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sexual segregation in UK universities

(220 Posts)
carlajean Mon 09-Dec-13 19:35:58

I don't know if i've missed any threads on this, but i'm horrified to have just learnt that some UK universities are going to allow sexual segregation in some lectures. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown commented on it in today's Independent, and Polly Toynbee wrote about it in the Guardian.
Why hasn 't the NUS objected?
I'd be interested to hear what other mnetters think about this. As i've said, I object strongly to this, but would be interested to hear what others think.

ParcelFancy Tue 10-Dec-13 14:04:11

What with Mandela in the news ATM, this is bringing back memories of white South Africans saying with a completely straight face: "It's important to have laws to stop black people marrying white people, because black people don't want to marry white people."

And later the more stupid younger ones saying, "I know black people don't want to marry white people, because I never see any who have!"

grimbletart Tue 10-Dec-13 17:40:46

This is the UK. I am ashamed how we pander to these antediluvian views.
What the hell is it about religion that turns others soft in the head and treat it as something special and different?

And yes, where is the NUS? Can you imagine the NUS of the 60s/70s putting up with nonsense?

scattergun Tue 10-Dec-13 19:58:01

This has really disturbed me and would definitely have me protesting in the street and resigning from academic posts in participating universities. Segregation by gender, colour whatever cannot be allowed. Even my devoutly misogynistic dh (I have to carry my own suitcases, open my own jars and put the spiders out - isn't that misogyny?) was shocked by this.

Bumblebzz Tue 10-Dec-13 20:23:37

What a load of nonsense.
How will these undergrads survive in the real world when they leave Uni and (hopefully) get a job, if this is considered normal behaviour.

ChattyKa Tue 10-Dec-13 22:04:48

I went to the demo outside UUK office in Tavistock Square tonight, something I have not done for many a year! Please sign the petition - this makes me scared for my daughter and her future.

carlajean Tue 10-Dec-13 23:08:29

Did many attend chattyKa?

ChattyKa Tue 10-Dec-13 23:21:01

Maybe a hundred but some speakers and quite a lot of noise. I hope there will be more action about this and if there is I will go along! I have seen it is on C4 news site tonight, which is a change as no other news channel has seemed v interested so far.

SunshineSuperNova Tue 10-Dec-13 23:29:22

I've signed.

It's not the first time a patriarchal religion has stamped on gender equality... FFS.

MillyMollyMama Wed 11-Dec-13 02:28:10

C4 News had a good debate with Yasmin Alhibi Brown winning hands down. Universities are publicly funded and therefore no segregation of any sort should be tolerated on any grounds whatsoever. If these people want meetings, they can find a private space in which to hold them. What rules they have in the Mosques is up to them ,but this cannot be allowed to happen in any University or school (as alleged in Derby fairly recently).

Let's hope the students take a more robust approach when these meetings take place and sit where they want.

MoominMammasHandbag Wed 11-Dec-13 12:21:58

I do honestly think we are going backward sometimes. No way would this have been allowed at my University in the eighties.

Totally trivial side issue but in Fresh Meat this week, one of the students was campaigning against lads mags being sold in the SU shop. Please tell me this doesn't really happen. In the eighties we'd have looted and burned the lot of them.

payney954 Wed 11-Dec-13 17:34:01

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

kistanbul Thu 12-Dec-13 08:20:43

Listening to the representative of Universities UK on the Today programme. I'm genuinely shocked.

Why is there even an argument?!

It's disgusting.

alpinemeadow Thu 12-Dec-13 08:27:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheCrimsonQueen Thu 12-Dec-13 08:37:46

Disgusting. Petition signed.

ParcelFancy Thu 12-Dec-13 08:52:29

I've always been a bit hmm about single sex schools too.

Historically they come from the same mindset as the current segregationists - a combination of fear of sex, and of ensuring girls stay in their box don't expect the same education or opportunities as boys.

To some extent this has now been turned on its head, as girls actually get better results in single-sex schools (and boys poorer ones, IIRC). So as long as the schools aren't imposing societal or curricula restrictions, girls' single-sex schools may be in some respects be a good thing.

But it's difficult to be sure. When I did the 11-plus and dinosaurs walked the earth, the pass mark in my area was set higher for girls than for boys, as there were more places at boys' grammar schools than girls'. confused

And then there's the problem of the now underperforming boys.

kistanbul Thu 12-Dec-13 08:56:10

If men/women choose to attend a single sex college, I might not like it, but they can.

This situation is about imposing segregation in institutions where people have not made that choice.

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 09:01:30

alpine I believe the education of children is ultimately their parent's responsibility and so long as those parents ensure they are being educated the state shouldn't interfere with their wishes too much, so home education is fine for example, as is single sex schooling.

Universities are for adults. As an adult male or female I don't expect to be segregated at an event hosted at a university.

Nicola Dandridge on the radio didn't make sense to me. If it is to be done only if the women in the audience choose why can they not just allow informal sex segregation to occur naturally for those who want it? Are the talks open to all-comers on the day? Or is the audience to be by invitation only?

noddyholder Thu 12-Dec-13 09:29:58

Yasmin was on Ch4 news with a representative from the Fed Islamic Students Omar Ali debating this and I was watching with my ds 19. We were both shocked and think this is the start of a slippery slope. Why on earth would something like this even be considered? His opinion was frankly terrifying

noddyholder Thu 12-Dec-13 09:34:07

good article on this

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 10:46:04

I have been reading online about US physicist Lawrence Krauss protesting about an attempt to enforce gender segregation at a meeting at UCL. He was accused by an audience member of intolerance.

TheCrimsonQueen Thu 12-Dec-13 11:56:50

As a muslim woman living in the UK I am grateful that this country is enlightened and is prepared to stand against such disgusting mysogonistic behaviour.

As I woman I have the right to sit wherever I bloody well like. You do not get to tell me where i am allowed to sit, you do not get to judge me for what I wear and I would rather burn in hell than practice a religion that classes me as second class citizen.

Please sign the petition. This blatant sexism has no place in UK universites or anywhere else for that matter.

ParsingFancy Thu 12-Dec-13 12:07:11

noddy, thanks for that article. I am shock at the experiences Albhai Brown describes:
"Some preachers on campus are today telling women to get back into the home, to get out of public life. Muslim women in jeans or with hair uncovered have been asked to leave lecture rooms by clothes vigilantes. Two Muslim LSE students harangued me for my unholy attire and views just a month back."

I had NO idea crap like this was going down in our universities. Who do these arseholes think they are?

fairisleknitter Thu 12-Dec-13 12:19:33

TheCrimsonQueen the Universities UK are suggesting this segregation be allowed under advice from their lawyers in order to comply with Human Rights legislation. No political party could provide contributors to the debate on the Today radio show this morning. I suspect the political parties will try to remain on the sidelines.

Thus this country does not appear to me to be taking a stand at all against the behaviour , rather condoning it and enabling it. (This official advice seems to be get around the issue by not putting women at the back but rather to the side.)

flatpackhamster Thu 12-Dec-13 12:29:41

It's interesting that the left-wing press have finally noticed this, and that it's finally made it on to Mumsnet, because this issue has been raised outside that rather exclusive discussion group for some time.

This is, of course, the inevitable consequence of cultural relativism, where you treat all cultures as equal and anyone not doing so is accused of intolerance and racism. And ironic, I think, that the very same groups who have been so energetic in accusing others of intolerance and racism for years and years and years are now shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you - to find out what happens when you treat all cultures identically.


TheCrimsonQueen the Universities UK are suggesting this segregation be allowed under advice from their lawyers in order to comply with Human Rights legislation.

Frankly that sounds like bollocks to me. It's like the old 'Elf and Safety' argument councils use for not putting hanging baskets up. And it rather smacks of the worst kind of cowardice.

No political party could provide contributors to the debate on the Today radio show this morning. I suspect the political parties will try to remain on the sidelines.

Of course they will, because they're as craven as the universities. They're far more interested in not being seen to give offence than in actually solving a problem.

Thus this country does not appear to me to be taking a stand at all against the behaviour , rather condoning it and enabling it. (This official advice seems to be get around the issue by not putting women at the back but rather to the side.)

What will happen when people have finally had enough and do take a stand? Will we have endless threads condemning evil racialists and blaming the Daily Mail for failing to celebrate diversity?

PointyChristmasFairyWand Thu 12-Dec-13 13:13:27

I'm not sure that conflating this particular issue with the matter of cultural diversity in general is helpful... I would like to think we are a little more sophisticated and a little better able to identify what matters and what does not matter.

Condoning sexism (whether rooted in extremist religoin or not) = bad.
Condemning all multiculturalism = just as bad.

Most of us, whether on the left or the right politically, have the ability to distinguish right from wrong without making sweeping statements. Are you advocating that we should believe that all Western cultural values are better than all other cultural values, flatpack? Because that really would be a hiding to nowhere.

I am absolutely against FGM, gender segregation, 'sharia patrols' and the like. I am also against anyone religious who demand exemption from the law - as in, if you take a job that means working Friday, you do it - no matter how devout a Muslim you are, or you take another job. If you work as a Christian registrar and same sex marriage becomes part of your duties, then you conduct those ceremonies, or you take another job if you feel this conflicts with your faith.

There are very many Muslims who oppose this condoning of segregation as vehemently as the rest of us. This matter is also not exclusively confined to extremist Muslim groups - there are Orthodox Jewish and extreme Christian groups who also have some very odd ideas about the place of women. Let's by all means hold spineless politicians and politically correct bullshit organisations to account, but saying 'I told you so, it's all down to multiculturalism' adds nothing to the debate.

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