Posts Tagged ‘ Gender segregation ’

Shohana Khan

Dec 12th, 2013 6:24 pm | By

On the other hand there’s a post by Shohana Khan, Women’s Media Representative of Hizb ut Tahrir Britain. Her post is not a good post.

Placard reading “we reject gender apartheid” waved at a winter evening protest. Fiery discussions about the imposition of medieval practices in Universities, unleashed in the media, as yet again another Muslim practice is in the firing line. The report issued by Universities UK which has allowed Islamic societies to practice voluntary gender separated seating in their events, has created uproar. Allowing this Islamic practice in UK Universities would be a travesty for women’s rights. Apparently.

That’s a discouraging first paragraph. Demands for gender segregation at university public events is not “another Muslim practice.” It’s … Read the rest

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The assertion of religious political power

Dec 12th, 2013 5:35 pm | By

The Telegraph reported on the gender segregation protest.

Maryam Namazie, a researcher at the University of London and one of the organisers of the event, said that she has noticed a rise of Islamism across UK Universities that is not truly representing the views of most Muslims.   She said: “In the UUK’s efforts to be inclusive they are encouraging sexism and endorsing discrimination.

“It’s about free speech and its about Islamists imposing their rules and projecting women as symbols of chaos in society.” 

A whole host of speakers were at the protest that climaxed in the chanting of ‘shame on UUK’ directed at the organisation’s headquarters.

There’s a picture of people at the protest above that passage, with Maryam … Read the rest

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Nicola Dandridge speaks

Dec 12th, 2013 1:48 pm | By

I’ve just been listening to Today’s Today programme on UUK and gender segregation. I’ve got to run off so will post later but there it is for your listening pleasure fury. It starts just before 2 hrs 10.

I find Dandridge simply astonishing. I can hardly believe what I’m hearing. Fortunately Justin Webb sounds almost as incredulous as I am, and he keeps pushing back.

Jack Straw is very definite about what he thinks.

The BBC and everyone really needs to stop saying UUK represents UK universities, because (if David Colqhoun is right, and I think he would know) it doesn’t, it represents the vice-chancellors, not the universities. That does make a difference.

Dandridge actually seems to think that … Read the rest

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‘Have the people who are likely to come to this event agreed to the segregation?’

Dec 12th, 2013 11:53 am | By

The BBC reports on UUK’s statement.

Universities UK says it has today requested legal clarification from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In a letter, Universities UK which represents 132 institutions, has asked the Commission to consider having the issue clarified by the High Court, “or provide a clear and public statement about the law and the relevant policy considerations”.

The row over the UUK guidance has sparked protests from students and some MPs.

UUK actually doesn’t represent 132 institutions, it represents 132 vice-chancellors.

Along with students and MPs the row has also sparked protests from journalists and activists and bystanders like me.

Shadow business secretary Chukka Umunna told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme he was “horrified”.

While former

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UUK speaks at last

Dec 12th, 2013 10:44 am | By

Universities UK has issued a press release on the gender segregation issue.

Statement from Universities UK:

Universities UK’s publication External speakers in higher education institutions aims to provide guidance to institutions in managing the process for inviting external speakers onto campus, both in terms of upholding principles of free speech, and also complying with the law. It was produced with significant input from a range of organisations and individuals (referenced in the full report) as well as extensive legal advice.

The guidance is not prescriptive. It is intended to provide practical assistance to universities in making decisions about who they choose to invite to speak on campus, steering them through all the different considerations, legal and otherwise, that apply.

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Nick Cohen spurns the proffered compromise

Dec 11th, 2013 5:16 pm | By

Nick Cohen has posted round 2 of his disagreement with Universities UK over its guidance on gender segregation.

On the Today programme this morning Justin Webb covered the decision by Universities UK to allow fundamentalist speakers to segregate women from men at public meetings.

With a characteristic disdain for accepted standards of behaviour, Universities UK refused to go on air and answer his questions. Webb had to ‘put the other side of the story’ himself. He told a Palestinian woman demonstrating outside Universities UK headquarters in central London, [1hr 36mins in] ‘What Universities UK say is, if non segregated seating is also provided it could be all right.’

Put like that it can sound just about all right.

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Channel 4 reported on the protest

Dec 10th, 2013 4:21 pm | By

Channel 4 reported not just the protest but also the subject of the protest, and did it rather well, too.

They talked to Maryam there. Meet Maryam!

Chris Moos, a PhD student at the London School of Economics, who is attending the protest, told Channel 4 News: “What we want to achieve is for Universities UK to immediately rescind their guidelines condoning gender segregation, and issue guidelines that clearly lay out that any kind of segregation, whether under racist, cultural, religious, nationalistic or sexist pretences, is wrong and has no place in the public space.”

Erin Marie Saltman, research project officer at Quilliam and PhD researcher at UCL (University College London), told Channel 4 News: “This is

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What will they do if a Muslim female Mandela sits with the men?

Dec 9th, 2013 3:40 pm | By

If you do go to that protest in Tavistock Square tomorrow, you might see Yasmin Alibhai-Brown there. She plans to go. She minces no words in her piece on the subject in the Independent.

Sexist dress codes and other behaviours are being spread and pushed in British universities by retrograde Islamic societies and individuals, most of them men – though there are always willing maidens who say “yes, yes, yes” to such diktats. UUK upholds this apartheid and offers up nauseating justifications. It’s done in the name of free speech. Yes, really. “Concerns … [for the] beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its

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A revival in adherence to normative Islamic practices

Nov 28th, 2013 12:10 pm | By

The iERA, the Islamic Education and Research Academy, has issued a press release agreeing (surprise surprise!) with UUK’s guidelines on girl cooties gender segregation. Tl; dr: it’s religious freedom, it’s great.

The debate about separation came to the fore earlier this year at an iERA event entitled: “Islam or Atheism: Which Makes More Sense?” between Hamza Tzortzis and Professor Lawrence Krauss at the University College of London (UCL) on 9th March 2013. UCL subsequently refused to take any further bookings from iERA, accusing them of “forced segregation”.

iERA later released its own findings of an externally supervised investigation into the accusation of forced gender segregation at the debate. The investigation concluded that there was no such policy or evidence that

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And still no response from UUK

Nov 27th, 2013 12:20 pm | By

The Universities UK blog continues to get strongly critical comments on Nicola Dandridge’s post defending its position on gender segregation. It also continues not to reply to any of them.

The latest is by Chris Moos, summing up the state of play.

43 comments, each and every one of them negative. And still no response from UUK.. Who is charge of PR again? or is everyone too busy writing reports that figure out how to [defend?] other kinds of segregation practices?

There’s also one from a University of Manchester physicist.

UUK: Perhaps you might like to take a look at the top of this page where you say:

“We are the representative organisation for the UK’s universities”


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Swimming in Tukwila

Nov 26th, 2013 5:20 pm | By

Jeez, even here in Seattle. Although this time it’s about women-only (and sometimes also men-only) times at municipal swimming pools. That’s a bit of a special case, in a way, since it requires being sparsely dressed. But…it’s also the thin end of the slippery nose under the tent. Wait, that’s not quite right…

Earlier this month, a resident filed a gender-discrimination complaint with the state Human Rights Commission (HRC), challenging not the women’s swim time at the Tukwila pool but the men-only component, after she said she was unable to accompany and supervise her 11-year-old son there.

Last Thursday, the HRC closed the complaint, saying that since the pool offers swim times for both women and men, no gender discrimination

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The gender segregation stipulated by Islam is not implemented

Nov 26th, 2013 4:49 pm | By

This is an interesting example, from Germany in January 2012.

A German man has created a new website to arrange shared car trips with a twist – it’s targeted toward Muslims, and drivers can only offer transport to members of the same sex.

Called, the site is based on the same principle as other popular websites like , which lets cost-conscious Germans arrange shared car rides.

Those interested in offering rides specify their gender, asking price and how many passengers they can accommodate. Potential passengers contact the driver directly.

In operation since late last year, the website has attracted its share of criticism. People have accused Reid of trying to create a parallel society and

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Universities once barred women altogether

Nov 26th, 2013 11:13 am | By

Polly Toynbee also objects to UUK’s separate-but-equal policy.

Separate but equal; where have we heard that before? Apartheid South Africa is no metaphor for anything else, but women of my generation and all those before were told over and over again that the sexes are different “but equal”, as an excuse for excluding them from places they didn’t belong: they should be doing “separate but equal” in the kitchen, bedroom and nursery. Whatever is segregated by diktat is rarely equal.

And not just our generation and older, but younger generations too; women are still told that. That is still official Vatican dogma – women are equal but “complementary” – women are equal but different, and they must not try … Read the rest

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Rory Fenton condemns

Nov 25th, 2013 8:48 pm | By

At the New Humanist, Rory Fenton says no thank you.

It is astounding how quickly we forget or wilfully ignore that human rights are there to protect people – not beliefs. At the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, of which I’m president, we increasingly see this confused notion of rights being applied on UK campuses. Whether it’s our student groups intimidated for “blasphemy”, as at LSE and Reading, or religious societies refusing unmarried women permission to speak, as at Bristol, this trumping of individual rights by the supposed rights of “beliefs” is increasingly common.

…nestled in the report was a bizarre and backward recommendation; universities should be willing to enforce sex segregation between male

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BHA condemns

Nov 25th, 2013 8:33 pm | By

The BHA condemns Universities UK’s guidelines on gender segregation.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented that ‘Universities are secular institutions, not places of worship, and sex segregation should have no place in secular spaces in which we expect to find equality between men and women.  It would be completely unacceptable if a visiting speaker tried to segregate an audience along racial lines, so sex segregation should be equally unacceptable.  Universities UK have characterised this as a freedom of speech issue, but this is misleading.  A visiting speaker’s right to freedom of speech entitles them to express their political and religious views, but not to impose these views on the audience.’

Damn right. If it’s obviously unacceptable on … Read the rest

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They have to be separated in school

Nov 25th, 2013 3:35 pm | By

Thurgood Marshall arguing Brown v Board of Education before the Supreme Court in 1953.

I got the feeling on hearing the discussion yesterday that when you put a white child in a school with a whole lot of colored children, the child would fall apart or something. Everybody knows that is not true.  Those same kids in Virginia and South Carolina – and I have seen them do it – they play in the streets together, they play on their farms together, they go down the road together, they separate to go to school, they come out of school and play ball together. They have to be separated in school. There is some magic to it. You can have them

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How to ensure that no one is unlawfully excluded

Nov 25th, 2013 12:49 pm | By

Nicola Dandridge of Universities UK has written a blog post explaining that UUK is not promoting gender segregation. That’s nice, but I don’t know of anyone who said it was. The objection is that UUK is treating gender segregation as permissible, and that it said it’s not unequal.

Since its publication, there has been some public debate on a small component of the guidance: a hypothetical case study (p.27) in which an external speaker on faith in the modern world requests that the audience is segregated according to gender. The case study reflects the challenges of accommodating everyone’s views, from those whose religious beliefs require them to sit separately with their own gender, to those who wish to sit

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He “knew it was not appropriate to sit next to women”

Nov 25th, 2013 12:11 pm | By

What a claustrophobic mind we see in this post claiming that Maryam’s petition against Universities UK’s guidelines that allow sexual segregation at the behest of guest speakers is “Islamophobic.”

Petition site Avaaz are running asking people to condemn Universities UK’s statement on sex segregation in events held on campus. Please DON’T sign it. It might use intellectual language, but its both factually dubious and distinctly Islamphobic.

First, its worth pointing out that the lectures and visiting lecturers being talked about are student-organised speaking events. They are not course lectures. Allowing such meetings to take place on campus is an important part of encouraging debate and widening participation in Higher Education. Furthermore, it allows Muslim women to meet and discuss their

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The confusion thickens

Nov 24th, 2013 11:54 am | By

The Independent seems to have a very bizarre understanding of the Universities UK guidance on how to manage guest speakers.

The document comes out in the wake of a number of incidents where freedom of speech has been threatened – in particular an Egyptian speaker at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies was forced to abandon a speech largely because of protests from the Muslim Brotherhood.

In addition, research by Student Rights, a pro-equality group, shows that there were 180 cases of radical preachers speaking at university events in the year up to March 2013. It shows some ways in which freedom of speech can be preserved even if the speaker is controversial – such as segregating different

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Let’s relive Plessy v Ferguson, only Plessy’s a woman

Nov 23rd, 2013 1:29 pm | By

Helen Dale pointed out in a comment on my Facebook post that the UK Universities are paraphrasing Plessy v Ferguson, with sex switched in for race. Yeah. Plessy was decided in 1896. Brown v Board of Education overturned Plessy.

Right, let’s have a bit of Plessy v Ferguson, courtesy of Cornell.

The object of the [14th] amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but, in the nature of things, it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws permitting, and even requiring, their separation in places

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