Are You A Young Female Atheist Or Skeptic In Australia?

Breaking my silence for an important message about something that has been on my mind for a while…

I was the MC for the Global Atheist Conventions and have attended or presented at a number of Australian and international atheist and skeptical conventions. I’ve been on the same stage as women like Leslie Cannold, Jane Caro, Catherine Deveny; supported the work of a number of young atheist women such as the vodcaster FearBlandness and the podcasters of the Young Australian Skeptics; students at a number of universities under the Freethought University Alliance banner, and have put the word out for the efforts of a number of writers, activists and academics wherever I can, particularly if they’re from a minority group.

If it’s Australian women? Even better. In fact after the 2010 Global Atheist Convention, I wrote about encouraging opportunities to speak out and how important it was to develop communication skills in order to confidently present your views in a number of venues (not just online). Love or loathe the atheist Prime Minister Julia Gillard, she didn’t get where she has today by not working on her rhetorical techniques.

Why am I doing this call-out now?

Jack Scanlan of the Young Australian Skeptics has asked for help – he’s presenting at an event and trying to find names to help with a panel discussion:

Here’s more detail about the event:

Four Squires: A new generation of freethinkers

Anyone involved with the atheist or freethinker communities will be familiar with The Four Horsemen — a now legendary two hour conversation between Christopher Hitchens, Dan Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, which occurred on the 30th September 2007 and the follow up which saw Ayaan Hirsi Ali step into Hitchens’ shoes. In the spirit of these discussion four young new lights to take the conversation onward.  Please join Jonathan MeddingsJason Ball, Olivia Lesslar and Jack Scanlan as they discuss the future of atheism and freethought and the challenges for a new generation. 

5.00pm Saturday 24th November at Embiggen Books, 197-203 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.

[BTW - Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in my opinion, didn't "step into shoes" of anyone; she just couldn't make the first gathering back in 2007 and can stand in her own boots quite frankly!]

It may well be by the time the Tweets about this have gone out (HUGE thanks to everyone who has already passed on the message – I’ve been adding new follows as a result!) that he may have a good idea of replacements for the event…

… but I’d like to see more of us identifying as potential contacts for the future. While this callout by Jack has been for young female atheists in the Melbourne area, I know that there’s more all over the country!

Jot down your suggestions in the comments on this blogpost or zip them as a Tweet to Jack and I’ll Storify the results later.

Even just a Twitter tag or a link to a blog is fine, if you’re suggesting another person or are preferring to just get a shout-out to start with – because to be honest, any panel that appears at a future Australian atheist or skeptic event that does NOT have an atheist and / or skeptical woman and /or minority representative should have a good hard look at the organisers’ priorities and openly reminding them that it shouldn’t just be about encouraging overseas talent at the expense of local voices that deserve a chance to shine. 

It was one of the things that made me proud about the Global Atheist Convention and the AFA in 2010 and 2012, that they were really clued in about encouraging a range of people and local talent – and it shouldn’t stop now.

Post in a link, comment or zip a Tweet to Jack and help out this one event and make future ones even better.

About Kylie Sturgess

Kylie Sturgess is a Philosophy teacher, media and psychology student, blogger at Patheos and podcaster at Token Skeptic. She has conducted over a hundred interviews including artists, scientists, politicians and activists, worldwide.
She’s the author of the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser‘ column at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry website and travels internationally lecturing on feminism, skepticism, and science.

  • JohnJ

    I would also recommend Fear Blandness (Holly), also the groups who run atheism and skepticism clubs and meetups should be contacted as there’s lots of women involved in those.

    It’s a shame its for under 30s, I think if you limit by age too much it’s a problem but defining what’s ‘young’ has to be done somehow.

  • Juleea

    Not that I’m assuming that all scientists are atheists — but you should try putting the word out to science students groups in Melbourne and see if there’s anyone there who could help?

    Also try Cherchez la Femme, they did a event for science week that’s online as a podcast

  • Juleea

    Not that I’m saying all scientists are atheists — but contacting science students groups is a good start.

    Also, – Cherchez la Femme did a panel last year and it’s online as a podcast.

    • Kylie Sturgess

      Sorry, your comment went to spam – thanks for the suggestions all!

  • Swine Before Pearls

    If you are an Australian atheist woman, you should make sure your name also gets included on

    Michael Nugent, if you’re reading this too, some of the names on this list are repeatedso you should check for duplicates and make sure that your 1000 includes Australian and New Zealand women too!

    ‘This is a list of over a thousand women, from different parts of the world and with different areas of expertise, who would make excellent speakers at atheist, skeptic, scientific or human rights events. If you can’t invite any of them specifically, the list may trigger ideas of similar women who you can invite.’


  • Brianne Bilyeu

    Cool! I put this up on reddit and twitter. I hope you get lots of submissions!