Yes, we all know polls aren't scientifically meaningful - technically PZ Myers was one of the most influential female atheists of 2009 (should never allow write-ins when Pharyngulites are around). But the way I see it, all the women on this list are winners, and this is just one way to showcase them. Here are the nominees, suggested by my blog readers via twitter and facebook, or added by yours truly:
- Ayaan Hirsi Ali - Women’s rights activist combating militant Islam, author of Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations
- Ophelia Benson - Blogger at and Editor of Butterflies and Wheels
- Greta Christina - Blogger & writer for AlterNet, focusing on atheism, sexuality, and GLBT issues
- Margaret Downey - Activist, founder and president of The Freethought Society
- Annie Laurie Gaylor - Co-founder and current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
- Debbie Goddard - director of African Americans for Humanism and Campus coordinator at the Center for Inquiry
- Sikivu Hutchinson - Author of Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics and the Values Wars, Blogger at Black Agenda Report and The New Humanist
- Susan Jacoby - Writer for the Washington Post on Faith Blog, and director of New York's Center for Inquiry
- Lyz Liddell - Campus organizer for the Secular Student Alliance, still hasn't exploded despite the SSA growing to 231 student groups
- Amanda Marcotte - Blogger at Pandagon, focusing on politics and women's issues
- Maryam Namazie - Writer and Human Rights activist, focusing on secularism and women's rights in Iran
- Cristina Rad (ZOMGitsCriss) - Videoblogger
- Eugenie Scott - executive director of the National Center for Science Education, outspoken opponent of Intelligent Design and creationism
- Valerie Tarico - Author and Blogger at the Huffington Post
- Rebecca Watson - Skepchick and co-host of popular podcast The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe
It was hard selecting just 15 nominees - you can see a much longer list of awesome female atheists here.
Some people will probably think a women-only list is just perpetuating sexism, or implying women can't play with the "big boys" of atheism, so they need their own poll. But really, it's addressing the problem that so many women are doing fabulous things in the movement, but too few people know about their achievements. This is just one way of highlighting all the awesome work they've done in the past year.
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