Gender segregation guidelines withdrawn by Universities UK

In a stunning victory for the campaign against gender segregation in British universities, Universities UK has now dropped its controversial guidelines which would have allowed visiting speakers to segregate students on the basis of their gender.

In a stunning victory for the Campaign Against Gender Segregation in universities, Universities UK has dropped controversial guidelines which would have allowed visiting speakers to segregate students on the basis of their gender.

After our protest on Tuesday, followed by interventions by the Prime Minister David Cameron and shadow business secretary Chuka Ummuna, Universities UK has now said it will review the controversial guidelines.

As the Guardian reports:

Universities UK said a controversial case study setting out the guidance was being withdrawn while it reviewed its stance, but insisted the legal position remained unclear on whether the voluntary separation of men and women could be allowed at events such as lectures on Islam by visiting speakers.

Cameron’s spokesman had earlier said Universities UK should urgently review the guidance.

His intervention followed comments by the education secretary, Michael Gove, who accused the body that represents universities of “pandering to extremists”.

As we reported earlier, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) released a statement saying that segregation as proposed by the vice-chancellors’ body was “not permissible” under existing equality laws.

This was followed by a statement from David Cameron saying “He does not believe that guest speakers should be allowed to address segregated audiences, so he believes that Universities UK should urgently review its guidance.”

Everyone involved in the campaign should congratulate themselves for all their hard work and remain vigilant: Universities UK has said it is going to “clarify” the guidance. It’s important to see precisely what that means before celebrating.

Well done, all the same.

Here, again, is why we were protesting against the guidelines. And again, from the Campaign Against Gender Segregation in British Universities.

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12 Responses to “Gender segregation guidelines withdrawn by Universities UK”

  1. Peter Risdon

    Well done. Fine job.

  2. Sparky

    But what about the Human Rights of the visiting speakers? Socialists have done so much to promote the rights and sensibilities of ethnic minorities and foreign nationals coming to the UK. To do otherwise is racist. They’ve been telling us this for years.

  3. ChocolateMachine

    Unnecessary hoo ha being created over seating plans at events where these campaigners would most likely never even attend. If some people prefer to sit separately then let them do so, it is a free country. No one is imposing segregation on someone who does not want it. I’d like to hear people’s views on single-sex grammar schools that have been producing the country’s top students for hundreds of years; and no one has ever had a problem with that.

  4. Chris Kitcher

    Well done all concerned. Time to stop the politically correct brigade.

  5. TM

    It’s all rather muddled and contradictory political correctness now isn’t it? One minute it’s actually about challenging racism, class prejudice (to a point), ingrained sexism and homophobia, which is a good thing IMHO, but now the PC brigade have become like the radical Puritans under Cromwell during the English Civil War, or like the Taliban. They have got too much power of a sort and they see a soft target and they attack, as long as it’s acceptable to the PC Middle class, but anything which might be contentious in any way, such as this little debacle, and they all go quiet don’t they? Does segregation and PC sensibility really go hand in hand? What strange bedfellows they make??!! We should call them the ‘PC Taliban.’

  6. swatnan

    The problem is in the word ‘voluntary’; there’s little you can do if people want to deny themselves their freedoms. Or is there? If yoiu consider they’ve been conditioned and brainwashed in a certain way of thinking through years of up bringing and what a ‘holy book’ says. We have to take a stand and say enough is enough.

  7. David

    Ayatollahs came to per in Iran in 1979. The first thing they introduced was the segregation of students at universities under sharia law. Remember, devil manifest itself in many ways… through solidarity and vigilance we can maintain our freedom. The very person who demands a segregated audience should not be given any platform to air his primitive and rotten opinion.

  8. ThisIsTheEnd

    Don’t understand this “What about single sex schools” argument which pro-segregation advocates use. There is no segregation WITHIN a single sex school. The debate is about segregation within a mixed gender environment. Another illustration of the weakness of segregation/apartheid arguments

  9. Aaron Aarons

    Although I’m no expert on the education systems in the U.K., I find it hard to believe that “nobody has ever had a problem with” “single-sex grammar schools that have been producing the country’s top students for hundreds of years”, especially given that, for most of that time, they produced mainly males to take their place in the in the management for the capitalist class of Britain and the Empire.

  10. Aaron Aarons

    I would think that “the politically correct brigade” are those, like me and like most of the writers here, who oppose allowing speakers, sponsoring groups, or university officials to impose gender segregation on an audience. Opposition to persecution of Muslims, Christians, Jews, or whatever for their beliefs or their group identification does not mean letting them impose their practices on society or to use public resources to engage in those practices.

  11. Aaron Aarons

    So you want to maintain your freedom by deciding what opinions are too “primitive and rotten” to be given a platform to air? Contrary to you, I would argue that the only kinds of speech that should be prevented is the kind that aims to incite violence of the strong against the weak, as the BNP and other fascists and white supremacists were and are inclined to do.

  12. Chris Kitcher

    Can’t agreed sorry, they are the PC brigade we are the sensible ones who have our own minds and use them.

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