Sex apartheid not discriminatory?

Universities UK, a “representative” body of UK Universities, has issued guidelines on external speakers saying that the segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as both men and women are segregated side by side rather than women being made to sit in the back! The guidance states:

Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating. Both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.

So racial apartheid would have been non-discriminatory if white and black people had been segregated in the same manner? In fact that is the very argument the apartheid regime of South Africa used when faced with criticism:”separate but equal.”

The Universities UK guidance adds:

“Segregation in the context of the facts outlined above would only be discriminatory on the grounds of sex if it amounts to ‘less favourable treatment’ of either female or male attendees.” … “It should therefore be borne in mind that […] concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system.” …

“Ultimately, if imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”

Clearly, this is not about people’s belief systems.

If it were so, Muslims would be unable to ride buses, the underground, enter their workplaces via entrances used by both men and women, eat in non-segregated restaurants… They wouldn’t even be able to get to the segregated meeting room since men and women would be mingling freely on the streets and halls right up to their entry into the segregated hall kindly organised by Universities UK.

gender_segregation-150x150And what next? Another set of guidelines asking unveiled women to veil so as not to “result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system.” Maybe they can ask that niqabs be handed out to unchaste and unveiled women before entry.

More importantly, what about the women and men, including Muslims, who don’t want to be segregated? What Universities UK conveniently forgets is that segregation of the sexes and the veil are highly contested even amongst Muslims. By justifying segregation, they choose to side with Islamists at the expense of women’s rights and equality.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand that segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal but rather to separate the “superior” from the “inferior.” Women are too “beguiling” to sit next to men; they will cause chaos and fitnah and therefore must be segregated and veiled. Universities UK agrees.

The guidance must be rescinded immediately.

I suggest writing and calling and exposing this lot until they do. Here are their details:

Woburn House 20 Tavistock Square London WC1H 9HQ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7419 4111
Twitter: @UniversitiesUK

I would also suggest that NO speaker or audience ever agree to enter a room that is segregated. We should boycott universities that accept this guidance and the speakers that agree to speak in such situations.

How do you think racial apartheid ended? When people refused to accept it and to submit.

And this is how gender apartheid will end too. Not by appeasement and certainly not by institutionalising misogyny against women. It will end when we insist: no more!

Here is the guidance in full: ExternalSpeakersInHigherEducationInstitutions

(Via Chris Moos)


  1. A. Noyd says

    “Assuming the side-by-side segregated seating arrangement is adopted, there does not appear to be any discrimination on gender grounds merely by imposing segregated seating.”

    Does not appear!? What the fuck do appearances matter when everyone knows the basis for the segregation is not one of women and men being treated equally? Is everyone just supposed to pretend that they’re an extraterrestrial visitor on their first trip to earth and therefore they don’t know why there’s separate seating? That’s completely idiotic.

  2. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.

    –Earl Fucking Warren, nineteen-fifty-fucking-four!

    The 1930s called. They want their apartheid back.

  3. Lofty says

    What is it about devout religious men, can’t they keep their hands to themselves? Hey Mister Muslim, you should try an exercise in self control sometime and respect everyone else on an even footing.

  4. Chris Newell says


    We urgently need to petition against this. It needs to be made clear that many people will refuse to collaborate with, or work within any academic institution that allows segregation by race, gender or sexual orientation. Thus, these guidelines substantially threaten the success of academic life and progress in Britain.

  5. Maffi says

    How odd. I lived in Saudi Arabi for a few years where single men , even groups of single men, could not eat in the same resturant as families. A small plain room was set aside for singles, no single women allowed. Even in Maccy D’s.

  6. peterenglish says

    I may have misread the proposal; but I understood that it proposed that there could be areas for women or men only, as long as there was also space for unsegregated seating – so men and women can sit together if they choose to; but if some men or women want to sit in an area with nobody of the opposite sex in it, they can do so.

    As long as no coercion is applied or permitted – so that people do have a free choice in this – then this would seem a reasonable compromise.

    Or did I misunderstand the proposal?

  7. says

    There’s no such thing as segregated seating that is purely free choice. Think about it. Here’s the “free choice” segregated women’s section. So a guy freely chooses to sit there. Then what happens?

    That babble about “free choice” is just part of the smoke screen. Do not buy into it.

  8. dickspringer says

    I envy the Brits for their medical system, but not for their political “correctness” run amok. Guilt over past imperialism seems to distort the judgment of a lot on the left in the UK, the same as guilt over slavery does in the US. Bertrand Russell once wrote an article on “the superior virtue of the oppressed.” No such thing, of course; he didn’t buy it.

    • bill lutchman says

      So let me see, segregation (separation by gender/colour etc) is the same as slavery (ownership, buying and selling of other human beings). I doubt that’s what Bertrand Russell had in mind somehow.

  9. Tim Harris says

    dickspringer, exactly how does guilt over slavery distort the judgement of a lot on the left in the US? I, and I am sure others, should be interested to know.

  10. Carol Dewey says

    This is not new at universities though. Many universities in the UK have sex segregation in swimming pools during some hours, often with screening off the pool and not having male guards during those hours. It is for religious reasons only. Some libraries in the UK have this as well.

    Universities UK, of course, are very pragmatic — Universities are businesses, and enough “customers” (students) want this (otherwise it would not happen, in the first place). There will be some protests now, but this will just continue, especially because, I assume, most of the people in the audience actuall want this as well, or at least do not mind.


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