Steve Bowen has a good post about UniversitiesUKgendersegregation. And, specifically, Nicola Dandridge. (She’s personally getting all the heat over this issue, but she’s the only name that’s been put out there. It’s almost as if she’s their sacrificial lamb or something…Except not quite because equality is in fact her field, as we learned last week. She’s a specialist in equality, and this is the dog’s breakfast she’s defending.
From Steve Bowen’s post:
There is no universal human right to non-association and nor should there be. If you are the kind of person who does not want the company of a certain gender, creed or race, your only right is to avoid places where those individuals go. Universities are open publicly funded spaces and whether or not the speaker is a Muslim or Haredi Jew, or even if most of the audience are, the fundamental principle should be one of equal and open access to all parts of the auditorium.
Dandridge also insisted that universities were not being advised to “enforce” gender segregation, but this is [dis]ingenuous. Social norms will always compel people to follow the stated protocols and if you happen to be, for example, a Muslim woman in that situation there is zero chance that you will risk the [dis]approbation of your peers by bucking the system. The very act of offering segregated seating, even if mixed areas are also available will mean that at least a proportion of the audience will be compelled to segregate whether they really want to or not.
Dandridge seems to be carefully oblivious to that obvious fact. It’s infuriating.