Continuing with Universities UK’s ridiculous and rebarbative approach to demands for gender segregation by “controversial” invited speakers at university debates.
In practice, a balance of interests is most likely
to be achieved if it is possible to offer attendees
both segregated and non-segregated seating
areas, although if the speaker is unwilling to
accept this, the institution will need to consider the
speaker’s reasons under equalities legislation.
They shouldn’t be attempting a “balance of interests” between equality and inequality, segregation and no segregation, apartheid and no apartheid. Would they attempt that if a “controversial” racist speaker demanded the audience be segregated by race? I certainly hope not, and I also think they absolutely would not. So why are they giving away the rights of women with such a free hand?
And if the speaker is unwilling to accept even their disgusting “balance of interests” they need to drop that particular speaker. They do not need to keep crawling on their bellies in front of him. They need to tell the speaker No at the outset, and then all this waffling will be surplus to requirements.
Note that decisions can be very fact-dependent,
and that the law applies differently in different
scenarios. For example, there is an express
prohibition in the Equality Act against segregation
on racial grounds, and there are also special
provisions in relation to single-sex sporting
events. The points above are not intended as a
substitute for seeking appropriate legal advice.
Aha so they admit it – there is an express prohibition in the Equality Act against segregation on racial grounds. Well why’s that then? Because it’s discriminatory; because it’s unequal treatment. The same applies to gender segregation. Period. Connect the fucking dots, will you please?
Other practical considerations
Who is chairing the event?
What is known about the speaker?
What reasons do the speaker and/or the
society give for the event to be segregated?
Is the event open to the public?
Is there scope for segregation to
Has input been sought from the institution’s
equality and diversity officer?
Is it advisable to obtain legal advice, and/or to
seek advice from the Equality Challenge Unit?
Can any steps be taken to ensure
segregation is voluntary?
If no segregation is permitted, will this
discriminate against any groups who will
now be unable to attend the event?
Are there particular issues around potential
discrimination, public order etc, including because
of the particular demographic/religious/cultural
makeup of the institution’s student body?
Is the event likely to generate media coverage?
Do the press office and senior management
team or vice-chancellor need to be informed?
They could have saved themselves so much trouble if they had just said No back at the beginning, when the speaker first made the request. No. Just No. That’s all.