Atheism, women and the animal rights movement

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Studies indicate that women in the Western World tend to be more religious than men.[1] See also: Atheism and women

A summary of the book Women and the Animal Rights Movement by Emily Gaarder indicates:

Animal rights is one of the fastest growing social movements today. Women greatly outnumber men as activists, yet surprisingly, little has been written about the importance and impact of gender on the movement. Women and the Animal Rights Movement combats stereotypes of women activists as mere sentimentalists by exploring the political and moral character of their advocacy on behalf of animals.[2]

Atheism and women

See also: Atheism and women

Surveys throughout the world and other data indicate that women are less inclined to be atheists.[3] [4]

In 2016, Atheist Alliance International (AAI) conducted an annually reoccurring atheist census project and found:

At the time of writing, the Atheist Census Project recorded that on average worldwide 73.2% of respondents were male. The result is consistent with other research... As such, the focus of many scholarly papers has been on seeking to explain this persistent observation."[5]

In 2015, BloombergView reported concerning the United States: "According to a much-discussed 2012 report from the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life, ...women are 52 percent of the U.S. population but only 36 percent of atheists and agnostics.[6]

A 2009 article in entitled Women More Religious Than Men reported: "A new analysis of survey data finds women pray more often then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men in a variety of other ways...The latest findings, released Friday, are no surprise, only confirming what other studies have found for decades.[7] In 2007, the Pew Research Center found that American women were more religious than American men.[7] Below are some articles related to irreligion and the treatment of animals:

Atheism and animal abuse

See also: Atheism and animal abuse and Atheism and morality

Atheist organizations, women, leadership and animal rights

The leading atheist organizations are not strongly condemning the brutal dog/cat meat trades occurring in countries with state atheism.

Each year thousands of dogs are stolen in China and as many as 20 million dogs are killed in China to satisfy the dog meat industry.[13]

According to ABC News, gruesome techniques are used in Chinese dog slaughterhouses.[14]

China has the world's largest atheist population.[15] It also has state atheism (See: China and atheism).

Most atheists in the world are East Asian (see: Asian atheism).

For more information, please see: Atheists and dog meat eating

Atheist leaders, prominent atheists and misogyny

See also: Atheism and sexism

James Randi is a prominent atheist. Brian Thompson, former James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) Outreach Coordinator, wrote:

But I no longer identify with this community of benevolent know-it-alls, because not all of them are the best folks in the world. In fact, a good percentage of the top ten worst humans I’ve ever met are prominent members of the skeptics’ club. They’re dishonest, mean-spirited, narcissistic, misogynistic. Pick a personality flaw, and I can probably point you to someone who epitomizes it. And that person has probably had a speaking slot at a major skeptical conference.

I grew particularly disgusted with the boys’ club attitude I saw among skeptical leaders and luminaries. The kind of attitude that’s dismissive of women, sexually predatory, and downright gross. When I first started going to skeptical conferences as a fresh-faced know-it-all, I started hearing things about people I once admired. Then I started seeing things myself. Then I got a job with the JREF, and the pattern continued.[16]

In 2018, Kimberly Winston wrote in The Washington Post:

Organized secularism has been struggling with charges of misogyny, sexism and sexual harassment for almost a decade. The problem went public in 2011 when... [an] atheist blogger, Rebecca Watson, described unwanted sexual advances from a man at an atheist conference who followed her into an elevator and to her hotel room.

She was flooded with both supportive and haranguing comments. World-renowned atheist Richard Dawkins told her to “stop whining” and “grow up.” Dawkins — whose appearances at secularist gatherings can make or break attendance — has been called out multiple times for sexist statements but remains much in demand as a speaker.

Richard Carrier, a science historian and popular secularist speaker, has both apologized for and denied accusations of unwanted sexual advances at secularist and atheist events. He has been banned from at least one conference.

Michael Shermer, who has denied allegations of sexual harassment and assault from several women, remains editor of Skeptic magazine and a top speaker at secularist events.

Most recently, cosmologist Lawrence Krauss, another star speaker and best-selling author, was suspended in the spring by Arizona State University for what it described as a decade of inappropriate behavior, some of it at secularist events.

The alleged misconduct of these leaders, “was tacitly co-signed by an atheist leadership that is largely hostile to social and gender justice and complicit in the marginalization of women’s issues,” said Sikivu Hutchinson, an activist who is often critical of organized atheism on the subject of women and people of color. “The atheist movement is no different from other male-dominated bastions in which sexual harassment and predatory behavior toward women are part of the culture.”[17]

American Atheist replacement of David Silverman. Commentary by atheist Ed Brayton

See also: Atheism and leadership and Western atheism and race

When David Silverman was replaced by Nick Fish who is also a white male, the atheist Ed Brayton wrote:

In the wake of the firing of David Silverman after allegations of sexual and financial misconduct, American Atheists has named Nick Fish, formerly the national program director for the group, as the new president to replace him. I find this news to be quite disappointing and it has nothing to do with Fish personally.

...I’m disappointed that they didn’t take the opportunity to appoint a woman to lead the group. Especially in the wake of Silverman’s actions that led to his downfall, I think that would have sent a very important message. More than that, it would have helped bring a perspective that is far too often ignored, dismissed and even denigrated within the broad atheist community.

We need more women in positions of leadership, and more minorities as well. We need to stop being a community led mostly by old white men like me.[18]


  1. Multiple references:
  2. Women and the Animal Rights Movement
  3. Khan, Razib (November 18, 2010). "Gene expression; Sex differences in global atheism, part N". Discover magazine website.
  4. Myers, P.Z. (June 29, 2010). "The woman problem". Pharyngula [blog].
  5. AAI Position Statement - Gender Balance
  6. Carter, Stephen L. (March 27, 2015). "The atheism gap". BloombergView.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Britt, Robert Roy (February 28, 2009). "Women more religious than men". Live Science website.
  8. *Chinese Dog Meat Festival | Undercover Cameras Reveal Brutality Chinese Dog Meat Festival | Undercover Cameras Reveal Brutality, ABC News, YouTube
  9. 375 cats saved from Chinese slaughterhouse after tip-off from heartbroken cat lover, Humane Society International website
  10. The cat meat trade in China, Daily Mail
  11. DROWNED LIKE RATS Gruesome pictures show a cat meat market in Vietnam where terrified pets are caged, killed and cooked, The Sun, March 2018
  12. Inside a sickening cat meat market: Photos reveal the horror of barbaric cat trade, Express, 2018
  13. The Chinese Government Must Stop Pet Dogs Being Stolen For Meat by JERRY GADIANO, Unilad website
  14. Chinese Dog Meat Festival | Undercover Cameras Reveal Brutality Chinese Dog Meat Festival | Undercover Cameras Reveal Brutality, ABC News, YouTube
  15. *Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics (Zuckerman, 2005)*A surprising map of where the world’s atheists live, Washington Post By Max Fisher and Caitlin Dewey May 23, 2013
  16. Myers, P. Z. (March 31, 2014). "When will this situation improve?".
  17. America’s leading atheist, accused of sexual misconduct, speaks out by Kimberly Winston September 6, 2018, The Washington Post
  18. Nick Fish is New Leader of American Atheists, Ed Brayton, 2018