Thank you for visiting the More Women in Skepticism blog, a handy guide for addressing the presence of sexism in the skeptical movement for the purpose of increasing the percentage of female members. With a few modifications (made by you), it could probably serve equally well to address the presence of sexism in the atheist movement, or geek culture, or technical fields, or any group of people in which men far outnumber women for no biological reason. Hopefully it would be useful to any group trying to reach out to any underrepresented demographic, but I wouldn’t want to presume.
A skeptic suggested once that addressing sexism once a year was sufficient, and that to bring it up too often would be boring. I disagree. I believe that sexism in the skeptical community should be addressed often, with nuance, and I’ve noticed that whenever sexism is a topic within the skeptical community people flock to the boards and blogs to discuss it. It is the least boring topic I have ever encountered. It is my goal, then, to provide a forum in which skeptics can discuss the various aspects of sexism that dissuade female skeptics from actively participating. It is not a forum in which skeptics can argue that sexism does not exist; sexism is a non-controversial fact covered by decades of peer-reviewed scholarly research. Nor is it a forum in which skeptics can argue that sexism is a problem for men in the skeptical movement. (Clearly, the skeptical movement has no trouble attracting and retaining male members.) If you need to explain how sexism causes problems for men in the skeptical movement, please start your own blog and make your arguments there.
Now for the ground rules:
- These are my experiences; this is my advice. Until you are me, you don’t know what it is like to be me, and you have no grounds for contesting what I say I have experienced. If you want to learn more about what it’s like to be this woman in skepticism, you have to listen. There is no other way to learn. If you dislike the advice that I give about how to treat women in the skeptical movement and women considering joining it, ignore it. If you have an idea for improvement, share it.
- I don’t expect formal language and I don’t particularly care about profanity, but I do object to outright hostility and personal insults. I object as well to baseless, generalized statements about classes of people, too, and if you are posting merely to exclaim about “all women…” or “when feminists…,” reconsider. It adds no value to a conversation.
- If you do not believe that more women would be an asset to the skeptical community or do not believe that recruiting more women to the skeptical movement should be a priority, then you have my permission to disregard everything I say. It will not be fruitful, however, to log on and argue about values we do not share. I honestly do not care if you share these values with me, and all the arguments in the world–even the rational ones free of logical fallacies–will not make me reconsider them.
I am just one woman in skepticism, and speak only for myself. If my experiences and suggestions are universal enough to trigger recognition and recommend themselves to skeptics committed to addressing sexism within the community, I will be glad.