I'm curious to hear anyone's thoughts on possible reasons WHY women seem to be such a minority in atheism. I'm a bit new to "social atheism" (I've been a quiet but not closeted, personal atheist for over half my life at this point), so I guess I'm only discovering this bias now.

I dislike the idea that "women are less rational than men." Or equally its reverse, that "women need the emotional satisfaction that can come from religion more than men." I'm not even a big fan of "women are more strongly social and may therefore be less likely to question the tenets of their social-support system, often known as a church", although it might be true.

Is it analogous to the situation where men have been at the forefront of computing, video games, and the internet, with women lagging behind? (And why did women lag in those areas, too?)

Is it possible that women are just less vocal about it, less likely to write books or start podcasts (or even join sites like this)?

What do you think? Favourite pet theory? Better yet, any actual research? ;)

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I'm not so sure this is true. Maybe women are more shy and hesitant about standing up against the majority. I think I know equal numbers of male and female atheists.
I think there are equal numbers of women and men non-believers. However, the atheist movement has an image problem. Many perceive it as a white, male movement because its most vocal representatives are white and male. As a result men feel more comfortable in actively joining the movement because it's full of people like them, keeping the male intake high. Women on the other hand will feel like outsiders (even if it's not a conscious thought), and less comfortable in joining the group.

Women in atheism may be less vocal even after joining an organised community because of stereotype threat. Men are expected to have a wide variety of viewpoints on atheism and talk freely about their opinions. Women expect to encounter hostility and as a result may be less likely to take risks exposing them to ridicule.

If you want to read about why women aren't as numerous in the sciences and computing I heartily recommend the book Delusions of Gender by Cordelia Fine. It's too lengthy for me to present all of her arguments here, but to summarise some of the reasons given in the book: stereotype threat, where they respond unconsciously to stereotypes that women aren't as good as men in those areas and do worse in testing as a result; open hostility to their presence in some workplaces; bias of people hiring in those professions; and images of those areas being primarily male so they feel like they don't belong. I'm only half way through the book so there may be more reasons to list by the time I finish it!

As a mother of two I was careful to monitor for signs of religious influence and counter them with reason. Relatives and peers, parents of peers, attempt to brainwash kids when the parents aren't doing it. I also offered a lot of support to my kids' friends whose families were cramming religion down their throats.

I gave up a long time ago trying to reason with adults. If your brain is mature and you still hang on to this crap there is no hope.

Do you not know any "older" women that are atheist?  Perhaps a more relevant question would be "How did the 'older' women in your life come to atheism?"  Chances are they'll say it was a natural progression of their feminism
I quite agree with that, I don't think I've ever even known truly religious feminists. Some degree of "spirituality" of course, many people think being 'spiritual' and "cool about other's religions" is the 'new reality'. But in general, women who fight the religious system are likely to be feminists as the system is both religious and male dominated. For me they are nearly indiscernible. I think most of us don't waste time fighting the "god concept", too utterly ridiculous to bother with... but fighting the system associated with the god concept, that is where the interesting battle is.

"I think most of us don't waste time fighting the "god concept", too utterly ridiculous to bother with... but fighting the system associated with the god concept, that is where the interesting battle is."


That pretty much sums me up. I don't care about arguing about "reality" and evidence for god. I care about changing the system that favors Christianity in modern society over other religions, and that favors the religious over non-religious.

I find men to be more black and white in their thinking and more confrontational. That makes them really visible within atheism because they tend to be very vocal about debating with believers - and to be honest, they will debate with those of us non-believers who don't see things so black and white - and that can be off-putting. That kind of antagonism drives me crazy.


I don't care if an individual is sort-of-spiritual - or is even religious - if they are good people. I just want true secularism and religious equality and tolerance for all. I think men and women often have different approaches to and values about what is important about being an atheist.

Well, I've let go of delusions of secularity. I don't think faithers can put aside their religious principals when they're voting and participating in society, so I don't believe in secularity at all. I'm working on a completely changed society, atheistic in nature, no supernatural, no spiritual, evidence-based living.

One of the differences between males and females that persists in our society is that males, even today, achieve more education in the scientific fields. When you're trained within a scientific way of thinking, agnosticism makes no more sense than Santa or unicorns. Maybe it's because I live in Canada, but IMO we've gone WAY TOO far with our tolerance. We tolerate all kinds of bullshit from the right-wingers that cheat and lie to maintain their power over society.

I'm done with tolerance, it's time get the old boys club OUT of the picture. We need a change, a drastic one.

Forgive me for being argumentative, especially since you appeared to be agreeing with my previous point... but I think you missed my drift a little. :)

I do look forward to more conversations with you.

Thanks for being so amicable while trying to clarify your point. I probably did miss your drift a little - it's easy to do with a toddler tugging on my pant leg. I did think you were comparing men and women in the last sentence and I very much identified with that statement and tried to tie it into my response to the OP.

As for religious feminists. You're probably right. Many feminists probably are atheist (I've strangely never thought about it before). But I grew up with a liberal religious feminist as a mentor, so it's not impossible.

I can understand that being immersed in science would make you intolerant of non-evidenced based living. There are men and women who share that viewpoint. I think this type of forum favors that type of viewpoint. I do too - but I'm more tolerant of "harmless" unscientific thought (I realize that statement is a can of worms - I'm okay with horoscopes over not getting your kid vaccinated).

I'm a pragmatic person so I can understand giving up on belief in the possibility of secularity for the reasons you mentioned. But in my opinion secularism and tolerance is what is right, whether or not it will ever be possible in human society.

I'm in a tough place when it comes to generalising males and females. I was raised without any gender stereotypes, I was very athletic, and my external signs of femaleness were slow in coming, so I never considered myself male or female. I was always big and strong, so males were never a danger to me, yet, I see all the statistics of females being abused by males, specially males close to them, and it's what keeps me a strong feminist. Feminism will lose its necessity when the stats of females dying at the hands of their males are equalled in reverse. But in many ways, I've always behaved in quite male ways, I've studied sciences all my life, and chosen male jobs, and have absolutely NO desire to become a mother. In WWW conversation, I'm often mistaken for a male, because of my strong wording. I've never had any single outside force lead my life, other than the many many people with interesting tidbits who I've learned from. Learning is my favourite activity, debunking lies about science may well be my second favourite activity :)

So... as for a male and female approach to an evidence-based life, I am nostalgic about Madalyn Murray O'Hair. The 70s and 80s were better for women's lib that today. MMOH was an interesting, harsh, intolerant, entertaining person, she reminded me much of Julia Child!!! MMOH was the most visible person in the USA for atheists, but I'm Canadian, so I never knew her while she was alive.  Today atheist leaders are all WASPs (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) males, they removed Gods, but there's still a lot of protestant world views left in the mindset of these 4 male atheist leaders. So with four "old boys club" leading the pact, it seems natural that there's a wave of support from like minded WASPy males within these forums.

As for tolerance, I've had my time. I suppose you could say I was tolerant from age 19 to 40. But I've reached a saturation point of watching an agenda of stupidity rule society, so yes, I've actually lost my tolerance. I've come to think of tolerance of intolerance as one of the greatest fallacies. Canada's probably the world leader in tolerating other cultures within our own boundaries, though internationally, our wing-nut right-wing political leaders behave in a very George Bush way and show extreme intolerance towards other country's cultures. My attitude is the reverse of my right-wing government's, make a firm cultural statement dismissing all things supernatural within our own midsts, but be tolerant between nations. The only country worse that the USA, Canada, England and France for international tolerance is Israel, they really take the cake as the most internationally intolerant nation.

Frankly if people want to live a theocracy somewhere on the top of Africa, let them be. But here, in my own country, I think we should be allowed to exclude certain problematic ideologies.

I came to feminism and atheism about the same time, as an undergraduate, mostly in my junior year. They were parallel processes. There was more of a dialogue about god on my campus. The feminism came from reading.

I'd like to know why skr-one human's lastest post is deleted.

 

I spent most of my life trying to talk sense to people, or at least to get them to lay off harassing me about my non-delusional mind. I never made much progress with any of that and just burned out from people screeching at me that I'm going to burn in hell. I AM an older woman, age 59, and my 90 year old mother and 92 year old aunt  also atheist. They woke up to reality after being raised orthodox jewish. All my first cousins and many of my second cousins are atheist. My 55 year old sister is atheist. We're out there. ]

A difference I see between male atheists and female atheists is that males are more interested in discussing the topic, in philosophizing and debating. The women are more interested in discussing their lives. Family, work, interests. There's a new atheist group near me that I haven't gone to because every meeting is a Serious Topic for Discussion. The members are almost all male. I just want to live my time on earth and find some friends with similar interests to hang out with that aren't going to put god and church into every discussion.

Darwin was very racist and thought that black people were lower beings than europeans.

 

Darwin was a man of his own time, which was sexist, racist and a lot more things we hope to get rid of. It takes hard work to escape from prejudice, but I think he always tried to think outside the box - in his autobiography you can meet him as a kind person.

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