Is there any correlation between Atheism and gender?

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This topic contains 14 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Lynne Martin 3 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #90

    Kirk LeFou
    Participant

    I listen to the podcast version of the Atheist Experience tv show. It seems like an overwhelming majority of Atheist callers to the show are male. Does anybody have any theories or data on why that would be?

    #92

    guest1
    Member

    According to PEW

    “More than a quarter of men (27%) now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, up from 20% in 2007. Fewer women are religious “nones,” but the religiously unaffiliated are growing among women at about the same rate as among men. Nearly one-in-five women (19%) now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, up from 13% in 2007.”

    #93

    Beth
    Participant

    Not sure about why fewer women identify as “none”, because it seems to me religion is generally unkind to women (with the exception of some more liberal denominations). I couldn’t identify with a religion that blamed my gender by proxy for all human suffering and expects me to be silent and submissive.
    I do find it disconcerting that most public atheists are male. I can’t come up with the name of a famous female atheist at the top of my head. A lot of people are probably under the impression that all atheists are angry white guys!

    #94

    Kirk LeFou
    Participant

    Beth, that’s a really good point about society not having many famous female Atheists. Hopefully things will change soon and even the balance!

    #107

    Valeria
    Participant

    I think that girls are taught from a very young age to “get along” and don’t buck trends, that it is easier for them to be part of the group even when they aren’t. So if the family grew up religious, it’s harder for girls to go against the grain. What with so many things being blamed on women’s choices and feminism and whatnot, I can see how coming out of the atheist closet could feel like yet another thing for people to disapproving about you. Even strong women who seem to be thinkers still cling to the the religion as if to say, ” you can hate me for being strong and having a voice, at least I believe in god and you can’t hate me for that…”

    I wouldn’t want to be part of a group who’s opinion of me is that i’m the cause of all sin and should be subjugated and without a voice. or that my skin color means I’m cursed by their god and doomed to hell.

    #134

    Matt
    Participant

    Didn’t we have this discussion over on TA? I think the theory goes that women have a stronger need to fit into a community. So if they are already part of a christian community, they are more likely to stay and pretend to believe.

    If this is correct, one of the things we can do to attract more female atheists is to expose our communities to the general public. Let it be shown that atheists have community too.

    #823

    Unseen
    Participant

    Something is often instilled in women in their growing up that makes them far more susceptible to woo.

    If you go to a shop devoted to New Ageism and other woo-ish things, chances are the proprietor will be female and the majority of those browsing the goods as well.

    It may be that society impresses women that science-y things are a guy thing. One of the good things about the History Channel’s The Universe series is that at least half of the astronomers, cosmologists, and physicists quoted on the show are women. Hopefully, girls are watching.

    #826

    BeckyL
    Participant

    I was raised in a traditional patriarchal family where my thoughts on many subjects were treated with condescension at best and mocked at worst. (For example, I asked for an erector set for Christmas one year and got a doll instead because erector sets are for boys. My parents thought it was cute that I asked for the erector set but were sure I didn’t really want it.) It would be easy to say that my family is an anomaly, but I’ve found that similar attitudes have carried over into my adult life. Almost every day, I come across situations where I struggle to have someone who will listen to me, but when a male coworker says the exact same thing I just said, it’s like the sun shines out of his ass. And I work in a female-dominated profession. I can only imagine what women in traditionally male professions deal with. So, women often learn to keep their opinions to themselves, especially when it comes to topics that provoke as much emotion as religion. My mother was a lifelong agnostic, but I am willing to bet that if you asked my dad about my mom’s beliefs, he would swear her beliefs were just like his. @unseen – I wonder if maybe women seem more susceptible to “woo” because at least the woo-ish people listen to them. Maybe women are into science-y things too, but maybe science-y guys aren’t giving them a chance.

    #829

    Unseen
    Participant

    @unseen – I wonder if maybe women seem more susceptible to “woo” because at least the woo-ish people listen to them. Maybe women are into science-y things too, but maybe science-y guys aren’t giving them a chance.

    But most of the woo-ish listeners are likely to be female as well.

    Males live in a culture where you make chances for yourself. The women who succeed tend to be those who adapt to and adopt this sort of culture.

    #833

    BeckyL
    Participant

    @unseen – I wonder if maybe women seem more susceptible to “woo” because at least the woo-ish people listen to them. Maybe women are into science-y things too, but maybe science-y guys aren’t giving them a chance.

    But most of the woo-ish listeners are likely to be female as well.

    Males live in a culture where you make chances for yourself. The women who succeed tend to be those who adapt to and adopt this sort of culture.

    You won’t find any disagreement here. I am a champ at making chances for myself and I learned early on that being lady-like in the sense that “ladies shouldn’t make a fuss” doesn’t do me any favors. The trade off is that by using male tactics, I am perceived to be a ball-buster and a bitch… for behaving exactly the same way as my male counterparts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be so plain-spoken. On the other hand, experts on career advancement tell women that they should be plain-spoken in order to be heard and to get results. It’s a catch-22 for women. And, if you are fighting that sort of battle all of the time at work, do you really want to fight that battle when the discussion turns to atheism or when you are discussing science (supposing those areas aren’t your line of work)? I think for many women, the answer is no. It’s just easier to be quiet. Are there more men who are atheists than there are women? Personally, I doubt it, but until it is more comfortable for women to speak up, it’s difficult to know for sure.

    #834

    Unseen
    Participant

    Women who shoulder their way through life and step on others are thought of as bitches. Men who do so aren’t off the hook, though. They are thought of as bastards.

    #838

    BeckyL
    Participant

    Women who shoulder their way through life and step on others are thought of as bitches. Men who do so aren’t off the hook, though. They are thought of as bastards.

    Maybe. I don’t think they are vilified in the same way though.

    #847

    Mike Long
    Participant

    I fully agree, Becky. Men and women are treated differently. Aggressive women are “bitches”, but aggressive men are “powerful” and “determined”.

    The human race is missing out on a lot of talent – and talent we sorely lack and we desperately need – like talent for promoting social cohesion and talent for speaking truth directly without giving offence.

    Men and women, in my opinion, DO have cognitive differences. Girls who want Erector Sets should be given a full measure of encouragement. However, at the same time, we should recognize that more men will want to be engineers.

    In contrast, politics should be the domain of women. I won’t be happy until the percentage of women politicians surpasses the percentage of male engineers.

    In terms of atheism, perhaps men are more likely to view the world purely as physical interactions whereas women might be more likely to find a place for normal human uncertainty – things like love and god.

    #877

    McSkeptic
    Participant

    The founder of American Atheists was a woman, Madalyn Murray O’Hair.

    Madalyn Murray O’Hair

    American Atheists

    In this society, women are held to a different standard than men — that is unfortunate. There are probably more derogatory words used to describe strong or outspoken women than for any other group. Those words have one use, and one use only: to attempt to get women to retreat instead of standing up for themselves, lest they be labeled a “bitch,” “whore,” “ho,” and others. The last two are especially egregious, and are aimed, and used at the expense of, the most desperate and disadvantaged women in our society.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by  McSkeptic. Reason: typo
    #955

    Lynne Martin
    Participant

    Women in the past followed in the wake of parents, husbands, their family belief systems.
    They did not have a loud voice or at least it was discouraged completely.
    Thankfully we are moving on in the modern world.
    But remember too many women still have to fight to free themselves from repressed societies sadly even in this country. In a country where so many folks still think evolution is a “theory” we still have a long journey.

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