This is a guest post by Melody Hensley. Melody is the organizer of the Women in Secularism conference and Executive Director of the Center for Inquiry’s DC branch.
In May of last year, the Center for Inquiry (CFI) hosted Women in Secularism, a conference about issues of importance to women who identify as atheists, agnostics, secular humanists, and skeptics. It was the first event of its kind by a national secular organization to feature an all-female speaker lineup. You can see videos of the presentations and panels here.
Reviews of the conference were overwhelmingly positive. In an article entitled “Women in Secularism: The Good, The Bad, and the Awesome,” Ashley Miller wrote that it was “far and away the best atheist/skeptic conference” she’d ever attended. The Clergy Project’s Catherine Dunphy referred to those in attendance as “trail blazers” likening them to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls convention. CFI’s own Paul Fidalgo wrote that it “was as fantastic, fulfilling, and enlightening an event as we could ever have hoped.” Speaker Jennifer McCreight‘s assessment was that the conference “ROCKED.”However, our goal was never to hold a one-off event. While women are an invaluable part of the history of secularism and freethought, their contributions are ongoing — and an annual event is reflective of this.
We are very excited to host this year’s conference at a fantastic location in the heart of Washington, DC. And this year not only will we be featuring speakers from abroad, but we are already starting to see attendee registrations from other countries as well. “Surly” Amy Davis Roth is offering grants for men who wish to attend (and you can apply or donate here). Last year’s emcee Lauren Becker will be returning to host.
As much as people enjoyed Women in Secularism 1, the near-universal request from attendees and speakers alike last year was that they wanted the conversations to continue and expand. That is exactly what we are doing this year, starting earlier on a Friday afternoon with a schedule of five panels and five individual talks from a total of 22 speakers.
I hope you will join us on May 17-19 for Women in Secularism 2.