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Damion Thompson reports at the Telegraph (yes, I know – the Telegraph) that the University of East London said No to gender segregation at an event on its campus.

blogged yesterday about this “segregated” Muslim event organised by the Islamic Society of the University of East London, due to happen tonight at UEL’s main lecture theatre on its Docklands campus.

Much to my surprise, UEL immediately banned it from their campus. See the reaction below by Peter Tatchell, who brought this to public attention:

Check out the poster for the event.

[Read more…]

Only male lecturers are assigned

More gender segregation at universities and colleges, this time in Israel. (Sorry about that site – it sticks a share button on the margin where it blocks some of the text and you can’t move either the button or the text. Top notch design, there, Al-Monitor.)

Israel is trying to get more ultra-Orthodox to do some work besides poring over the Talmud, but there are complications.

The Council for Higher Education (CHE) reported to the Knesset in February 2014 that many ultra-Orthodox men would like to study in the coming academic year. However, it seems that most will not do so, because they refuse to study in institutions where men and women sit together in classrooms. [Read more…]

Firm to the principles

Chris Moos updates us on the situation with gender segregation at UK universities. It hasn’t noticeably improved.

Worryingly even some elected student officials go so far as to openly advocate segregation. Joe Killen, welfare and diversity officer at Goldsmiths Students’ Union opposes bans on segregation based on an alleged “importance of segregation in political movements.” The Women’s Officer of King’s College London Students’ Union, Shaheen Sattar, who is also a National Union of Students delegate, has gone as far as demanding that “gender segregation should be respected, if not tolerated, in institutions of higher education“, as it was “firm to the principles of Islam”. [Read more…]

Nostalgia for Little Rock in 1956

Ignorant student society proudly announces its rejection of what it ignorantly calls “PM’s call to ban gender segregation” – ignorantly because it’s far from exclusive to the PM and in fact he caught up days after many other people and organizations had issued the same call.

Ignorant student society proudly announces its view that students should decide how societies are run, including segregating any way they want to.

The society is SUARTS, the Students’ Union of University of the Arts London. [Read more…]

Homer Plessy in Edinburgh

The Student Association of Edinburgh University (EUSA) had a meeting a few hours ago. There were many items on the agenda. One item was a motion by the Humanist Society (a subgroup of the Student Association) to

Commit to disallowing imposed or directed segregation, based on any characteristic, in EUSA buildings or at EUSA events.

The Treasurer of the Humanist Society, Jonathan Ainslie, reports that the motion was heavily voted down. Yes that’s right: down. [Read more…]

Cambridge student submits legal note to Universities UK against gender segregation

Joint statement of Southall Black Sisters, One Law for All, Fitnah – Movement for Women’s Liberation and LSE SU Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society

We are pleased to learn of the legal note submitted to Universities UK (UUK) yesterday in the name of Radha Bhatt, a student of Cambridge University, against their Guidance condoning gender segregation.

We share Radha’s apprehensions that gender segregation reinforces negative views specifically about women, undermines their right to participate in public life on equal terms with men and disproportionately impedes women from ethnic and religious minorities, whose rights to education and gender equality are already imperilled. [Read more…]

Fons et origo

I think I know where Pryiamvada Gopal got her distorted and ignorant idea of the people behind the protest against gender segregation. I think she read a repellent article at “Loonwatch” on the website “Islamophobia Today” titled UK: Islamophobes Manufacture “Gender Segregation” Controversy. It’s wrong in just the way her article is wrong, and it does it a few days earlier.

The author is billed as “Ilisha.”

An Islamic society wants to host a university event where–gasp!–men and women are seated separately. Suddenly this minor event is major news in the UK.

Yes, “gasp,” Ilisha. It’s not just routine and normal for university events to seat women and men separately.

People who apparently never planned to attend the event in the first place have decided they must publicly protest “gender apartheid,” an intolerable affront to their sensibilities. [Read more…]

Annoying aspects

Tehmina Kazi, director at British Muslims for Secular Democracy, has an excellent list of

Aspects of the gender segregation debate that have annoyed and perplexed me.

That’s on Facebook; there’s also a version re-posted on a blog (in case you can’t see the Facebook one).

3. Those who are unable to see why it is problematic for a public body like Universities UK to prioritise the whims of external speakers over university public sector equality duties, and THE SPIRIT of equalities law. [Read more…]

Ah there he is now

So, to complete the picture, who should chime in at the Spectator but…Douglas Murray himself. And what do you know, he gets it all wrong too. But of course he gets it wrong from the opposite direction.

He starts by quoting someone unknown who announced that ‘The left doesn’t really matter’. Hooray, he says.

If there is anyone who thinks that a shame they should just look at the contortions ‘the left’ is going through now over the issue of gender segregation. This is the process – which has been occurring on certain university campuses for some time and which a number of people, including colleagues of mine, have long highlighted – that consists of separating audiences according to gender. This segregation occurs because of the demands of some immoderate Muslims.

Anyhow – having been around as an issue for some time, the process has finally been picked up on more widely with such a head of steam that Channel 4 News has repeatedly focussed on the matter, there has been a public demonstration against such segregation, and now the Prime Minister himself has come out opposing it. [Read more…]

Concerns about the motivation

Daniel Trilling at the Rationalist Association blog offered their position on gender segregation today. He started with Gopal’s article.

The piece raised concerns about the motivation of the pressure group Student Rights, which has been campaigning on the topic, and the way in which the story had been picked up by the media, but argued that such concerns should not prevent people from criticising the policy. [Read more…]