I feared I would not be able to attend a secular conference this year. Money has been too short and time away from the farm has its opportunity costs. In reading the background of women in secularism, I find there is a CFI-sponsored “Women and Secularism 2” conference in DC an easy day-commute for me–no hotel-restaurant bills, though I miss the evening socializing. I don’t even have to borrow money from my daughter to attend.
It has a fantastic lineup of speakers.
R. Elisabeth Cornwell
Jennifer Michael Hecht
Amy Davis Roth
Here is the list of sessions.
- Faith-Based Pseudo-Science with Carrie Poppy, Amy Davis Roth, Rebecca Watson, and moderator Desiree Schell.
- How Feminism Makes Better Skeptics: The Role Rationality Plays in Ending Sexism with Amanda Marcotte
- The Mattering Map: Religion, Humanism, and Moral Progress with Rebecca Goldstein
- Women Leaving Religion with Jamila Bey, Vyckie D. Garrison, Teresa MacBain, Maryam Namazie, and moderator Stephanie Zvan
- Sexism and Religion: Can the Knot Be Untied? with Katha Pollitt
- Gender Equality in the Secular Movement with Ophelia Benson, R. Elisabeth Cornwell, Debbie Goddard, Stephanie Zvan, and moderator Greta Christina
- Why the Lost History of Secular Women Matters Today with Susan Jacoby
- How Women’s Concerns Can Best Be Advanced within the Context of a Secular Agenda with Soraya Chemaly, Susan Jacoby, Amanda Marcotte, Katha Pollitt, and moderator Jamila Bey
- The History of Atheism, Feminism, and the Science of Brains with Jennifer Michael Hecht
- Secularism: A Right and Demand of Women Worldwide with Maryam Namazie
- Dinner with Shelley Segal
- What the Secular Movement Can Learn from Other Social Movements with Greta Christina, Carrie Poppy, Desiree Schell, and moderator Soraya Chemaly
- Who Speaks for Feminism? with R. Elisabeth Cornwell
I am a 55 year-old, male, exeuropean, always-been atheist. When the Four Horsemen published I was ecstatic. Suddenly, overnight, secularism had gasp, young people, ethnics, and women were showing up–maybe we did have a hope of both inclusion and diversity. It wasn’t just growling, dyspeptic, old, white men. The entire movement revitalized. I played the crap out of Greyden Square’s ”Compton Effect”, a young, black rapper, even though I couldn’t play it in front of family, censoring myself.
When ZomGitsCriss came out, last year, with her antifeminist, feminist video it reminded me of when Susan Faludi wrote “Stiffed” in response to “Backlash.” The issue is the oppression of the income worker versus the family builder. The division of labor in society, especially as it becomes geographically and physically disparate, creates a market economy that favors whatever individual is willing to work the longest for the least for the most number of years. Market pressure will always work to drive down labor costs by decreasing wages or increasing volunteered hours. The entire thing gets corrupted with bias’s of influence–the hero worship of the CEO.
Ostensibly, the most economically valuable member of a capitalist society is the single, celibate, hyper-active, focused individual that believes in the product as a hobby. (My family made the downwardly mobil choice to give up fame and fortune to raise a family on a farm.)
With that in mind how can we balance the desire to raise family with the economic advantage of not participating in family life, by either gender, but especially women as they seek greater inclusion?
Further, how do we evaluate issues of personality and physique, genetics, to best determine full filling roles for all–assuming we value personal well being as a goal, which I think most do?
Finally, environment of need will create opportunities that corrupt this balance. If we are attacked in war, if we become starved by resource depletion, if we are overcome by natural disaster, all bets are off until it is clear what’s needed for remediation, or we default intention to some sort of survival-of-the-fittest chaos. What then?
At any rate, I’m going to listen. I am already an autodidactic creative so I am going to use this as an opportunity to sit back and find out what others think. I think of this as the exploratory, investigative phase.
I want more women in the movement and rather than defining how that should be I want to know what they want and how they think it should happen. We need diversity and inclusion. The absolute worst thing would be to scare women away from an already-too-male demographic.
Jim Newman, bright and well