It is a pretty good question. When you scan the writers of atheist blogs and those who comment on them, the overwhelming majority are men. Jen, who writes the feminist atheist blog Blag Hag, recently did a survey of her readers and found that 75% of them are male. Now this is a blog you would think more women than men would be reading. Then again, Jen is kinda cute so maybe that is what all the guys are doing there.
Joking aside, the lack of women in the atheist movement is worrying. What are atheists doing wrong that women don’t feel comfortable joining the movement? I really don’t think it is because considerably more men than women identify as atheist. To me (and this is just my personal opinion) atheism can be a very feminist viewpoint. The majority of religions relegate women to the role of baby makers and slave of the husband. Some religions have tried to move with the times promoting women to higher positions of power, but these moves have met with an awful lots of resistance resulting in the splintering of some religious groups. To come out and free yourself of this mindset and the notion that a mythical being would see you as a second class citizen is a very loud and proud feminist statement, yet few women seem to be making it.
Could it be that the most well-known atheists (Richard Dawkins & Christopher Hitchens) come across as angry men and women are turned off by this? That is very possible. I find yelling at people about their religious beliefs not very attractive and initially that is what I thought the atheist movement was. That is just not me nor what I am about which is why I avoided the atheist movement for many years. I’m fine with people believing what they want to, it’s their right. It is when their beliefs negatively affects laws, scientific advancement and technology that I start having a huge problem with religion and I am none too quiet about that.
Perhaps the Atheist movement needs a facelift, needs more “moderates” to come out and express their views to start attracting women to it. This is not saying that some women don’t appreciate a good yelling, but I’m guessing that they are already here. We really need to make atheism appeal to those women who move more quietly through life but still want to tell people that there is another way to live their lives free of the stranglehold of religion. I’m just not really sure how to go about doing that.