I Am (Secular) Woman, Hear Me Roar!
A few weeks ago I got a message from my friend Kim Rippere that something very exciting was happening, something that I would find of interest, and something that would benefit the atheist and secular communities. I didn’t know what it was, but Kim informed me she’d give me details once everything had been finalised, and to hold tight and keep it very “hush hush”.
Later on it became clear. Kim, along with the help of Bridget Gaudette, Brandi Braschler and Mary Ellen Sykes, have been working together over the past month or so to put together a foundation called Secular Woman. This is the vision of the foundation:
Later this week, I received this document from one of the founders of Secular Woman, Bridget Gaudette:
It took 40 days and 40 nights. What started off as a conversation among two female Atheist activists has now blossomed into a full-fledged incorporated nonprofit whose mission is to amplify the voice, presence, and influence of non-religious women: Secular Woman, Inc.
The following is a timeline of events:
|-39||05/20/12||Kim Rippere has an idea and calls Bridget Gaudette|
|Kim Rippere begins Facebook group and invites a few women to join the board, including Brandi Braschler and Mary Ellen Sikes|
|-35||05/24/12||Secular Woman adopted as the name|
|-29||05/30/12||Domain names purchased|
|-29||05/30/12||P.O. Box purchased|
|-22||06/06/12||Facebook Members Only group created|
|-21||06/07/12||Facebook like page reserved|
|-15||06/11/12||Business license purchased|
|-16||06/12/12||Launch date chosen|
|-19||06/15/12||Become member of National Council of Women’s Organizations|
|0||06/28/12||2:00 am Website goes public|
|2:30 am Initial press releases are sent|
|6:35 am First member|
|9:16 am Mobilize! “Like” the Facebook page, first announcement posted to Kim Rippere’s Facebook Wall.|
|10:53 Facebook likes reaches 100|
|12:59 25 Free Student Memberships are taken|
|2:21 100 Twitter Followers|
|06/29/12||30% Coalition Letter Goes out|
|3:37pm 500 Facebook likes|
|1||06/29/12||8:00pm First Hater: “So we got an incomplete (= abandoned on PayPal) $4,000 donation from Skanky Cunts Whores at email@example.com who lives at the White House.”|
On June 28, 2012 Secular Woman mobilized. News of the new organization was immediately featured on Glenn Beck’s conservative news and opinion website The Blaze, with the reporter Billy Hallowell stating that “[Secular Woman is] evidence that non-believers are working feverishly to harness and secure power”. What was this based on? Perhaps the stated vision of Secular Woman, “[We] envision a future in which women without supernatural beliefs have the opportunities and resources they need to participate openly and confidently as respected voices of leadership in the secular community and every aspect of American society.”
How does Secular Woman propose to do this? The focus will begin in the atheist community. The group has set up a speakers bureau as a way to showcase a newer, perhaps lesser known group of female orators. In addition, the founders have started an anti-harassment registry, an online repository where secular organizations can showcase their proactivity in addressing harassment at conferences by displaying their policies. In an effort to increase the attendance of women at the above mentioned conferences, Secular Woman will be providing grants that will cover travel, lodging and entry into these events for female member that apply. The organizations that have provided their anti-harassment policies will be given preference when these grants are distributed. Other resources and programs include annual awards, a place to advertise services and products, a list of local women’s groups.
Secular Woman’s board is driven by the belief that feminism encourages full and equal participation by women. This includes in the secular community.
I find this very exciting, as many of my online friends in the secular community are American Women. But I see an advantage here for not only the women of America; this helps empower women of secular values worldwide, giving voice to those who may feel without, and the courage to rise above the tide of misogyny caused by religion and politics worldwide. As you can see, the group has already met with some resistance. The message from the hater, proves as much. This threatens some people out there, and that’s all the more reason to move forward with it.
I, an Australian man, have joined Secular Woman. I am a Secular Woman member. And so should you be.