Let's Recognize and Reignite Humanism's Feminist Legacy

Although conference attendance often shows a disproportionate number of older white men, that doesn't accurately reflect actual participation in the movement. In fact, the largest audience for humanists today is probably on Facebook, where the AHA enjoys over 70,000 followers and a more even percentage is women. But even in local communities where a gender imbalance is more common, it's interesting to note the increased gender balance among the groups recently launched. It seems that our movement is evolving in the right direction. Our leaders should seek to cooperate to continue this trend.

And speaking of trends, the evidence is in that our movement's new push for female and feminist outreach is well-timed. According to a Barna study on religion, women are fleeing from traditional religion in record numbers. Women's attendance in church sank by 11 percentage points since 1991, Bible reading plummeted by 10 percentage points, and Sunday school involvement is down 7 points. And the number of women who are "unchurched" has risen 17 percentage points, so that now more than half of American women haven't attended church in the last six months.

Today there are many fronts in this struggle that humanists are leading in favor of civil rights and against the war on women. Not only is it necessary to support the ERA, the Violence Against Women Act, and other positive efforts to equal the playing field, we must also vigorously challenge Christian Right groups and their intellectual offspring who are on the offensive again in regards to discrimination against women.

That is why it is so essential that we reignite humanism's feminist legacy.

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9/2/2012 4:00:00 AM