Increasing diversity in emerging non-religious communities

2014-08-10T20:44:22Z (GMT) by Christopher Hassall Ian Bushfield

Contemporary growth in non-religious populations has given rise to novel communities with unique perspectives on social and technological issues. We describe a study of diversity within speakers at conferences organised by and attended by the atheist community. We analyse trends in diversity of 630 speakers, corresponding to 1223 speaking slots at 48 non-religious conferences over the period 2002-2014. Diversity (defined using multivariate statistics) and the representation of women and minority ethnicities increased significantly over time during the period studied. This success in broadening participation may have arisen from the empirical perspective taken on social issues by the non-religious community. However, on-going problems with data collection and the imbalance in the social cost of identifying as non-religious between different social groups remain as barriers to equality within this growing movement.