Michael holds a BA in Biology with a minor in Philosophy. He likes to spend his free time hiking and defending science, though not usually at the same time. Contrary to popular (but not scientific) belief, the positive and appropriate perception of science is undermined by religion, alternative medicine, the U.S. education system, and most science journalists.
Actually, many religions have been used to justify the oppression of women. (Do I really need to provide examples?) Therefore someone could well become an advocate of atheism and in part support their position by pointing out that nothing in atheism demands the oppression of women the same way many religions do. Therefore, to the extent that the oppression of women/patriarchy is caused by religion (other factors and causes also exist) then atheism and feminism could well be “linked”.
My belief that rocks are hard also does not demand the oppression of women.
As have any number of non-religious philosophies, I don’t see a major connection. Atheism defines a religious viewpoint, I don’t see it as being very likely that someone would become an Atheist based on the fact that they perceive women are oppressed, because that has nothing to do with the only piece of dogma that Atheism has, “I do not believe in a God or gods.”
I personally don’t think that any religion or philosophy, Islam for example, is oppressive to women. Now, the caveat I have to add is that I only take that view when the women in question are free to convert to another religion or discard religion entirely. It isn’t oppression when one enters into something voluntarily and retains the right to exit.
Just to go off on a little tangent here, if there hadn’t been major advantages to the sexual division of labor I doubt very much we would have feminism at all. I would say that the so called oppression of women is a evolutionary artifact. It’s fairly well established that neanderthal females did everything the males did, while in homo sapiens males and females usually seem to have benefited from comparative advantage had by the rudimentary labor specialization.
There is really no way to know, but there is my two cents.