There was no consensus among respondents to the survey about the usefulness of gender quotas. Some respondents thought that quotas constituted their own form of gender discrimination or that such approaches may cause minority representatives to be perceived as having achieved their position through tokenism rather than on merit. However, the Board of Atheist Alliance International also recognised that deep-seated cultural disadvantages may otherwise take a very long time to dissipate and simply waiting is not an ideal approach either. As such, a resolution has been carried at the Atheist Alliance International Board to propose a 40% gender quota for the election of Directors at our next AGM. This in itself would necessitate that the next Board of Atheist Alliance International would then acquire a very different gender profile. We are encouraging all of our affiliate groups to consider similar approaches, where those don’t already exist.
2. Gender Equality Policy
The Board of Atheist Alliance International has carried a resolution to bring a new Gender Equality Policy to our next AGM, for approval by the membership. This policy will be based on international best practice and will be binding on all those who are representing Atheist Alliance International, if adopted by our AGM. We are encouraging all of our affiliate groups to adopt similar policies, where those don’t already exist.
3. Gender Awareness
The Board of Atheist Alliance International accepted consistent feedback from survey respondents, which reported that frequently, gender discrimination can be imposed even where it is not deliberate or intentional. Two resolutions have been carried by the Board of Atheist Alliance International, which are aimed at increasing awareness of gender bias. The first is that all new Atheist Alliance International Project Initiation Documents must contain an explicit gender balance section. Within this part of the document, gender equality issues must be outlined in detail and these issues must be explicitly discussed by the Board before any new Atheist Alliance International project can be approved. In addition, Atheist Alliance International will create a new annual award. This prize will be presented to an atheist in the developing world who must also deal the challenges of gender discrimination, in addition to their efforts to promote secularism. We are encouraging all of our affiliate groups to consider how they also might improve awareness of gender discrimination issues.
The Board of Atheist Alliance International is aware that we cannot unilaterally resolve all gender balance issues within atheist organisations. However, there are dozens of nationally representative atheist and secular groups who are members of our alliance. We are hopeful that together, this initiative may make some remedial contribution to the problem. Any assistance you can offer in terms of distributing this document would be greatly appreciated.