Where Are All The Female Atheists? Ctd

Katie Engelhart wants the New Atheists to reach out more to women:

Writers have suggested that the doggedness of New Atheism tends to turn off women—and that, for social reasons, women don’t muster the same militancy when defending their (non)beliefs. Others have looked to sexism within the Atheist community (read: Elevatorgate). A few have made unconvincing references to biology. And some academics blame the fact that churches have pulled a retroactive fast one on history: falsely claiming credit for progress on the women’s front.

Or perhaps it’s all a mirage? In a 2011 article in Bitch, journalist Victoria Bekiempis made the provocative claim that the “showboating [Atheist] boys’ club” is a media construct. She notes that around 2006, several news articles were published describing Dawkins et al. as a “band of intellectual brothers”: Atheism’s bullheaded bro-elite. That image—with its tidy narrative and ready stock characters—stuck. Bekiempis’s advice: “Let’s reframe. For every mention of Hitchens, counter with a mention of Hecht.”

Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson, is seen above. Update from a reader:

Don’t forget Madalyn Murray O’Hair! For at least a couple of decades before her mysterious death, she was the face of atheism, certainly in Texas if not nationally. I believe it was her advocacy against school prayer that religious conservatives still use as part of their cultural lamentation.

Previous Dish on women and atheism here.