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Is it sexist to have a ladies only event?

(49 Posts)
SollySuffolk Wed 05-Nov-14 12:04:43

I work in a vehicle garage and we considered holding a Ladies’ night to help local women drivers become more accustomed with the practicalities of car maintenance.

We would demonstrate the best ways to care for a car, showing basic checks, how to change a tyre etc. but were worried that this would be seen as sexist.

Would we be discriminating against men by not opening the event to them and would we appear condescending to women by offering this help?

I would love to know what your thoughts on this are. x

Purplevicki Wed 05-Nov-14 12:13:00

I would attend! I would probably feel less patronised going to a female only run event especially in an area that is typically seen to be male dominated.

Some adult education run 'women only' classes for maintenance type course so if they are doing it, why can't you?

Good luck with the idea. Make sure you advertise well!

scallopsrgreat Wed 05-Nov-14 12:23:57

No I don't think you are discriminating against men because you've identified a need (and presumably a desire) for women to learn these skills. Also, this is something that is bucking the gender sterotype and something some women may feel more comfortable about doing in women-only groups.

You could of course off men-only courses as a separate thing if you are worried.

I'd just not cover everything in pink and have sexy pictures of women in overalls around the place (but that's my personal preference grin).

Shallishanti Wed 05-Nov-14 12:27:44

sounds like an excellent will be run/led/taught by a woman, won't it?
I second the 'no pink' proviso!

FloraFox Wed 05-Nov-14 12:30:20

Yes you will be discriminating against men but you'll be doing it to redress something that is generally a problem for women so it sounds like a good idea.

I don't think it's condescending in itself to have a night like this but try not to be condescending when you're running it.

Not keen on "Ladies' Night" as a name though.

trainersandaches Wed 05-Nov-14 12:32:48

I'd probably phrase it 'women only' rather than 'ladies' night' as the latter sounds a bit like you'll be having cocktails and a stripper after the introduction to car maintenance!

But I think it is a great idea and would not find it patronising at all.

trainersandaches Wed 05-Nov-14 12:33:18

Ha cross-posted with Flora!

FuckOffGerbil Wed 05-Nov-14 12:33:57

Can you not just aim it at people who aren't car savvy? I think it's a nice idea in theory but I think it does sound a bit patronizing. Who will be teaching it? If women will be teaching it, maybe have their pictures so women see it as "female friendly"?

FuckOffGerbil Wed 05-Nov-14 12:35:35

Basically men being there doing the course too wouldn't put me off and if they need it as much as I do, why shouldn't they be there. I'm more likely to be annoyed showing up to an all women even that is run by men. It will feel condescending. Also agree "ladies night" isn't ideal smile

FuckOffGerbil Wed 05-Nov-14 12:39:47

Also (to keep spamming you with my posts) where you advertise it will hit your target audience anyway.

Your local area will have several FB groups either for mothers (or mostly mothers) you could advertise on there. There is another website dare I say it that is more local based you could put up an ad there as well.

I don't want to put you off I think it is a good idea, a lot of women aren't given that kind of info growing up (I certainly wasn't).. but sometimes things can be taken funny

lottiegarbanzo Wed 05-Nov-14 12:55:56

Ahem, I strongly suspect your Mumsnet Local editor would be delighted to host your advertising and could reach a wide audience through her newsletter and social media, as well as the site itself.

SevenZarkSeven Wed 05-Nov-14 13:05:08

I'd come along! A lot of women are intimidated with this sort of thing often due to bad experiences in motor vehicle type places when they are young.

Agree "lady's night" is not a good way to put it though.

If you get any men in complaining that they have been excluded then you could say you're taking names and if you get more than X (to make it worthwhile) you'll run a blokes only course smile

lottiegarbanzo Wed 05-Nov-14 13:12:43

To answer your question, I'd be more concerned about condescension than excluding men. Agree you need a female teacher and no pink, 'ladeeez' nonsense.

If one or two people choose to get arsey about perceived sexism you might hear much more about that though (but I suspect they'd be 'hobby complainants' rather than men who'd have liked to attend).

You could just run it as beginners' car maintenance - stress that no prior knowledge is needed and the teaching is flexible and will move at the pace of the learner. Everything to make it sound welcoming, supportive and non-competitive. Then advertise in female places. Saying it's a woman teaching will really get the message across.

There are good reasons why local authorities and others run women's only activities. Some women just won't or can't attend mixed sessions (e.g. If they will only remove covering clothing in front of female strangers), others prefer it.

So, you can always say 'we know there's demand for this but if you're keen for us to run a men-only course, please sign up here and, when we have the demand, well run it'.

lottiegarbanzo Wed 05-Nov-14 13:16:18

Aha, great minds SevenZarkSeven!

Yackity Wed 05-Nov-14 14:11:40

I'm not sure you can run a blokes only course. You can do gender specific things if it is to redress an imbalance, which is why you would be permitted to do a women's only night. But because of the imbalance is in men's favour, you wouldn't be able to do a men's only night, it wouldn't redress any imbalance.

SevenZarkSeven Wed 05-Nov-14 14:13:02

Of course you can run men's only things confused

They have them at my local church all the time.

There are still men only clubs and stuff around as well.

SevenZarkSeven Wed 05-Nov-14 14:16:55

Maybe you're thinking of employment law & accessing public funds and stuff where there are rules.

Private businesses can legally do whatever they like (she says having merrily spent the last 5 mins googling men-only gyms in London). Although if they seem to be discriminating for no good reason they will probably get complaints which won't be very good for business).

lottiegarbanzo Wed 05-Nov-14 14:26:42

Like running a men's golf championship at a male-members-only golf course Yackity? grin 'fraid you can.

Yackity Wed 05-Nov-14 14:29:48

From the Equality and Human Rights Commission: Guidance for service providers Volume 2 of 3

Separate services for men and women and single-sex services
You are allowed to provide separate services for men and women where providing a joint service (ie one where men and women are provided with exactly the same service) would not be as effective. You are also allowed to provide separate services for men and women in different ways or to a different level where:
• providing a joint service would not be as effective, and
the extent to which the service is required by one sex makes it not reasonably practicable to provide the service except in the different ways or to the different level.
In each case, you need to be able to objectively justify what you are doing.

You are allowed to provide single-sex services (services just for men or just for women) where this is objectively justified and:
• only men or only women require the service, or
• there is joint provision for both sexes but that is not enough on its own, or
• if the service were provided for men and women jointly, it would not be as effective and the extent to which each sex requires the service makes it not reasonably practicable to provide separate services for each sex,


I've highlighted the bit which I think is relevant.

When it comes to mechanical things, men GENERALLY are more knowledgeable and confident, they wouldn't be embarrassed of feel out of place having women on the group (although some of them might feel embarrassed around other men....) so I doubt there would be an objective reason to hold a men's only session.

Associations (which require a form of selection, eg someone nominates you) are different, and have different requirements under the law

Yackity Wed 05-Nov-14 14:34:46

Well, they definitely wouldn't be allowed to hold a men's only night unless they also held a women's only night I guess.

I guess they could hold both, they could hold only women's nights, but I don't think they couldn't hold only men's nights.

Yackity Wed 05-Nov-14 14:35:36

(I guesses, and definitelys all mixed up in one sentence.... proof read Yackity!!!!)

Takver Wed 05-Nov-14 14:40:56

I went on a women only car maintenance evening class years ago. It was definitely a good thing, most of us attending were in our early 20s, so maybe a bit less confident than older women for that reason too. It's really stood me in good stead over the years, both to feel happy doing basic maintenance myself, and also to be confident talking to the garage. So I'd say go for it!

SevenZarkSeven Wed 05-Nov-14 15:46:02

Yackity that looks like guidance?

I don't understand why you are saying it would be illegal when it clearly happens all the time confused

HayDayQueen Wed 05-Nov-14 15:55:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HayDayQueen Wed 05-Nov-14 15:56:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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