US sees the launch of its first national organisation for secular women

FREETHINKER founder G W Foote once wrote:

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.

This quote always comes to mind when I ponder on the huge amount of unquestioning support the major religions, rampant with misogyny, receive from females. Christianity in particular.

Voula Papas, writing about Women in the Bible for the Atheist Foundation of Australia, said:

Any honest, thinking person reading through the Bible cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity towards women. The eminent ‘men of God’ who wrote the Bible were the product of patriarchal, tribal, violent, intolerant, monotheistic society.

But here’s some good news. This summer saw the launch in the US of the country’s first national organisation for atheist women. Secular Woman, Inc made its debut last month “to advance the interests of atheist, humanist and other non-religious women”. The organisation’s stated vision is:

Kim Rippere

A future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of American society.

Secular identity organisations, it declared in a press release, often struggle to attract and retain female members, lending weight to surveys which typically characterise women as more spiritual than men.

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 non-believing women out of the closet and into roles of leadership.

Secular Woman is headed by Kim Rippere, a lifetime atheist. She is a founder member of SW and the organisation’s first President. She was raised in a “loose” Catholic environment and attended parochial school for three years but she never “got” religion.

Kim has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from California State University, Northridge. She is a member of American Atheists and Center for Inquiry.

Said Rippere:

Through strategic partnerships, Secular Woman will also advocate for equal pay, reproductive choice, and marriage equality, addressing political trends the group sees as ideologically-motivated threats to its members’ freedom of conscience. ‘The ‘War on Women’ dovetailing with the rise of secular activism showed us the time had come for secular women to form our own distinct organization to support our vision of the future.

Bridget Gaudette is an atheist activist and Secular Woman’s Vice President of Outreach

Bridget Gaudette, SW’s Vice President of Outreach, said:

With this organisation we plan to focus on promoting the secular female voice, but anyone who supports our mission can join. All are vital to the success of Secular Woman and to the overall secular movement.

Breaking news:  Scotland is to introduce gay marriage. Catholics are outraged. More on this in a later blog.


7 responses to “US sees the launch of its first national organisation for secular women”

  1. RabbitOnAStick says:

    Good luck with that.

  2. Har Davids says:

    The more Atheists, the better, but why all the splinter-groups? The non-religious are supposed to be inclusive, this makes us look like the religious folk with their different sets of beliefs etc.

  3. AngieRS says:

    Slightly off topic, but as he is quoted in the opening paragraph, why is G W Foote not shown on the home page any more? As for Ms Rippere, more power to her and her group.

  4. Broga says:

    Great news. Congratulations Kim Rippere. I hope many more women are encouraged to declare their secularism.

    I now expect a response from the demented, foaming at the mouth religious brigade. I suppose they will support their views by quoting the bible.

  5. The Woggler says:

    “I now expect a response from the demented, foaming at the mouth religious brigade. I suppose they will support their views by quoting the bible.”

    Oh, come now. When have they ever done that?

  6. JohnMWhite says:

    @Har Davids – I share your concern about splinter groups, but in this instance I can see why women would want their own support network in the secularist community. Look at the wild FreeThoughtBlogs fight, started over issues of women feeling (rightly or wrongly) ill-treated and unsafe at atheist conferences and swiftly descending into a lot of men screaming about feminazis with no sense of humour. It is, unfortunately, still a bit of an issue in this community. I can see why they’d want to strike out on their own.

  7. Dan J Bye says:

    “why all the splinter-groups?”

    “All” the splinter groups? You make it sound like the atheist scene is riven with splits, which is not particularly the case.

    In any case, this is not a “splinter group”. It’s a group with a focus, which seems fine to me. And since women do not appear to join atheist groups at the same rate as men do (for whatever reason), something like this which helps to increase visibility is a good thing.

    JohnMWhite notes the issue of women feeling “ill-treated and unsafe at atheist conferences”, but that’s not quite what the issue was. The point was rather that atheist/sceptical conferences were not all taking seriously the need to have harassment policies in place, which is not the same as saying that women were unsafe at such conferences. The subject is too big for this post, but the context is that women bloggers have been subjected to appalling sexist abuse. The culprits may or may not be atheists (some certainly are), and may or may not attend conferences (presumably some do), but in any case there is a need to show that this is officially disapproved and discouraged and taken seriously. Unfortunately in some quarters it is not.