Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Most Influential Female Atheist of 2010

It's that time of year again! Yep, time for arbitrarily quantifiable Top 10 lists. Last year's poll on influential atheist women was so successful, I felt like it would be a great idea to do one again.

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:
I know it's hard to vote when there are so many awesome women on one list, so you can vote for up to three. If you want to vote for someone not on the list, please select "Other" and leave your vote in the comments:

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.

*People using Google Reader or other RSS feed aggregators may not be able to see the poll. Please visit the original post to voice your opinion!


  1. Where did all the comments go?

  2. Just a note about Maryam Namazie: she's a Communist, and when it comes to women's rights, Communism doesn't have a much better track record than your average God-bothering regime. For example, in Communist Romania, not only abortion but contraception was forbidden; single and childless women were taxed; and women were subjected to pregnancy tests at their workplaces to make sure they weren't shirking their duty of breeding for the state. If I lived in Romania, I'd have to kiss my one-child-by-choice lifestyle good-bye or face some severe penalties. So sorry, while Namazie might be rightly critical of the sexist tendencies in major religions like Islam and Christianity, she hasn't embraced a much better alternative.

  3. What a load of nonsense emilializ.

    To begin with, your perceptions of communism are clearly coloured by propaganda originating from western right-wing press (think the lying Murdoch empire).

    Secondly, the "communist" regime you mentioned, Romania, and indeed pretty well all such states that ever claimed to be, are not really "communist" at all - they are merely centralised totalitarian dictatorships. No "true" communist nation has EVER existed, in fact - i.e. an administration adhering strictly to Marxist-Leninist socialist principles.

    Then your argument totally falls apart if you choose China to compare with - you would OBLIGED to have only one child (but still have little or no rights in general, though). So let's be clear about this- "communism" per se has nothing inherently to say about your rights to bear children.

    The ideology of Worker-communist Party of Iran, to which Maryam Namazie belongs, is not strictly communist either - merely socialist, and more concerned with the overthrow of the existing Islamic state of Iran than about implementing a socialist state to replace it. They would be delighted even to achieve a western style democracy, and this goal is surely one that even you would have to identify with? Even if the WPI were a true communist party, simply belonging to a political movement does not necessarily imply either that you go along with everything that movement embraces. It is expedient for Namazie to be in WPI, because it is the most serious extant political threat to Iran. There is no gain in weakening an effective political opposition movement solely on ideological grounds -that's just  politics 101.

    In the light of these rational observations, where then is your substantiating evidence that Namazie is a "communist"?

    From my perspective, Maryam Namazie is motivated more by a strong sense of equality and social justice, particularly where women are concerned, than she is by other political considerations. I'm supposing here that you have never heard her speak nor read anything she has written? You would not have posted as you did if you knew more about her.

    For the record, I do not endorse communism at all - I see true communism as totally unworkable because it is too easily (inevitably?) subverted and corrupted by self-interested cliques - e.g. the former USSR, most eastern European communist states, and China. Certainly life under these states would afford individuals of either gender far fewer freedoms than we do living in so-called democratic states (that's another debate entirely though). However, for all their restrictions, life is manifestly much fairer under communist regimes than it is in those states adhering to Sharia or Judeo-Christian old testament style of justice such as was imposed on most of the western world during the dark ages.

    That's my rant. Thanks for bearing with me, and best wishes.


  4. I certainly don't approve of China's one-child policy. Even if I've personally chosen to have only one biological child, I don't presume that that's the right choice for every other woman. By the same token, I chose to stay home with my daughter and work out of my house after she was born, but that doesn't mean I think every woman should choose the same. So the moral of the story is that women's reproductive rights get short shrift either way in Communist regimes.