In past years, the vote has been closer. But I don’t think anyone will be surprised by 2011’s Most Influential Female Atheist:

Rebecca Watson

She blew away the field with a whopping 233 votes. And she earned the recognition. I don’t think Rebecca knew quite what she was getting into when she made that initial benign comment, but her perseverance through the resulting shitstorm was amazing. She exposed the reality of sexism in the atheist and skeptical movement, alerting people to the problem and inspiring social change.

But one of the reasons I love doing this poll is because multiple women are recognized, and I often learn about a lot of new ladies that deserve my attention. Here are some of the runner ups:

Greta Christina (105 votes) – For her “consistent excellence”, especially her talk at Skepticon: Why Are Atheists So Angry? “Even when she’s writing about something that has pissed her off, she never comes across as snappy or condescending.”

Jessica Ahlquist (48 votes) -“For trying to make my high school abide by the Constitution, as well as for inspiring other young activists.” “Because of her courage in facing a school full of antagonistic believers every day.”

Maryam Namazie (25 votes) – “For her brave and public leadership against the rising tide of radical Islam in Britain (and elsewhere).” “For doing what she does with grace and style and always remaining a strong, inspiring and positive force of nature despite the horrific hateful racism and misogynist bigotry that’s continually thrown her way.”

Natalie Reed (19 votes) – “A real trailblazer into what was previously (and still is) an issue of near invisibility in our community: transgenderism.”

Ophelia Benson (18 votes) – “I find her blog, Butterflies and Wheels to be greatly influential and informative for me personally.”

Aliaa Magda Elmahdy (17 votes) – “For the single most audacious act of protest against theocracy this past year.” “Who else has enraged and entire country? Who else has raised awareness so globally? Who else now lives with very real death threats?”

Ayaan Hirsi Ali (13 votes) – “She is the most courageous person I’ve ever heard of, and though she didn’t do anything to garner much publicity in ’11 (which may well be a *good* thing, given the desires of the many people who wish to see her brutally murdered), her shadow looms large across the whole of skepticism. She sits astride the ‘respect’ the faithful demand, providing the ultimate counterexample to the fatuous bleating of ‘peace’ and ‘love’ mumbled so soddenly. Every day she draws breath is a victory over the medieval cowards who wish to see her destroyed for standing up and daring to strike off the shackles of ignorance that hold far too many people in bondage.”

Amanda Marcotte (13 votes) – “Because she’s so good at articulating and elucidating things that I subconsciously pick up on but haven’t quite thought through.”

Godless Bitches Podcast (10 votes) – A group award for Beth Presswood, Jen Peeples, Tracie Harris, and Lynnea Glasser. “This gives me more to think about in any given week than just about anything else.” “It’s a wonderful show and wonderfully educational.”

Thanks to everyone who voted! And thanks to those of you who voted for me – I really appreciate it :)

2010: Ayaan Hirsi Ali
2009: Tracie Harris & Jen Peeples