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Women only groups

(34 Posts)
ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 07:58:49

I am part of a group of women that attend organised meet ups to learn new skills, chat, listen to talks etc

A local men's group (who say they are inclusive and welcoming to any women that wish to attend) have rallied together to get our group shut down.

Can they do this legally? We aren't taking anything of theirs.

I'm really cross about this!

PencilsInSpace Wed 26-Apr-17 08:10:06

Women-only services are:

Lawful;
Not discriminatory;
Much needed and wanted by women and girls;
Effective in terms of value for money and in terms of social impact; and
Recognised (including internationally) as a key mechanism to achieve women’s equality.

More here, including all relevant legislation.

ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 08:16:46

Thank you so so much.

BigDeskBob Wed 26-Apr-17 08:19:16

Why are they trying to shut the group down?

PencilsInSpace Wed 26-Apr-17 08:26:16

There's a PDF linked at the bottom of that page - HOW LEGISLATION PROTECTS WOMEN-ONLY SPACES AND SERVICES: AN OVERVIEW - with a section that talks specifically about women only associations. This looks very relevant to your situation.

ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 08:30:19

I assume they think we will use up the resources they want to access. It's only a guess though. I can't see any reason.

ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 08:30:41

Pencils-I'm really thankful.

Footle Wed 26-Apr-17 08:34:20

Sienna, I can see you don't want to identify your group , but I'm very curious about the details. This sounds like a 1970s scenario. Presumably you are in the U.K. as the legislation is relevant to you.

BigDeskBob Wed 26-Apr-17 08:37:11

So they want full control over the resources? Fight it.

Miffer Wed 26-Apr-17 08:46:46

I think context is key here. I feel like I am missing a big piece of the story. That isn't to say you are wrong, just that without context it's hard to form an opinion.

BigDeskBob Wed 26-Apr-17 09:18:19

I'm struggling to think of a scenario where a womens only group would be a problem? I'm not been argumentative, just can't think of any.

ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 14:50:05

Hi. It's really as ridiculous and simple as it sounds unfortunately. It's not a group I run but the person who does has been sent letters to stop saying we can't meet in unlicensed venues, pay for speakers etc just lots of different arguments but none of them reasonable. I too feel like I'm just not getting it. I don't understand why anyone has anything against a group of ordinary women doing nothing but making friends and learning new things.

ineedmoreLemonPledge Wed 26-Apr-17 16:03:11

A local men's group (who say they are inclusive and welcoming to any women that wish to attend)

Why do they call themselves a men's group then? Surely they are just a group? confused

What resources of theirs have you actually used?

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 26-Apr-17 16:09:32

The reasons for trying to disrupt your group will all be born out of dislike/hatred/contempt for women generally, plus a healthy dose of inadequacy.

If I was running your group I think I'd send one letter summarising the law in this area and explaining that you won't be responding to any more spurious complaints, and then ignore all further correspondence from them as much as possible.

ScarletSienna Wed 26-Apr-17 16:23:02

We have only had a few meet ups so far so not entrenched on anything they could see as theirs. It's so ridiculous. Sadly, the person who runs the group has decided it's too much and has closed down the page. I'm going to try and contact her directly. Thanks for your help.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 26-Apr-17 16:59:04

You haven't given enough information about either group for any one to comment on.

Single sex clubs are not illegal (Muirfield golf club is allowing women members because the members have agreed to it, not because they forced by the law)

What are the 2 groups? A private group of people can't shut down another group or club.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 26-Apr-17 17:04:54

but the person who does has been sent letters to stop saying we can't meet in unlicensed venues, pay for speakers etc

This is odder and odder. The only people who can stop anyone meeting are the police, if there are public order/ public safety/ terrorism concerns or the owner of the place where you are meeting.

What is the significance of "unlicensed" ?

AssassinatedBeauty Wed 26-Apr-17 17:09:13

It seems an overreaction for the group organiser to have shut it down based on this men's group's attempts to interfere. They haven't got a leg to stand on so I don't understand why you just can't ignore them and carry on.

GoatsFeet Wed 26-Apr-17 17:32:57

but the person who does has been sent letters to stop saying we can't meet in unlicensed venues, pay for speakers etc

To be honest, he sounds like a bit of a crank - those aren't real reasons, or legal ones. Your group's organiser should just ignore.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 26-Apr-17 17:34:23

No I don't either.

If both groups are using something like a church hall or a community centre then it's up to the owners to allocate use by any party who wants to use it by a booking system. If it's a private venue, again it's the owner's decision.

If the letter is so intimidating the organiser is cancelling perhaps the owner of the venue and the police should see it.

TheQuestingVole Wed 26-Apr-17 17:39:04

No, they cannot do this. It's shocking that this has to be stated, but women in this country have the right to freely associate with whoever they like, including in all-women groups, and to turn men away from all-women groups.

The men who are doing this will be the sort of men who don't like women being able to assert their own boundaries. Don't let them intimidate your group!

TheQuestingVole Wed 26-Apr-17 17:42:15

Also - if your group's organiser has been bombarded with letters and communications from the other group she could approach police to complain of harassment.

cadnowyllt Wed 26-Apr-17 18:07:46

That all sounds very strange. Also I've never heard of men's groups - what are they for ? A bunch of billy no-mates getting together ? ...and by what possible mechanism could they 'close' you down ?

very odd. Report them to the Police.

RollingRolling Wed 26-Apr-17 18:15:19

Did you have any luck OP?

LassWiTheDelicateAir Wed 26-Apr-17 18:52:14

Also I've never heard of men's groups - what are they for ? A bunch of billy no-mates getting together ? ...and by what possible mechanism could they 'close' you down ?

I was wondering that. Clare Barker's hapless husband in Radio 4's Clare in the Community attends a men's group.

Weren't Iron John groups a thing once? Going off into the wilds and bonding in sweat lodges?

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