Bridget Gaudette makes an important point: It’s not enough to sign petitions and criticize others, we also need to take positive steps to encourage more diversity in atheist, skeptic, secular and humanist communities. It’s not an either/or, of course; we can and should do both. But she has this list of organizations that can help:
If you do, value diversity and feminism, I’d like to highlight some groups that are specifically focused on doing just that and at the end offer some suggestions for those who are truly committed to it.
The American Humanists Association has a Feminist Caucus. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
Secular Woman. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
Black Nonbelievers. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
Hispanic American Freethinkers. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
Filipino Freethinkers. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
Black Freethinkers. Blog about it. Donate to it. Spread the word. OFFER TO HELP.
I could go on and on.
Look at their missions and goals. SUPPORT THEM. And while you’re at it, check out the groups that make atheists look good for their charitable work like Foundation Beyond Belief (by the way, the staff is over half women.. ask the Executive Director how he was able to have a diverse, atheist staff).
As I said, this is not an either/or situation. We can and should point out and criticize sexist statements and actions in our communities when we see them (as Ophelia quite justifiably did with Michael Shermer recently, for example). And it needs to be said that a lot of the people who have been targeted by the slymepitters in all kinds of vile ways have also been doing real and important work of exactly the kind mentioned above.
Rebecca Watson and Amy Roth have raised a hell of a lot of money to send women to conferences that could not afford to do so. Rebecca has a list of female speakers to recommend to conference organizers. Ophelia Benson, Stephanie Zvan and others have helped develop model anti-harassment policies for conferences. Just as importantly, they have helped give a voice to women who have been harassed and bullied.
More needs to be done, including by me. And we need to go beyond gender diversity and work also on increasing diversity in terms of race, sexual orientation and gender expression — and just as importantly, to those who left religions other than Christianity. That’s something we have tried to do at Freethought Blogs from the beginning, but there is more to be done. So while we are rightly criticizing behavior that thwarts those efforts, we also all need to do the work necessary to make more diversity a reality in all of our communities.