re:Dawkins announcement

Abbie Smith congratulates Richard Dawkins on sponsoring free childcare for future atheist and skeptic conferences. She derisively refers to Rebecca Watson as "Twatson".

2011-08-04 08:59:12

Lindsay announces Women in Secularism Conference

Ronald Lindsay announces the date and rationale for the CFI Women in Secularism Conference

2012-05-18 17:15:00

Women in Secularism Conference 2012

The Center for Inquiry hosts the first ever national secular conference with an all-female speaker line-up discussing issues relating to women in the secular movement.

2012-05-22 10:26:00

Zvan calls for harassment policies

Stephanie Zvan highlights a comment in response to Jen McCreight's revalation at the Women in Secularism conference about how being warned about certain male speakers who approach younger women attendees. Zvan proposes that secular organizations remedy this by instituting harassment policies.

2012-05-25 06:15:57

Secular orgs adopt conference harassment policies

Over several months, numerous national and local secular organizations either institute, update, or publicize conference harassment policies.

2012-05-25 20:24:00

Blackford "Talibanesque" remark re: codes of conduct

In a public facebook comment, Russell Blackford refers to unspecified conference harassment policies as "Talibanesque".

2012-05-26 00:00:00

Grothe comment on decline in female TAM registrations

In a public facebook comment, DJ Grothe speculates that decline in female registration for TAM in relation to the prior year was due to attendees being scared by reports of harassment. He also claims -incorrectly it would be shown later- that there had not been any previous harassment reports.

2012-05-30 13:33:00

Grothe cites sources of "misinformation"

In lengthy comments on Stephanie Zvan's blog, DJ Grothe expands on his previous facebook comment and claims that Watson, Zvan, and McCreight's blogs and public statements may be encouraging "women to be less involved than they normally would."

2012-06-01 00:00:00

Watson announces she will not attend TAM2012

Rebecca Watson states that due to both the abusive behavior at previous TAM conferences as well as DJ Grothe's comments which blamed "women skeptics for creating a hostile environment".

2012-06-03 00:00:00

Grothe apologizes to Watson

In a lenghthy comment on Rebecca Watson'sblog, DJ Grothe apologizes about his comments but maintains that he is still concerned about "misinformation" regarding safety at TAM.

2012-06-19 15:00:00

Benson withdraws from TAM2012

In what would later prove to be a misunderstanding of a poorly phrased email, Ophelia Benson withdraws from speaking at TAM2012 citing safety concerns due to her public advocacy on behalf of women.

2012-06-28 23:30:00

Secular Woman, Inc. Founded

The Atlanta-based organization "Secular Woman will offer its members conference travel grants, profiles of secular women, achievement awards and other programming designed to add gender diversity to secular events and bring more nonbelieving women out of the closet and into roles of leadership."

2012-07-02 17:48:00

Kirby publishes "Sisterhood of the Oppressed"

In a lengthy piece, Paula Kirby reiterates her previous position from July 2011 and also accuses Ophelia Benson and other members of what she refers to as the "Sisterhood of the Oppressed" of "totalitarian attitudes" and for which the terms "feminazi" and "femistasi" are appropriate.

2012-07-04 00:00:00

SlymePit forum launches

Citing updated commenting policies at Scienceblogs, the forum Slymepit.com is launched to host the comment thread at SA "Abbie" Smith's blog re:Watson that was still on-going for the past year with tens of thousands of unmoderated comments in a single thread known as "the slime pit".

2012-07-08 07:40:30

Smith removes "Slimepit" posts

Citing complaints received by Scienceblogs owners National Geographic, SA "Abbie" Smith announces that she is removing the "slime pit" threads and refers readers to the new Slymepit.com forum.

2012-07-24 17:15:00

Male leaders speak out against misogyny on Skepchick

"Surly" Amy Davis Roth invites "secular leaders, who are men, to speak out against the violence and abuse we have seen directed primarily at the women in our communities"

2012-08-17 04:31:10

Vacula article on AVoiceForMen.com

Pennsylvania atheist activist Justin Vacula re-publishes a blog post on "men's rights" site AVoiceForMen.com - hate site according to the Southern Poverty Law Center due to it's misogynistic content. It also features numerous contributors that -like Vacula- post frequently on SlymePit.com.

2012-08-18 17:15:00

"Here Come the Secular Women" issue of The Humanist Magazine

Following the May 2012 CFI Women in Secularism conference, the American Humanist Association's magazine The Humanist dedicated an issue to the subject with articles written by numerous conference participants.

2012-08-19 20:24:25

McCreight announces Atheism+

Following a blogging hiatus, Jennifer McCreight proposes a new atheist movement that incorporates social justice and names it "Atheism+" following a suggestion in a comment.

2012-08-27 08:59:12

Atheism+ Forum launches

According to Jennifer McCreight, the forum "will be a safe, highly moderated space for discussion." As of Dec. 28, 2012 the forum has 2366 registered users

2012-09-04 20:24:25

McCreight ceases blogging due to online harassment and abuse

Jennifer McCreight says she "can no longer write anything without my words getting twisted, misrepresented, and quotemined. I wake up every morning to abusive comments, tweets, and emails about how I’m a slut, prude, ugly, fat, feminazi, retard, bitch, and cunt (just to name a few)."

2012-09-15 17:15:00

Feminine Faces of Freethought Conference

2012-09-27 04:31:10

Vacula named SCA Pennsylvania Co-Chair

2012-09-29 16:58:22

Zvan petition to SCA to remove Vacula from position

After numerous unseuccesful private contacts with the Secular Coalition for America, Stephanie Zvan writes a petition calling for the removal of Justin Vacula from his position with the Pennsylvania SCA chapter. The petition would receive 977 signatures in a week.

2012-10-04 00:00:00

Vacula resigns Pennsylvania SCA position

Following the petition to the Secular Coalition for America by Stephanie Zvan, Justin Vacula resigns his position as co-chair of the the SCA Pennsylvania chapter.

2012-11-15 17:15:00

Women in Secularism issue of Free Inquiry Magazine

The Council for Secular Humanism's magazine, Free Inquiry devotes it's December/January issue to Women in Secularism. The issue is guest-edited by Melody Hensley and features numerous articles by speakers at the May 2012 conference.

2013-05-17 14:52:29

Women in Secularism 2 Conference

The expanded second CFI Women in Secularism conference will add an additional day of programming and feature more speakers.

Women in the new secular movement

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