Michelle Bachelet


michelle-bacheletMichelle Bachelet was born September 29, 1951 in Santiago, Chile, to an archaeologist mother and Chilean Air Force General father. In high school, Bachelet participated in theater, volleyball and choir, and became her class representative and president. She attended the University of Chile for an education in medicine, and during Salvadore Allende’s government, she participated in the Socialist Youth movement. General Pinochet, supported by the US Central Intelligence Agency, led a coup in 1973 against the democratically-elected Allende government, for which Bachelet’s father worked. Bachelet watched the bombing of La Moneda Palace from the roof of her medical campus, and later that day learned that her father had been arrested for treason. Her father died in prison a year later as a result of torture. Instead of intimidating Bachelet, this event motivated her to become even more active in Chile’s Socialist Party, and she began hiding people wanted by Pinochet’s regime. In 1975, Pinochet’s secret police arrested Bachelet and her mother, separated them, and submitted them to interrogation and torture. Bachelet and her mother were exiled to Australia after about 20 days of detention, and from there moved to East Germany, where Bachelet attended medical school in Berlin. While in Germany, Bachelet studied German—increasing her number of fluent languages to five—and married an architect and fellow Chilean exile. They had two children together.

Bachelet and her family returned to Chile in 1979, and she graduated from the University of Chile as a surgeon in 1982. While the dictatorship was still in place, Bachelet’s job applications were mostly rejected “for political reasons,” but she found work in pediatrics and public health. At this time, she participated in many political organizations that worked to restore democracy in Chile. She separated from her husband in the late 1980s, but could not divorce him until divorce was legalized in Chile in 2004. When democracy was restored to the country in 1990, she began work as a epidemiologist in Santiago, which led to work in the National AIDS Commission and consultation work with the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization. She joined the Health Ministry in 1994, and graduated at the top of her class in military strategy at the National Academy of Strategic and Political Studies. She then took a course on Continental Defense at the American Defense College in Washington, D.C., in 1997. Upon return to Chile, she was immediately hired in the Ministry of Defense. She joined the Socialist Party’s Political Committee from 1998 to 2000, at which time she was named Minister of Health, a position responsible for managing 70,000 employees and supervising the entire country’s health care system. As Minister, Bachelet extended medical and dental coverage to all patients in the public health system, founded the Healthcare Research Council and laid the groundwork for the National Commission on the Protection of the Rights of Mental Health Patients. She also increased drug coverage for AIDS patients, and those suffering from depression and schizophrenia. In 2002, President Lagos named Dr. Bachelet the head of the Defense Ministry, making her the first woman in Latin America to hold such a position. In 2004, Dr. Bachelet announced her bid for president. A final election runoff was held in January 2006, and she won with 53.5% of the vote—making her the first woman to hold Chile’s highest office. President Bachelet, whose cabinet is half female, has endured much criticism for her open agnosticism and secular reforms, such as making the morning-after pill free at state-run hospitals, an act which infuriated the Roman Catholic Church. As reported in the Washington Post, Bachelet said, “I’m agnostic . . . I believe in the state” (“Female, Agnostic and the Next Presidente?” Dec. 10, 2005). In November 2009, following her outstanding handling of the economic crisis, Bachelet’s approval rating broke records at 80%.

“I was a woman, a divorcee, a socialist, an agnostic . . . all possible sins together.”

—-Michelle Bachelet, on why she was an unlikely contender for president of a strongly Roman Catholic country, in “Socialist Bachelet wins Chilean presidency,” USA Today, Jan. 15, 2009

Compiled by Noah Bunnell

This profile was provided courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

© Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Madalyn Murray O’Hair

Madalyn Murray O'Hair (1919 - 1995) photo by Alan Light
Madalyn Murray O’Hair (1919 – 1995) photo by Alan Light


Time magazine called Madalyn Murray O’Hair the most hated woman in America during her reign as a leading secularist in the second half of the 20th century. Her unyielding and, to most, abrasive defense of the wall separating government from religion was as effective as it was controversial. She relished every opportunity to provoke the faithful and to challenge public officials who illegally granted religion special privilege in American life. School prayer was the first of many issues that brought Madalyn to public attention.

The Public Takes Notice

Madalyn burst on the scene of American piety when she objected to Bible readings in the Baltimore public schools, which were attended by her eldest son, William. In concert with a related case in Pennsylvania, known as Abington School District v. Schempp, the Supreme Court invalidated public school prayer throughout the country because of her legal actions.

O’Hair founded American Atheists and debated religious leaders on a variety of issues across the land. She annoyed nearly everyone, including fellow religious skeptics – and her life truly was an unhappy mess. At one time she had a national radio program which she used to educate the citizenry about religion and theism. She is credited with helping put a halt to plans that would have had astronaut Buzz Aldrin staging a televised communion on the moon! She also blocked a Texas law that would have required public officials to affirm belief in a Supreme Being. O’Hair tried, like many other atheists since, to get In God We Trust off coins, and to prevent the pope from saying mass on the Mall in Washington, D.C. – and to put a stop to tax exemptions for churches.

She filed numerous lawsuits in defense of the U.S. secular Constitution, including many even supporters believed had little chance of success. O’Hair believed that certain lost causes have symbolic and consciousness-raising value.

A Passion for Liberty

O’Hare often spoke of her faith in man’s ability to transform the world by his own efforts, a faith that might have been less warranted than even the faith religionists assign to the promises of a heaven or the dangers of a hell.

O’Hair was murdered in 1995 by a career criminal and two accomplices. The crime was motivated by greed, not passions inflamed by her convictions or life work.

Timeless Observations Worth Remembering

Madalyn was very quotable – here are a few of my favorites:

I’ll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hanged them, burnt them alive. And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you?

This religion gives you goals which are outside of reality. It enriches your fantasy life with ugliness. It fills you with ideas of guilt over the most common human experiences — usually related to sex. In this room, right now, each of you, in your own lives, has agonized over the fact that you have masturbated. Masturbation isn’t sinful. If it feels good — do it. You have my blessing, and you yourself know how it relaxes you.

People say, `So what? It’s just a little cross.’ What if it were a little swastika?

Atheism may be defined as the mental attitude which unreservedly accepts the supremacy of reason and aims at establishing a lifestyle and ethical outlook verifiable by experience and the scientific method, independent of all arbitrary assumptions of authority and creeds.

R.I.P. brave soul.

-by Donald B. Ardell

Anne Nicol Gaylor secular woman FFRF

Anne Nicol Gaylor

Anne Nicol Gaylor secular woman FFRFAnne Nicol Gaylor was born in 1926 near Tomah, Wisconsin. Along with her daughter, Annie Laurie Gaylor, in 1976 she co-founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and remained its president until 2005. Under her tenure, the foundation won high-profile legal victories for church/state separation, including overturning a state law in Wisconsin that made Good Friday an official holiday, and ending Christian indoctrination in Tennessee public schools. She grew FFRF’s rolls from 3 to over 19,000, with members in all 50 U.S. states and Canada. Her daughter Annie Laurie and son-in-law Dan Barker took over leadership in 2005 as co-presidents of the organization, and they continue FFRF’s tradition of fierce advocacy on behalf of secularism at the federal, state and local levels.

Less well-known is that the same year she co-founded FFRF, Gaylor also co-founded another nonprofit: Women’s Medical Fund. The fund provides small grants ($200 on average) to those unable to pay the full cost of an abortion. For over 35 years she has been the sole volunteer, answering every desperate call personally to the tune of some 800 women and girls every year, and writing every single check — almost 20,000 to date. With donations coming from individual donors as well as charitable foundations, the fund has paid out nearly $3 million toward abortion services for those who cannot afford them. Before starting the fund, Gaylor had been an abortion rights advocate for at least a decade: in 1967 as editor of the Middleton Times-Tribune she penned an editorial calling for Wisconsin to legalize abortion. (First-trimester abortions subsequently became legal in Wisconsin in 1970.)

Sadly, the kind of abortion advocacy Gaylor pioneered is every bit as necessary today as it was decades ago, as the deadly onslaught against women’s autonomy has only accelerated in recent years. Wisconsin is one of the worst states in this regard: 93 percent of Wisconsin counties presently have no abortion provider, and the state has enacted pretty much the complete suite of draconian laws, including biased counseling required by physicians and a mandatory 24 hour delay, parental consent requirements, prohibition of private insurance coverage for abortion, insidious TRAP laws and prohibitions on public funding. Indeed, it was her work on abortion rights that led Gaylor to turn her focus to what she saw as the root cause of so much sexist oppression: religion. Women’s rights groups were (and to a large extent still are) loathe to confront the god-shaped elephant in the room: that is why Anne Nicol Gaylor founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has since generated countless benefits to secularists of all stripes. For many feminists including this author, the path that leads to non-belief and secularism is paved by feminism—every step of the way. Perhaps movement atheists who genuinely desire to grow their numbers would be wise to take note of the well-worn road so many of their potential allies take to find them, and put up some “welcome” signs along the way?

As you might imagine, over the decades Gaylor’s activism has generated some pushback. She was discussing her 1975 book Abortion is a Blessing on a Philadelphia talk show when an audience member rushed her from behind and put her in a chokehold. (Just like Jesus would do, no doubt.) More recently, an article about her work in The Wisconsin State Journal prompted histrionic responses condemning her. Here, for instance, is an excerpt from a piece by a certain weasel of the Catholic Deacon species:

“What Anne Nicol Gaylor is doing is Evil. It should not be given the legally favored status of a ‘Charity’ under the law. It is more akin to a War crime. After all, there is an undeclared War on the Womb and she is helping to fund it by writing checks.”

Then there was this one in a Milwaukee paper from “generally a right-wing guy” who refers to Gaylor as “Sweet little old Granny Blood-Money.” He is “astonished” and “horrified” at Gaylor’s heroic work:

“One donor last year, a California woman who’d in the past given to the anti-religion group Gaylor used to lead, forked over $20,000, based presumably on Gaylor’s fund-raising pitch, which tells of helping girls pregnant at 12 or a girl raped by her father.

Both, of course, are horrible situations, almost as horrible as being not merely pregnant but chopped into little pieces and not at 12 but at a much, much more vulnerable age. After all, being killed by a choice-armed mother is much less tragic than being raped by monstrous father, yes?

No, actually. It’s not.”

Unlike the generally right-wing guy, informed and compassionate people like Anne Nicol Gaylor fully understand that one thing that actually is worse than than being raped by a monstrous father is being forced to have one’s monstrous father’s child. These hypocrites—who it goes without saying would never condone anyone harvesting their own blood or organs without their consent—probably know even less than Richard Dawkins does about the tragic consequences of childhood sexual abuse. But Anne Nicol Gaylor knows. And she has fought tooth and nail to ensure that victims do not have their pain and misery compounded because of exactly this kind of unthinking, unfeeling religious nonsense.

Gaylor has been the recipient of many honors and awards, from the American Humanist Association’s Humanist Heroine Award in 1985 to NARAL Pro-Choice America’s Tiller Award in 2007. She is also a sharp, witty and engaging writer, and many of her works can be read online for free at FFRF. At 88 years old, Anne Nicol Gaylor is president emerita of FFRF, and still works there as a consultant. While we cannot say the same for any generally right-wing guys, we can say unequivocally that our world is a far, far better place for having her in it.

by Iris Vander Pluym


Florynce Rae “Flo” Kennedy Secular Woman FFRF

Florynce Rae “Flo” Kennedy

Florynce Rae “Flo” Kennedy Secular Woman FFRFIn 1916, lawyer, activist, civil rights advocate and feminist Florynce Rae “Flo” Kennedy was born in Kansas City, Mo., to parents Wiley and Zella Kennedy. The second of five daughters, Kennedy grew up in a mostly white neighborhood, in which her father once stood up to members of the Ku Klux Klan with a shotgun. Kennedy wrote, “My parents gave us a fantastic sense of security and worth. By the time the bigots got around to telling us that we were nobody, we already knew we were somebody.” Finishing high school at the top of her class in 1934, Kennedy opened a hat shop, performed on a radio show and operated an elevator. Her first political protest involved helping to organize a boycott when the local Coca-Cola bottler refused to hire black truck drivers. She moved to New York in 1942, graduating from Columbia University in 1948. In 1951, Kennedy became the first black woman to graduate from Columbia Law School, where she was admitted after threatening legal action on the grounds of racial discrimination. Kennedy ran her own law practice, representing the estates of jazz greats Billy Holiday and Charlie Parker, and the black power leader H Rap Brown, among other Black Panthers. Despite tending to take on cases related to feminism and civil rights, Kennedy eventually realized that she needed to employ broader strokes to battle oppression and effect the kind of social change she had in mind. Turning to political activism, Kennedy cofounded the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 1966. That same year, she established the Media Workshop in an effort to influence the representation of black people in journalism and advertising, threatening boycotts and pickets. At a 1967 anti-Vietnam War convention in Montreal, her speaking career was launched by a fiery invective against the refusal to allow Bobby Seale to discuss racism. Kennedy became known for her vitriolic tirades and incendiary comments, delivered in her characteristic cowboy hat and boots.

Along with feminism and racial equality, Kennedy also championed gay rights, as well as rights for prostitutes and other minorities. In 1971, Kennedy founded the Feminist Party, nominating Shirley Chisholm, a New York Democrat, for president, and helped to found the National Women’s Political Caucus. She founded the National Black Feminist Organization in 1975. Throughout her life, Kennedy championed pro-choice legislation, organizing a group of feminist lawyers to challenge New York State’s abortion law in 1969, influencing the legislature to liberalize abortion the next year. With Diane Schulder, she coauthored a book called Abortion Rap in 1971. While Gloria Steinem is often unwittingly credited with the clever slogan, “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,” Flo coined it. The two were warm colleagues, once going on a feminist speaking tour together. Kennedy was known for her quick repartee. When asked by a male heckler, “Are you a lesbian?” she replied, “Are you my alternative?” Kennedy launched a suit against the Catholic Church in 1968 for spending money illegally to influence abortion legislation, arguing that its campaign violated the separation of state and church. Furthering her efforts to rescind the church’s tax-exempt status in 1972, Kennedy filed tax evasion charges against the church with the IRS. Kennedy was briefly married to Charles Dudley Dye in 1957, but he died soon after. D. 2000.

“It’s interesting to speculate how it developed that in two of the most anti-feminist institutions, the church and the law court, the men are wearing the dresses.”
—Flo Kennedy, from her book, Color Me Flo — My Hard Life and Good Times

Compiled by Noah Bunnell

This profile was provided courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

© Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Her•Story Secular Woman

Introducing the Her•Story Project

Her•Story Secular Woman

The mission of Secular Woman is to amplify the voice, presence and influence of non-religious women in all aspects of society. Ironically, one formidable obstacle to accomplishing this is a perception among some in the broader secular movement that women activists are some new and exotic species whose insistence on being heard and recognized as equals can be ignored or even brutally punished without any great loss to the secular movement itself. While this perception is plainly incorrect, the obstacle nevertheless persists.

It can take many shapes and forms. One particularly illustrative example is the pushback to instituting anti-harassment policies at secular conferences in order to address and mitigate the harassment and sexual assault many people have experienced in these venues, and that many others say drove them from the movement entirely. In one of the more hilarious and revealing instances, a prominent atheist dude proclaimed that such policies are fun-prohibiting rules promulgated by “dull,” “hypersensitive pencil-necked PC jockey” “killjoys”—despite the fact that conferences in virtually any other area of endeavor have instituted anti-harassment policies for the safety and enjoyment of all participants. Well, all participants except toxic and entitled creeps.

The Her•Story Project aims to counter the ahistorical narrative underlying this obstacle with an ongoing series of posts highlighting the contributions of secular women throughout history and into the present day. A second but no less important aim of The Her•Story Project is to inform and inspire younger generations of secular women activists. A chance encounter proved just how necessary this effort is.

Presentations at a CFI Women in Secularism conference by both Susan Jacoby and Jennifer Michael Hecht touched on contributions of women being routinely written out of historical narratives in favor of (no more or less worthy) men. A woman’s erasure turns out to be even more likely when she is a nonbeliever or otherwise unorthodox. (Similarly, atheist men also tend to be erased from historical narratives in favor of believers—this is religious privilege at work.) On a break after the talks, several attendees were perplexed—a few actually incensed—that they had never even heard of the extraordinary women discussed by Jacoby and Hecht. One way to remedy this is to read the book No Gods — No Masters: Women Without Superstition by Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-founder and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), as well as FFRF’s daily e-newsletter Freethought of the Day, which regularly highlights secular women. Thus we are positively thrilled that FFRF has agreed to contribute profiles of secular women to The Her•Story Project. Said Annie Laurie Gaylor:

“We all owe a debt to the freethinking feminists who have dared speak truth to patriarchal religion, and who sparked and have nurtured the feminist movement. I’m delighted to see attention to the contributions and lives of secular women.“

Kim Rippere, President and Founder of Secular Woman added:

“The last place these women belong is the dustbin of history. Their contributions stand as a ringing testament to their wisdom and strength, all the more so for obstacles they so often faced solely on account of their gender. We celebrate their lives in the hope that each new generation of secular women activists need not keep fighting the same battles, over and over again, for the recognition and respect they deserve.“

We are committed to telling these stories, even as we forge our own. We will dispel the myth that secular women activists are a new phenomenon, and simultaneously expose the truth that women in the secular movement have been—and will continue to be—forces to be reckoned with. Our activism has always been a source of tremendous power, and like our many sisters who came before us, we fully intend to unleash it in the service of a more just, more secular world.

For everyone.



P.S. If you have read this far, consider this your invitation to contribute a profile of the secular woman of your choice. See here for publication guidelines and to submit a profile. For more information, contact Kim Rippere at [email protected].

Her•Story Secular Woman

Her•Story Profile Submission


  1. Profile should be approximately 500-750 words, but can be up to 1200 words.
  2. Content should touch on biographical details, historical context and your subject’s contribution to secularism, broadly construed to encompass scientific advances, literary works, social progress, the arts, or other notable achievements in countering the prevailing orthodoxies of their day.
  3. Include links to external sources within your profile.
  4. An accompanying image (.jpg or .png) of your subject is desirable although not required (and in some cases no likeness may even exist). Images must be (and accompanied by a statement to that effect.):
    • in the public domain, or
    • available under Creative Commons or similar license, and accompanied by all required credits, links and notations, or
    • your own original work,
  5. Please cross-post to your own platform(s) and/or promote your post to your social media network(s) within 7 days after the article is published on the Secular Woman site, and include a link to Secular Woman. The hashtag is #SWHerStory.
  6. Articles may be edited for grammar, length, and other factors. Typically, Secular Woman does not edit for content; we may, though, on a case-by-case basis.
  7. You will receive notification about your submission within 72 hours.
  8. Decisions about publication and editing are at the sole discretion of Secular Woman.

For more information, contact Kim Rippere at [email protected].

Her•Story Secular Woman

Her•Story Article Submission Form


  1. Author must be a Secular Woman member submitting their own article (please include a title).
  2. Post should be between 300-600 words ideally, but can be up to 1200 words.
  3. Include links within your article to external sources.
  4. Please do not cross-post for at least 7 days after the article is published on Secular Woman.
  5. Articles may be edited for grammar, length, and other factors.
  6. Typically, Secular Woman is does not edit for content; we may, though, on a case-by-case basis.
  7. You will receive notification about your submission with 72 hours.
  8. Decisions about publication and editing are at the sole discretion of Secular Woman.

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Herstory of U.S. Women’s Right to Vote

Second article in Secular Woman’s Women’s History Month Series.

by Toni Van Pelt

Adapted from NY Times story by Judy Pehrson 2001

The struggle for enfranchisement in the United States, a woman’s right to vote, actually began in 1848 at the Seneca Falls Convention, led by Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony (Judy Pehrson NY Times 2001). The Declaration of Sentiments adopted at the convention demanded the right to vote, as well as equal rights in education, industry, the professions, political office, marriage, personal freedom, control of property, guardianship of children, making of contracts, the church and in the leadership of all moral and public movements.

The Suffrage Amendment was introduced into Congress a generation later, but it remained on the shelf. By 1912 it had only once been voted on in the Senate in 1887 and never in the House of Representatives. It had not received a favorable report from the committee of either house since 1892, and had not received a report of any kind since 1896. Suffrage had not been debated on either floor since 1887. To add to the bleak outlook for the amendment, incoming President Woodrow Wilson opposed it.

It was into this vacuum that feminist Alice Paul came. Paul, a well educated Quaker from NJ, who had participated in the British Suffrage Movement while studying in England set about bringing the issue of votes for women to the attention of Congress, the President and the country as a whole. After years of trying friendly persuasion, the National Woman’s Party, which she founded, and it’s 50,000 members decided to change tactics and took to the streets. They marched, picketed the White House, held rallies and publicly burned speeches by President Wilson about freedom abroad, protesting that women had no freedom at home. For their trouble they were harassed by onlookers, beaten by the police and arrested and force-fed when they went on hunger strikes.

Through it all Paul and her followers stood fast with the dedication described by one of them who told a judge “So long as you send women to jail for asking for freedom, just so long will there be women willing to go to jail for such a cause.”

Paul also used quieter tactics, such as education. She eventually convinced Wilson to support suffrage and he included it as an issue in his message to Congress in 1918.

Finally, in June 1919 the Senate passed the 19th amendment and Paul and the National Woman’s Party went on the road to assure ratification by the states. After ONE year of strenuous maneuvering, 36 states finally ratified the amendment – Tennessee was the last to ratify on August 18, 1920. The final proclamation granting women the vote was signed August 26, 1920 – ending a four-generation struggle.

Alice Paul wrote the Equal Rights Amendment in 1923, three years later. It took 72 years from the time women’s voting rights were envisioned and written down to became a reality. It has been 90 years since the Equal Rights Amendment was envisioned and written down. How much longer will it be before women are written into the U.S. Constitution with complete human rights equal to men?

Her•Story: Matilda Joslyn Gage


In Woman as Inventor, Matilda Joslyn Gage gives a brief sampling of the way history has deprived women of receiving credit or, sometimes, profit from their inventions and some reasons why.  Gage says "If in this day of respect for woman, and of the printing press to disseminate knowledge, we find multitudes of such instances, we can well imagine of how much inventive reputation she has been robbed in ages past.

The Matilda Effect, coined by Margaret Rossiter after Gage, posits that women and their scientific achievements are often credited to men or erased entirely. Even though Title IX increased the involvement of women in the scientific community since 1972, men are twice as likely to win an award for scholarly research regardless of their representation in the nomination pool. In otherwords, there may be more women in science, but they aren't winning the awards for the work they do. In 1870, Gage brought light to a phenomenon we are still struggling with today.


"There is a word sweeter than mother, home or heaven. That word is liberty."


Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898),  Suffragette, abolitionist, Native American activist, secularist and feminist, believed she had been "born with a hatred of oppression." She served, alongside Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, in the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), arguing that women had a natural right to vote. Gage worked with Anthony and Stanton on the History of Woman Suffrage  Volumes I through III as well as Stanton's The Woman's Bible.

She was particularly passionate about exposing the crimes of the church against women; and during a 1890 Women’s National LIberal Convention stated, "It is the church and not the state, to which the teaching of woman's inferiority is due: it is the church which primarily commanded the obedience of woman to man. It is the church which stamps with religious authority the political and domestic degradation of woman." Gage felt strongly that the church was the root cause of the oppression of women. As the conservatives entered the Suffrage movement, Gage and her radical views were unwelcome, leading her to found the Women's National Liberal Union, a radical feminist group who fought against the church's oppression of women. Her book Woman, Church and State, published in  1893, details years of misogyny in the name of Christianity.

While Anthony's and even Stanton's names are known, Gage, because of her anti-church views became a casualty of her own type of Matilda effect.

We value Matilda Joslyn Gage for amplifying the voices of women and fighting religion as a justification for the oppression of women.