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Old 08-01-2013, 07:56 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruithne
Otherwise surely there would be an equal number of female atheists in both countries?
There are less in both cases however. It's not the total, but the fact there seems to be consistently less women to men in both countries that I find interesting. The percentage is quite striking however, 66 percent less in the US, and only about 20 percent less in Britain. More data is needed.

I'm not saying my suspicion is the ONLY reason for this disparity, only that it's a possible contributing factor.

Let's be honest here. God belief is very nebulous and hard to track as a data set. I've a suspicion the number of men and women who actually believe is actually lower in both countries and throughout the world. I suspect many people say they believe just to go along with the crowd. It might be the gulf is actually greater than these numbers indicate.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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One of the problems I see is that women atheists are marginalized, just as women were marginalized in the civil rights movement back in the 1960s. Men don't want to see women as equals in this movement any more than they did back then.

See: Sexism in the Civil Rights Movement: A Discussion Guide | Teaching Tolerance

Good Grief, Madalyn Murray Ohare founded the American Atheists.

Where Are All The Atheist Women? Right Here

Quote:
Since then, women continue to fill leadership positions in the movement. Lori Lipman Brown is the founding director of Secular Coalition for America, the only lobbying group for atheist, agnostic and humanist Americans. Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-founder and current co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an organization devoted to upholding the separation of church and state. Camp Quest, a summer camp for children of parents with naturalistic worldviews, was co-founded by Helen Kagin and currently has Amanda Metskas as its executive director. Lyz Liddell is director of campus organizing for the Secular Student Alliance. Debbie Goddard is the director of African Americans for Humanism and campus outreach coordinator at the Center for Inquiry. Before someone quips that there are no atheist women in foxholes, Kathleen Johnson is the founder of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, in addition to being vice president of American Atheists.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
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Interesting topic!

I'm a female atheist, just for the record. But, I'm thinking culture and environment has a part in this. It would depend on where you grew up and what you grew up with. In some cultures women can't even wear a t shirt or pants. Fat chance they'd be able to express their beliefs if they differed from the norm.

I'd be curious at how it broke down in comparison to woman's rights throughout the world or even nationally. Some local cultures hold certain religions above all else and some women have their kids to think about.

The hispanic culture in my area comes to mind. If you aren't Catholic your odd, if you're atheist YIKES. Women don't mind being odd but they don't want it to influence their family, children to be exact. They might wait until the nest is clear before they profess their lack of belief and alienate themselves from family and friends.

Fortunately for me I haven't felt the need for that with my children as most of my family and friends are non believers.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Hyrule
8,398 posts, read 9,900,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
One of the problems I see is that women atheists are marginalized, just as women were marginalized in the civil rights movement back in the 1960s. Men don't want to see women as equals in this movement any more than they did back then.

See: Sexism in the Civil Rights Movement: A Discussion Guide | Teaching Tolerance

Good Grief, Madalyn Murray Ohare founded the American Atheists.

Where Are All The Atheist Women? Right Here
Good to see! Thanks for posting this nana.
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Old 08-01-2013, 08:35 PM
 
243 posts, read 389,899 times
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Quote:
I could easily make a comment stating that men can't wholly and faithfully commit to something that requires devotion, love, and sacrifice; whether that be a relationship or something like being a practicing Christian/Jew/Muslim etc. Football excluded, of course . I kid, I kid.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOTaTHEIST View Post
First of all, I don't think you're completely wrong here. I would say it a bit differently. Women probably are better at these things than men are. That's not saying all men can't accomplish these things nor all women will always accomplish these things better.
I wasn't quite serious when I said that; it was just an easy example to show that any stereotype can be worded in a way to support a person's ideas.

I could have countered that and said in the Catholic church, men make a much greater sacrifice than women do when they are ordained or take their vows (are those the right terms? I'm largely unfamiliar with Catholic traditions) and promise to remain celibate. Going by the stereotype, it would show a capacity for greater devotion to god on a man's part to abstain from sex than it would for a women. Of course I believe that's rubbish, but it's the stereotype.

I actually really liked the article in the OP. I think the author touched on some really great points that I'm much more inclined to believe.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:03 PM
 
354 posts, read 246,030 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roscomac View Post
I find it funny that so many among us who have rejected a non-evidenced-based explanation for things we do not currently understand are so willing to assign a non-evidence-based cause for the gender disparity in atheism, which we do not currently understand.
I agree. However, observation is the first step in the scientific method. We get a bit of data which says women disproportionately identify as atheist (which might have nothing to do with actual belief). Then we come up with hypothesizes as to why this disparity exists. The next step would be testing and collecting data, which I'd be all for, but seriously doubt will happen considering how difficult it would be quantify emotion in the process of coming to god belief.



It might however be easier to quantify how emotion overall directly effects volition in both sexes. It's pretty obvious emotion is a major contributing factor in both sexes. If it could be shown emotion is typically a more prominent determinate (or at least handled differently) in the female than the male, then my idea would carry more weight. I would suspect a study of this sort has been done more than once, and with brain scans this should be fairly easy to demonstrate by simply showing which areas of the brain are more active.



I did tease out this little bit of highly technical brain information

Link to article; Gender Differences in Human Brain: A Review... http://www.benthamscience.com/open/t.../37TOANATJ.pdf

Quote:
Specifically, the studies consistently indicate a preferential involvement of the left amygdala in memory for emotional material (generally visual images) in women, but a preferential involvement of the right amygdala in memory for the same material in men [49-51]. In an intriguing parallel with the
studies in humans, it was reported that stimulation of the right but not the left hemisphere amygdala modulates memory storage in male rats [52]. There is a distinct hemispheric relationship with sex in regards to the amygdala’s function in memory. Preferential activation occurred in the left amygdala in women and in the right amygdala in men. This implies sex-specific hemispheric lateralization of amygdala function, and possibly different ways of processing emotionally arousing memories. This hemispheric lateralization was also present in resting conditions, indicating a fundamental sex difference in how
the amygdala functions [53].
and

Quote:
Emotions

Male oriented brains, hardly express feelings. It is due to the use of the right hemisphere only. Male brains separate language, in the left, and emotions in the right, while the female’s emotions are in both hemispheres. It helps explain why the male brain has a hard time expressing its feelings
This at least shows there are significant differences in how the brains of both sex process information and emotion. If the male brain has a more difficult time expressing its feelings, would it also have a harder time using those feelings to make decisions? And would the reverse be true of the female?
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Old 08-02-2013, 07:12 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
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Thread content so far has given me an excuse to link to this classic article...prepare to be offended, roscomac:

Why Women Aren't Funny | Vanity Fair

Have to admit, if someone tried to convince me that the author of that article was someone named Christine Hitchens, I wouldn't believe it for a second. Too cynical...and ultimately, too entertaining. Sorry, but that's my honest opinion. Do a study on the cynicism gender gap sometime (however that would be defined, exactly)...I'd actually like to see a gender-gap study done on self-identification as nihilists. Guarantee the gap would be wider than it is for current declaration of atheism in the US/UK...also, check the gender gap in suicide rates; males commit suicide far more than women do (although if memory serves there was one outlier country, of all the nations for which stats are/were available, where female suicides are/were more prevalent...I'm too lazy to search for more than one link for this post, but these suicide-by-sex statistics are available on Wikipedia).

As Hitch asserts in the article above, males are far more likely to entertain the notion that life itself is a joke. And, apologies for eschewing political correctness once again, but that's the closest thing to a "correct" fundamental worldview that one can have.
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Old 08-02-2013, 10:33 AM
 
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I'm a woman and an atheist. I was born in a fairly diverse university town in northern Italy. I was brought up by my parents to question everything, to never accept something as fact without evidence that can be observed experimentally, theoretically, visually, etc. My parents let me and my sibling grow up without any religious instruction or background. They said that it would be up to us as adults to decide for ourselves.

In Italian public schools, there is a one hour Catechism class each week. This is the result of the 1929 Lateran Treaty signed by Mussolini and the Catholic Church. Attendance is optional and, if you choose not to attend, you must take an 'alternative' class. I and many of my fellow students did not attend this class (instead, I had such great alternative classes as History of Rock'n'Roll, creative writing and architectural drafting).

However, we did have theology and history of religions included in our geography lessons. I learned early on about various religions - old and new - and belief systems (we also had required ancient Greek and Latin, which also had in-depth studies of mythology).

Anyway, I am still an atheist. I don't pretend I have all the answers but I don't ascribe the 'mysteries' of the universe to a deity. I simply believe that, as science progresses, we will find out more and more - but possibly also have more 'mysteries' to solve in the future.

I think that onoe of the major reasons why fewer women tend to be atheists is the patriarchal structure of most societies around the world, which deem women to be lesser beings who need to be 'controlled' from birth into a very definite structure.

This 'control' begins early and innocently, even today, even here in the U.S. For example, girls are given dolls and other toys with certain characteristics such as pink hues, ribbons, glitter, etc. They are told they are princesses, they are judged on their 'cuteness' and are disciplined for being rambunctious or rebellious (rebelliousness often is connected to questioning authority). They are praised for being fashionable and 'pretty' especially if they fit a stereotype.

I could go on, but I do think that the 'princess' syndrome certainly does not lead to questioning, finding your own path and rejecting the idea of a deity or deities.
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Old 08-02-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,197 posts, read 9,094,403 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCgirl2LVNV View Post
I think that one of the major reasons why fewer women tend to be atheists is the patriarchal structure of most societies around the world, which deem women to be lesser beings who need to be 'controlled' from birth into a very definite structure.
Unfortunately there is much, I believe, to your theory. However, I do believe that many women are closet unbelievers just as for generations, women quietly found their ways around other aspects of patriarchy without seeming to ;-)

My late wife's grandfather was the sort that would give someone the shirt of his back and frequently did. His wife did not much appreciate this as she was the one who had to make ends meet ... but the early 20th century was not a place to be "wearing the pants" in the family. She had a way, however, of making grandpa's life a living hell, very sweetly, any time he "loaned" tools and supplies from the farm and then did not track it or see to it that they were returned. I'm sure he thought over the years as he drew back from being over-generous, that it was all HIS idea to do so ;-)
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Old 08-03-2013, 04:24 AM
 
Location: 'greater' Buffalo, NY
3,067 posts, read 2,111,656 times
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mordant, if you wrote an autobiography, I would read it, just for the record. Your way of describing otherwise unextraordinary topics is a pleasure to behold.

North Carolina girl to Las Vegas, Nevada (heh) wrote a nice post as well. I took a history of rock music class in college; I'm jealous that you had this option in what I assume was high school/"secondary school"

This may only be tangentially related to the thread, but I really feel like American high schools should teach philosophy, a la France, maybe others (only nation I know of offhand). But that might be when increased critical thinking skills (on aggregate) stops correlating with increased GDP per capita...the cause of freedom from religion would certainly be enabled (for either gender)

Last edited by Matt Marcinkiewicz; 08-03-2013 at 04:35 AM.. Reason: parentheticalism
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