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The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #1
The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Over the past month or so, the Rebecca Watson- Richard Dawkins "elevatorgate" episode has been talked about everywhere on the internet. We discussed it on our own Nirmukta facebook group, but the story didn't make it to our forums. The one fact that became obvious to those of us who identify as feminists, but didn't know enough about things like male privilege, is that sexism can take many subtle forms. It is a deeply entrenched thing, and needs an open mind and the ability to peer inwards to be ferreted out.

This post is not about elevatorgate, but about something else. It is about power. Specifically, how an atheist group functioning within a patriarchal society can unintentionally limit the role and influence of women in positions of power, and why this is a bad thing. I am not going to get into the details of how power works in our patriarchal society. If you are interested, you can read up on it in these links. The second one specifically refers to The Glass Ceiling.

1. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/fr/jour...8011a.html
2. http://womenshistory.about.com/od/femini..._women.htm

What I am going to talk about is an incident that happened on the Atheism group on facebook.

Last night, I received a notification from Facebook saying that PZ Myers had upgraded the group 'Atheism' to the new format. Now, it happens once in a while, that one of the old groups I joined a while ago suddenly starts sending me notifications because of the format change by Facebook. Usually I either ignore it, remove myself from it, or edit my settings for that group so as to not receive any notifications from it. But I was intrigued this time. PZ Myers himself had upgraded the group. I thought I'd check it out.

The group had over 10,000 members. That was good. Then I checked the admins, and I had to pause. The group had 9 admins, and all were male. This seemed like an oversight, to say the least. Of course, it didn't mean that the people running the group were sexist. Of course not. But the way sexism asserts itself in a relatively progressive society is through the non-recognition of privilege. Surely if I pointed out the oversight to the members of the group, they would understand and the admins would also recognize the problem. I was wrong.

I may have been tactless in the way I approached the issue, posting the message on the group wall, but I wasn't prepared for the shitstorm that followed. I am reproducing the screenshots below. Please click on the individual image links to see the full screenshots. Each link will open as a larger image. Click that image if it is unclear, and it will open up as another slightly larger and much clearer image. The image on the bottom is a screenshot of the admins as they were when I made my complaint, and it remained that way till the end when PZ came in (read the third post below to see what PZ did to change things).

Here goes.


"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 26-07-2011 03:22 PM by Ajita Kamal.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Full text: If pressed for time, please read the first few at the top and then scroll down all the way to see how everyone changed their tune when PZ Myers entered the conversation.

Ajita Kamal
I don't want to make a big deal about this, and perhaps I'm mistaken, but does this group, one of the biggest ones for Atheism on FB, have 9 male admins and no female ones? Hmmm...
11 hours ago · Like · · Unsubscribe

Lalit Mohan Chawla, Ray Baxter, Jeff Sherry and 6 others like this.
Jacob Ripley does it really matter?
11 hours ago · Like · 5 people
Sagar Phadkule ‎^^ Right
11 hours ago · Like
Ajita Kamal Yes.
11 hours ago · Like
Morva Ádám Clearly, sexism! You can't be serious, can you?
11 hours ago · Like
Sagar Phadkule Maybe it shows fewer girls are atheists and are on fb.
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Jeffrey Gennusa It's facebook. If it really mattered, it would've been established weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelllllll before now.
11 hours ago · Like
Katey Smith I'm atheist and I'm female. >_>
11 hours ago · Like
'Dagny Kight Personally, I don't care! But I do mind being referred to as a "girl."
11 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Jack Simpson don't want to make a big deal but you're posting on the group wall? if it was that important and 'not a big deal' you'd message the admins personally.
11 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Heather Swain Make me admin!! Lol
11 hours ago · Like
KA Gender has nothing to do with group administration. If there are no female admins, then there just aren't.
11 hours ago · Like · 4 people
Dena Castling Please inform me as to why it matters....
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Jeffrey Gennusa Also, I don't think their mission statement is equality between the sexes. It was probably a group of friends that created this, it certainly wasnt "hue hue hue we're not gonna mod any women because they suck"

But I am just saying
11 hours ago · Like · 3 people
'Dagny Kight I vote for Heather! There seems to be some very juvenile behavior on this page and perhaps she can get that taken care of.
11 hours ago · Like
Jack Simpson i agree with amy.
11 hours ago · Like
Amadeus Unsworth ohhhh you guys!!!! :rolls eyes: Dagny maybe you should enlist yourself for facebook police I hear they hiring, clearly you the moralist queen of these parts, some people may be juvenile but at least they don't adore crack addicts.
11 hours ago · Like
Jodi Paulsen I just noticed there are no dogs who are admins on this page. What's up with that?
11 hours ago · Like · 3 people
Jack Simpson too busy being worshipped by dyslexic christians
11 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Morva Ádám I don't think there are any Hungarian admins either.. Do you guys hate Hungarians?
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Jodi Paulsen LMAO!
11 hours ago · Like
Morgan White fucking... political... correctness...
11 hours ago via Facebook Mobile · Like
Amadeus Unsworth today I saw only men walking on the pavement, what's the world coming to!!???
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Christina Williams I nominate myself then.
11 hours ago · Like
Jeffrey Gennusa There's a point where this should have come to and end. And we've clearly passed that point
11 hours ago · Like · 3 people
Jack Simpson no i really want more notifications
11 hours ago · Like · 3 people
Patricia Green Gender of the admins is irrelevant to the topic. I agree that some of the wall posts are juvenile, but a woman on the admin list isn't going to change that.
11 hours ago · Like
R Scott LaMorte What's the balance regarding disabled admins, left-handed admins, non-white admins, and so on?
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
'Dagny Kight Thank you for proving my point, Amadeus. I would also add that I tend to believe atheists are not quick to make baseless assumptions. Obviously I am mistaken.
11 hours ago · Like
Amadeus Unsworth No problem, Dagny!!!!anytime sweetheart.
11 hours ago · Like
Jeffrey Brown Uhm, let me take a moment to point out that there's really nothing wrong with adoring crack addicts.
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Amadeus Unsworth I agree Brown, Jimmy Hendrix is a saint!!!However when you get someone who is making themselves as holier than thou it does get annoying, was merely light heartedly trolling :P!!!!
11 hours ago · Like
'Dagny Kight I realize that I've rarely looked at this page and it's apparent I've missed nothing that would have been of interest. I generally find atheists to be intelligent, interesting, and highly rational people. This page, however, seems more like a frat house full of bored young men. Bye, guys. Please commence with the sophomoric banter!
11 hours ago · Like
Jack Simpson someone takes themselves far too seriously
11 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Jeffrey Brown Tell you the truth, 'Dagny, if I weren't a college sophomore, I might be offended. I think you might be a little wound up on this, maybe you should consider talking to people like they aren't meant to be wiping your ass? It's your call, of course, but I'd certainly like if we could work something of that sort out, to be honest.
11 hours ago · Like
Steven Richard Severance Jr.
I don't see why people are attacking Ajita for what seems to me a perfectly legitimate comment/complaint... Atheist leadership tends to be predominantly male (and white)... I don't think (nor do I think Ajita was arguing) that there was some intentional bias in the selection of admins; however I do think that some attempts should be made to make the administrations a diverse group reflective of the group membership and of the Atheist community as a whole (both in terms of gender and race)... People don't want to feel sidelined or dismissed; otherwise one risks perpetuating certain historical inequalities/injustices, no matter how unintentionally... ok rant over lol
11 hours ago · Like · 1 person
R Scott LaMorte I think this thread is sophomoric. The rest of the page is sadly lacking in administrative culling. Trolling and crap are rampant. Admin intervention is needed.
10 hours ago · Like
Robert W. Collins The Center for Inquiry has a good balance of men and women as members and leaders, especially CFI Michigan--www.cfimichigan.​org. Just got back from a weekend at a lodge/cabin retreat with 115 fellow atheists and families! We are going for a community of atheists.
10 hours ago · Like
Jeffrey Brown Hmmmm, steve, the problem is that admin selecetion should have nothing to do with gender or race. Atheists in America *are* predominantly white males, and on top of that, if the admins we have were chosen for quality of administration, it would follow that we would lose some of that quality by replacing them for reasons other than how well the job can be done. Not a fan of aff. action.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Amadeus Unsworth
‎'Dagny Kight the fact of the matter is you took a comment and twisted it as if you are above the rest, the guy merely said girl, perhaps you may not know that in modern pop cultures the term"girl" is merely saying you are a female, just as "boy" is for male. If you personally prefer being called woman fine, but the guy never personally referred you in the first place. If you wish to have a serious debate I will give you one but I fear you are one of those "I'm right and you're wrong".
10 hours ago · Like
R Scott LaMorte Amadeus, I'm sorry son, you are not doing your debate any good. Best to stop now, maybe read a couple of introductory books on feminism. It will do you good.
10 hours ago · Like
Cenamen Hicks I should be an Admin. Im black and a female, cant get more diverse than that!! I elect myself.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
R Scott LaMorte Jeffrey, I doubt the current admins were selected for quality of service, judging by the quality of this page.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Steven Richard Severance Jr. ‎@Jeffrey: If you are arguing that there are not at least one or two "quality" women or people of colour who can administrate as well as any man can, then I think you are wrong... To say that out of this whole group, the only people who are willing and capable of being administrators are (white) males, then I think you are a bit off the mark...
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Jodi Paulsen Can we please move on to a real topic regarding athiesm?
10 hours ago · Like
Justin Chance Allen
Steve, I would like to see more atheist leaders being women, far to few girls in our organization. (incidentally, what is up with girl all of a sudden being a bad word? I am a guy, you are a girl, I am a man, you are a women. Whats the problem?)

I think the thing to do is not to complain that our current leadership tends to skew to the majority demographic, but to encourage more people to seek that kind of influence through whatever merit they bring to the table.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Jeffrey Brown
xD
Do you mean that I'm racist because I think we should be entirely blind to race in admin selection? If we start looking specifically to add a female, we're ignoring a large number of potentially capable group members, just like if we were looking solely to add a white male. Or a person who is at least 1/8th Cherokee. The problem with affirmative action is that it doesn't solve a problem, you're just being racist/sexist in the opposite direction (when I'm sure our admin selection wasn't done out of "Oh, lets make this a boys club.").
10 hours ago · Like
Amadeus Unsworth
‎Steven Richard Severance Jr. seriously, grow up, none actually cares wether the admin is black, white brown etc, you're the one who's making a big fuss over nothing. However if you believe in positive discrimination then perhaps there should be a woman admin for the sake of there being a woman, not the fact that it should be on merit and quality. As for you scott I was being sarcastic and you can do that too I see, well done sir, well done.
10 hours ago · Like
R Scott LaMorte Justin, guy and girl are not equivalent. That would be boy and girl. You wouldn't call a two year old male a "guy" really. You'd use boy.

Dictionary:
Guy 1 informal a man
Girl 1 a female child. 2 a young or relatively young woman.

"Girl" has been used and continues to be used by some men as a term that minimizes the participation and maturity of women.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
R Scott LaMorte ‎Cenamen Hicks you could also be queer, disabled, Islamic, and left-handed. You still would not be "diverse" though, you are only one person. =)
10 hours ago · Like
Jeffrey Brown If you look up a few posts on this page, you'll find an article I posted that you might find to be an interesting read. Maybe it could even provoke thoughtful discussion. Or we can all keep up this quagmire of conversation-that's-going-​nowhere.
10 hours ago · Like
R Scott LaMorte ‎^ why this group needs more and better admins.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Jodi Paulsen Leaving the group. This is BEYOND ridiculous & has NOTHING to do with athiesm, as do most of the comments on this page...particularly from "Da Da Robbie Meister" who appears to be nothing more than an antagonist.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
KA I just had to block that guy Robbie. Now this page looks neater
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Jeffrey Brown Don't just block him,
10 hours ago · Like
Jeffrey Brown he made a commented that was hateful toward mentally disabled people, I think some reports are due.
10 hours ago · Like
Eric Norton
Interesting: the reaction of some in this comment thread to a simple question reminds me of the reaction of many of the religious to criticism of any of their cherished beliefs. Maybe a few people could take a moment to think about why they responded the way they did. The post seems like a reasonable question to ask, to me, and one that is appropriate for the wall. Certainly this sort of thing is better discussed openly. At some point maybe one of the actual administrators could answer - that would be nice, wouldn't it?
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
KA Well, i haven't seen them so I wont report. Blocking worked for me this time.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Justin Chance Allen Scott,

Maybe its just a generational thing.

You graduated highschool the year I was born :P
10 hours ago · Like
Shane Phillips Admins are selected by whether it's considered that they will do a good job administrating the site, and are trustworthy, rather than by gender. This is nothing more than coincidence, this is not a sexist group.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Ajita Kamal
No one made the assertion that this is a sexist group. But it is a problem when women are under-represented in positions of power, because that is how male privilege asserts itself in a patriarchal society, even when no one is being intentionally or explicitly sexist. As has been made clear by PZ and many others during the course of the elevatorgate saga, no one is a bad person for being privileged. What makes one a bad person is refusing to acknowledge their privilege and how it affects those around them.
I expected better from fellow atheists.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Steven Richard Severance Jr.
What I really don't understand is how the admins of this group display any great administrative ability, given the lack of moderation on this forum (particularly in the case of trolls such as Da Da Robbie, who made epithets against both disabled people and queer people)...
@Jeffrey: I do not think you are racist; I think we have differences of opinion about this issue... I apologise if I attacked you personally, which was not my intention...
10 hours ago · Like
Steven Richard Severance Jr. ‎@Ajita: I think your last statement was spot on and very succinct... smile
10 hours ago · Like
Shane Phillips Most of the Admins are no longer active, that's the simple reason for that.

And what is going on here is quite simple. This is an Atheist group for Atheists. It's not a politically correct society, and we will not be picking the "token black, token handicapped person, and token woman" just to keep various groups appeased. People will be picked as Admins based solely on whether they will be good Admins or not.
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
KA Are we back to square one again? Repeat: Gender and group administration are unrelated. Also, group administration is not a priviledge to give away and gender is definetely not a reason. What a fuss?
10 hours ago · Like
Shane Phillips Could someone provide me a link to this "Robbie" person I am hearing complaints about, I can't find him in amongst our members
10 hours ago · Like
Pz Myers Most of the admins are no longer active is an understatement -- I didn't realize I was one until today!
10 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Pz Myers Since the admins are admittedly inactive, I decided maybe we should add some more go-getters, the kind of people who would volunteer to participate in this discussion. So now there are several women in administrative positions. Go get 'em, ladies!
10 hours ago · Unlike · 5 people
Pz Myers Man, that was easy.
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Amadeus Unsworth and argument solved lol
10 hours ago · Like
KA haha Big Grin
10 hours ago · Like
Heather Swain laugh my arse off
10 hours ago · Like · 2 people
Scot Corr first world problems
9 hours ago · Like
KA lol
9 hours ago · Like
R Scott LaMorte Pz, I'd happily help admin as well. I've run messages lists for non-profits and currently run a Critical Thinking FB groups for a few dozen of my friends. I'd be happy to expand.

I'm also a queer vegetarian if that helps chalk up any diversity points. =D
8 hours ago · Unlike · 1 person
Eric Norton And sanity prevails - easy answer to sensible question - thx PZ!
8 hours ago · Like
Shane Phillips Sure, I don't see why we can't put a couple more Admins in
7 hours ago · Like
Write a comment...

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 13-01-2012 06:16 PM by Lije.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #3
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

I don't have the time or the patience to individually point out how so many of the comments on that thread were implicitly sexist. Its subtle, of course. Instead, I will just point out the parable of the dog and the mouse that demonstrates how privilege works, and how the men and some of the women in that group were unaware of its expression in the way they were behaving:

https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/

There's another, sweeter aspect to this whole thing. As soon as I started receiving those comments, I emailed PZ. Now, PZ already knew about us- about Nirmukta. IN fact, he gave us our very first shout-out, putting us on the map. I entertain the hope that he might even have my name tucked away in some corner of his brain. The short version of the story is, PZ replied to my email, responded on the group, and made me one of the admins, along with a few of the women who had commented on that group!

Here is PZ's email response to me (he quotes me first).

Quote:
Quote:Dear PZ,

I may have been wrong in the way I stated the problem on your Atheism group on Facebook, but as you very well know, the fact that women are under-represented in positions of power is a problem. I am referring to this thread on the group wall: https://www.facebook.com/groups/99729237...7481648763

Of course, it was an oversight that led to there being 9 male admins and no female ones. But isn't that how privilege works? I am shocked and disgusted by the response to my question.

Your complaint is a fair one. Unfortunately, I didn't start that group, and was actually rather surprised to discover that I'm an admin for it -- I don't think I'd even seen it until today!
--
PZ Myers, Ph.D. (320) 589-6343/fax 6371
Division of Science & Math 2135, 2390 Science
University of Minnesota, Morris
Morris, MN 56267 http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

So now, I am admin of a group that I was ridiculed in for asking an innocuous question about the group's power structure, and a bunch of women are now a tiny bit more empowered on a small platform on one small corner of the internet, thanks to PZ Myers' actions Clap

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 26-07-2011 09:28 PM by Ajita Kamal.)
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LMC Offline
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Post: #4
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Quote:So now, I am admin of a group that I was ridiculed in for asking an innocuous question about the group's power structure, and a bunch of women are now a tiny bit more empowered on a small platform on one small corner of the internet, thanks to PZ Myers' actions
Yes and i think he also made admins all 3 ladies who volunteered heather,cinamen and christina , when i saw the post , i checked out the admins and didn't get what you were talking about , it was only when i read the comments that i understood that it was this post that added 4 new admins to the group
Quote:Pz Myers Since the admins are admittedly inactive, I decided maybe we should add some more go-getters, the kind of people who would volunteer to participate in this discussion. So now there are several women in administrative positions. Go get 'em, ladies!
15 hours ago · Like · 5 people

Pz Myers Man, that was easy.
15 hours ago · Like · 2 people
nice move
(This post was last modified: 26-07-2011 03:17 PM by LMC.)
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siddharth Offline
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Post: #5
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Sweet!
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gunniboy Offline
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Post: #6
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Great going pal :-)
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palaeo Offline
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Post: #7
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Neat!
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #8
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

(26-07-2011 08:48 PM)palaeo Wrote:  Neat!

Why, hello! How have you been? Missed you around here smile

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #9
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Posting the conversation in response to this from the Nirmukta FB group:


Geetha Tg Well done, Ajita. And it was thanks to the shout-out PZ Myers gave in Pharyngula that I reached 'Nirmukta.'
3 hours ago · Unlike · 2 people

Alok Lars I don't have a dog in this fight but I am struggling to see why this is an issue. Other than a disbelief in supernatural, what other restrictions are imposed on the admins of this group? If you start with gender, how about sexual orientation -- are there any homosexuals in the admin group? How about left handers? Seriously though, unless the group charter enforces it, gender has nothing to do with the efficient running of any group.

Now if you seriously think there is sexism going on, then first you have to show that the gender of the admin has anything to do with the meritocratic nature of a group in the first place. Moreover, you have to have enough data to support that females are being prevented from achieving the admin status. And finally, using PZ Myer's response is simply an appeal to authority -- has nothing to do with the veridicality of the issue.
about an hour ago · Like

Siddharth Singh Let's start with this. https://sindeloke.wordpres​s.com/2010/01/13/37/ I'm sure the others will take it from there:
about an hour ago · Unlike · 1 person

Sunil D'Monte All - please take it to the forum, not here. Ajita has posted the link above.
about an hour ago · Unlike · 2 people

Ajita Kamal OK, here we go. I'll present some reasons, but I'm sure as usual this is not going to go over easy.

Firstly, yes, you do have a dog in this "fight". If you didn't, you would have NO reason to oppose the events that transpired. Unless, of course, you were just using the phrase for rhetorical effect, in which case, ignore this bit. You are a male, I presume. The outcome of this "fight" affects you. It continues to perpetuate the male privilege (http://en.wikipedia.org/wi​ki/Male_privilege) that we enjoy.

"If you start with gender, how about...."

Whataboutery. Yes, there are other inequalities. But we are talking about this one. And this one is PRETTY DARN OBVIOUS.

"gender has nothing to do with the efficient running of any group."

Efficiency is not without its values premises. We can argue that the British were rather efficient rulers of the Indian state, in their own way. The plantation owners of the Southern United States were pretty efficient in their use of slavery to produce goods. The value premises of equality and freedom declare that the sort of efficiency described in those two examples cannot hold water in any civilized conversation.

Now, of course, the two examples I presented are far more extreme. But the point of the analogy was to demonstrate that there are always premises involved, and the "efficiency" argument is misleading, especially given the point you made: "unless the group charter enforces it". In civilized society, there are many ideas that are enforced without explicitly stating them. That is the essence of being cultured. Sometimes these premises are not clear, often due to privilege and ignorance of how it works to affect others, but that is why we have discourse.

"first you have to show that the gender of the admin has anything to do with the meritocratic nature of a group in the first place."

This just doesn't compute. It doesn't seem to be logically coherent. I think what you actually may be saying is that the group should be a meritocracy, and that gender shouldn't be privileged.

Well, I am saying that gender is privileged, and it is the male gender that is being ascribed a privileged place in this group, as in much of society at large.

"Moreover, you have to have enough data to support that females are being prevented from achieving the admin status. "

It astounds me that people think this is a logical argument, when it is in actuality a profoundly sexist one. It is the same argument that White supremacists use when talking about affirmative action- Blacks are just too stupid/criminal/perverted.​ It is also of the same form used by "upper castes" when denying affirmative action to the "lower castes". Essentially, it is an argument born out of ignorance about how privilege works. It is ignorance of psychology. It is ignorance of how institutionalized and historical factors affect how individuals perceive society.

In the post on the forums I posted two articles on the glass ceiling for women, and how male dominated society prevents women from reaching positions of power. If you had read it, you may not have said what you did. But I'll explain a little.
The psychology of sexism if complicated, but it is somewhat well understood. Gender roles are not just biologically determined, as we men, because we're the ones in power, like to think. They are also culturally determined to some extent. There are experiments that demonstrate that, for instance, priming women with hope against conventional thinking can get them to perform better in math. Priming them by reminding them that women do worse than men usually at math, makes them do worse. Watch this talk, you may get some pointers: http://www.youtube.com/wat​ch?v=z-X62CBTv44

We all suffer prejudice. Harvard's project implicit has a program that demonstrates how bad this problem is. http://implicit.harvard.ed​u/
For example, even Black people associate negative stereotypes with other Black faces. These are the ways in which social conditioning affect our social roles. And this is how male privilege works to keep women out of positions of power.

Finally on this point, this whole debate about women in positions of power in the atheist movement is not new. The standard arguments about there being fewer women atheists has been shown to be inadequate in explaining the discrepancy in women and minorities in positions of power, for example at atheist conferences. In the last few international atheist and skeptic conferences, conscious efforts were made to address this problem. While there are plenty of female atheists who have done a lot to advance the cause of atheism, it is the men who are considered the leaders of the movement. Here's one list of women:
http://www.blaghag.com/201​0/01/large-li...eists.html

To take one telling example, Dan Barker and his wife Annie Laurie are co-presidents of the freedom from religion foundation in the US, the largest freethought group in the country by membership. This is a big organization. Annie Laurie has said that Dan is the one who gets invited to conferences, TV appearances, talk shows, radio shows, podcast interviews, talks etc etc. But the fact is, the organization was actually founded by Annie Laurie and her mother many decades ago, way before she met Dan. In fact, Dan was an evangelical preacher when they met, and she was instrumental in his conversion to atheism.
And they both co-host the FFRF's podcast, and she is as sharp or even sharper than he is.

"And finally, using PZ Myer's response is simply an appeal to authority"

Did anyone use PZ's response to make the argument? You seem to misunderstand the appeal to authority, and it is your invocation of it here that is the fallacy. PZ's has said a lot on the subject of male privilege. But in the post I made on the forums (if you bothered to read it) I present my case very well, and just pointed out PZ's involvement because it worked to get the implicit sexism on that thread to stop. I did mention PZ's involvement because PZ agreed with me, but that hardly makes PZ the authority here, does it? It's not like I referred to PZ's prior arguments to make my case. I made my case BEFORE PZ weighed in.

If you knew some of the many arguments we have had here, you'd know that we have discussed this before, and there is no need to PZ to make my case for me.

But take a look at that thread in the atheism group. Who STFU after PZ came in and made his points? Not those of us who PZ agreed with, but those who didn't think there was any problem here. That is, when the authority figure came in and made his decisions, it is those who espoused YOUR view who backed out. Of course, they may still disagree. But that only makes it further clear that they view a male authority figure as a leader.

In fact, the very reason why I invited PZ to come in and shake things up is because I knew that sexist chauvinists would only listen to someone like him, and would hesitate to spew their snide privileged comments. Disgusting, but true.

Finally, I am not interested in carrying on this conversation forever here. I have better things to do. But OUR group has a clear charter regarding our mission, which includes promoting equality. There is a limit to the amount of prejudice we can put up with. The information has been made available. The choice is yours.

Male privilege - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org
Male privilege is a sociological term that refers quite generally to the special rights or status granted to men in a society, on the basis of their sex or gender, but usually denied to women and/or transsexuals.
10 minutes ago · Like ·

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
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nick87 Offline
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Post: #10
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

k, that's a LOT of stuff to read up there, but first congrats to you!!
Thalai saar neenga!!! Thumbup ("You're the boss" to anyone wondering about the transliterated compliment)

(Goes back to reading)

"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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unsorted Offline
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Post: #11
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

Just want to share one good resource for privilege-related matters: Derailing for Dummies. It's a humourous take on arguments people make - often unintentionally - from positions of privilege, and acts as a nice checklist one can refer to to "privilege-check" one's own arguments.

Just skimming through the list again, it's sobering to note just how many of those I've myself made. Sigh.

Also, the point Ajita made above about how "Priming them by reminding them that women do worse than men usually at math, makes them do worse" - is a phenomenon known as stereotype threat (apologies if RW already talks about this in the video).
(This post was last modified: 26-07-2011 10:01 PM by unsorted.)
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Ajita Kamal Offline
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Post: #12
RE: The Glass Ceiling in Atheist Circles - Few Women in Positions Of Power

(26-07-2011 09:58 PM)unsorted Wrote:  Also, the point Ajita made above about how "Priming them by reminding them that women do worse than men usually at math, makes them do worse" - is a phenomenon known as stereotype threat (apologies if RW already talks about this in the video).

Thanks for the Derailing for Dummies link, Sunil (and let me reiterate what Geetha said on FB- you do have a knack for finding the juiciest resources online). I didn't know about the stereotype threat. If my memory serves me right, RW doesn't mention it.

"Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian"
~ J.B.S.Haldane, on being asked to falsify evolution.
(This post was last modified: 27-07-2011 08:56 AM by Ajita Kamal.)
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