- Posted by Maryam Namazie
- On November 23, 2013
- 14 Comments
- segregation, universities UK
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.
And 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
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)