The Telegraph has the skinny on what the Equality and Human Rights Commission thinks of the gender segregation issue.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it will help re-write guidance, published by Universities UK (UUK) last month, which said Muslim societies and other groups were entitled to practice gender segregation at public meetings on campus.
Mark Hammond, the EHRC’s chief executive, said gender segregation was “not permissible” under equalities laws, adding that UUK’s guidance required clarification.
By agreeing to go back to the drawing board with the EHRC’s help, the vice-chancellors’ organisation appeared to have headed off the prospect of a legal challenge from the official watchdog.
There: the Telegraph described UUK properly: it’s “the vice-chancellors’ organization”; it’s not the representative of the universities.
Its controversial guidance to universities across Britain said segregation could be acceptable as long as men and women were seated side by side rather than with women at the back.
It also said that any event where some segregation took place for religious reasons should also provide a separate, non-segregated area.
Mr Hammond said: “Equality law permits gender segregation in premises that are permanently or temporarily being used for the purposes of an organised religion where its doctrines require it.
“However, in an academic meeting or in a lecture open to the public it is not, in the commission’s view, permissible to segregate by gender.”
What we said all along. Public meeting or debate or lecture. That’s what the “guidance” was about and that’s what we disagreed with so strongly.
The EHRC’s announcement came after UUK’s chief executive insisted gender segregation was not completely “alien” in British life.
Nicola Dandridge said: “It’s not something which is so alien to our culture that it has to be regarded like race segregation, which is totally different and it’s unlawful and there’s no doubt about that whatsoever.
“This is about ensuring that everyone has the right to sit where they want, including those who wish to sit in separate areas.”
You know…Dandridge really ought to stop saying that. She’s not thinking it through. (Why the hell not? Since it is after all her specialty?) She is forgetting that “those who wish to sit in separate areas” can include those who wish to sit in areas with no Jews / blacks / foreigners / dalits / you name it. This attempt to control and purify and sanitize public spaces from the pollution of filthy Others is at the heart of racism and all its cognates. It’s the direct opposite of equality and as such it is not a “right”. She might as well claim that white people have a right to swim in separate municipal swimming pools.