Help send me to Women In Secularism? *GOAL REACHED!*

Update: Made it! Any further donations will go to helping someone else get there, likely through the Surly Grants program. Cheers!

I hate fundraising for things other than charities. I hate that I do not make enough money that I could pay my own way to these events. But I’m going to swallow my pride and hold out my hat, because I really want to be at WIS this year, given their fantastic lineup.

For too long, our secular and skeptical communities have — not by design, but by the accident that we live in a patriarchal society — been led by men to the virtual exclusion of women. This means the movement, which attracts people who look like the people representing it, gets disproportionate male representation as compared to the background of society. The ideas in our community’s marketplace, flowing as they do from the people making it up, do not represent the true meritocracy that might exist if ALL ideas, from people of ALL cultural backgrounds, had at least some representation. Improving diversity in a community also brings in ideas from cultural viewpoints that are simply not represented when the people making up the community are homogeneous.

I know that every one of the women speaking at Women In Secularism are great thinkers, great speakers, and deserve to be on stage at any convention. The necessity for them to speak is obvious, so giving them a stage is the best way to encourage this.

And I recognize that the community is becoming more pluralistic, to the point where one day, a convention of *just* women speakers may become unnecessary because women are as well represented in our community as they are in our society. But our society does not yet represent women as well as the numbers suggest they should be represented — men still disproportionately hold vast swathes of power that they do not deserve any more than the women beside them. We do not yet live in a post-sexist utopia. Until then, I will do what I can to make sure my own ideas are being influenced by great female thinkers as much as by the great male thinkers who already get airtime.

I’m sad I didn’t get to go to the first WIS. Now’s my chance to make up for this, with your help. I want humankind to see everything, learn everything and do everything. Women are more than half of that humankind. So I want to hear from the half that keeps getting left out, by conscious and unconscious biases, by false assumptions of lack of merit — I want their words to shape me, because I think it’ll pay dividends to all of you.

Sadly, I don’t have anything to give you in return — if I make it there, I’ll report on the talks and live-tweet and blog about it for all of you, whether you donated or not, but I have nothing to give you to sweeten the deal. I’m not going to sell space on my t-shirt, or send you signed swag, but you’ll get my humblest, most heartfelt thanks. Click the Paypal Donate button below to send a few bucks my way if you can’t make it to WIS either, and want to live vicariously through me. If I’ve ever written something that you’ve found yourself nodding along to as you read it, please consider adding some spare change to my fund.

You can also donate directly to CFI, if you’d rather give your money to the organization behind WIS. I’d be equally pleased that you opened your pursestrings to keep WIS going for next year if you felt so inclined.

Update: I’m going to plow back any money I get over what I need directly into Surly Amy’s grants. And as of 10:49am, half an hour after putting up the button, I’m already at ~30% of my goal! (Exact numbers once I figure out my own possible financial input into this fund.)

Update 2: I’ve gotten info about flights, and they look to be about $680 round trip. I’ll have to pay full price ticket of $210, because I’m not a student or a CFI member, but someone earmarked a funding for the banquet specifically, so I have to take that $85 option. I’ll be able to steal someone’s bathtub for sleeping if need be, so I’m not worried about that. So, all told, it’ll be $975. Assuming this is all in CDN. Which it’s not.

I don’t have a good enough handle on my finances ahead of time, but assuming I can contribute ~200 of my own money by squirrelling away everything I can between now and then, my goal is $775. People have already donated $502, though Paypal took a cut so it’s really $483.33. So, I’m at 62% of my goal.

I am overwhelmed by the response so far. You people are amazing. I will do right by you all in whatever way I can manage, I promise.

Update 3: Wow. In less than 24 hours, you folks made my goal. In the intervening hours while I was indisposed with my day job, you’ve donated a grand total of $1002. Which means I am, absolutely, positively, without a doubt…
going to Women In Secualarism 2!

Thank you. All of you. This is incredible.

I have to go talk to Amy now and ask her how best to handle the overflow. I’ll hang onto the money til I get my own flights and tickets sorted out, but then I’ll plow every cent of the overflow into making sure someone else gets to go too.

Help send me to Women In Secularism? *GOAL REACHED!*
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