Kim Rippere

Always Evolving

In Review: Women in Secularism

Last weekend I attended Women in Secularism. This will, hopefully, become an annual event.

Overall, I give The Center For Inquiry and Melody Hensley an A+. What an incredible event, in terms of location, speakers, attendees, etc.

First, I would like to give applause to Lauren Becker, the MC. Typically, this isn’t a responsibility that you notice – unless it goes bad! Lauren, however, was perfect. She was upbeat, fun, light, and short in her introductions. Thank you. She did spend a little more time introducing Bernice Sandler; but we were unfamiliar with her work so the introduction time was well spent.

Many attendees will be giving their impressions this week. I am no different!

My impression of a selection of speakers:

  1. Susan Jacoby – What a great woman and leader. She is approachable, knowledgeable, takes no guff, and has a great sense of humor.
  2. Annie Laurie Gaylor – soft spoken, steeped in the history of women in secularism, and has her own opinions that she is very willing to share . . . even when they do not agree with the others opinions.
  3. Sikivu Hutchinson – obviously very intelligent and well immersed in race, culture, feminism, and secularism. I did find that her language and immersion made her difficult to understand at times. She is VERY articulate; I am just not as well versed in her world.
  4. Rebecca Watson – has a wealth of interesting science at her fingertips, fun, and easy.
  5. Edwina Rogers – I think this was a neutral presentation for her. She did a fifteen minute canned speech about the Secular Coalition of America. There were about 3 extra slides inserted that pertained to women. So, it wasn’t exactly as billed; it was more of an advertisement for SCA. I found that she added the least to the overall program.
  6. Greta Christina – lovely, as always. She is pointed, clear, direct, and perfect! ;)
  7. Wafa Sultan – one of the lesser known speakers to our group. On occasion language was a slight barrier. She handled it well, stayed on message, and is a powerful speaker. She was one of the highlights of the conference.
  8. R. Elisabeth Cornwell – she is typically one of my favorite speakers and this was no different. I appreciate her measured perspective, her varied background, and her drive.
  9. Bernice Sandler – “The Godmother of Title IX” – she was so funny, engaging, had a wealth of appropriate stories, and has an unmatched depth of understanding regarding women, equity, and education/workplace. She was another stand out speaker.

The conference organizers promised to make videos of the conference available. They will be worth your time; promise.





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