Uni chiefs back gender segregation

University leaders give thumbs up to gender segregation at university events


Controversial religious speakers can force men and women to sit separately, university heads say.

Universities UK, the group of Vice-Chancellors which includes Nottingham’s Professor David Greenaway, said gender segregation is acceptable.

But campaigners claim the Vice-Chancellors are backing sexism and “gender apartheid.”

Signs directing men and women in different directions caused controversy at Leicester Uni earlier this year

Signs directing men and women in different directions caused controversy at Leicester Uni earlier this year

Universities UK published a report which presents the hypothetical case of an ultra-orthodox religious speaker demanding gender segregation.

It goes on to say sexual segregation would be acceptable in this scenario, as long as the women aren’t forced to sit behind the men.

Renowned theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss walked out of a segregated debate earlier this year

Renowned theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss walked out of a segregated debate at UCL earlier this year

Universities UK insist they are highlighting legal obligations, and that each case must be looked at individually.

The report follows an array of recent controversies.

This March,  UCL banned an Islamic group after it organised a supposedly segregated event.  One month later, Leicester Uni investigated alleged sexual segregation at a public lecture hosted by the student Islamic society.

change

Universities UK was forced to defend itself after claims it endorsed sex segregation

A report earlier this year by Student Rights, a student equality group, claimed that segregation at student events was “widespread”.

Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: “The guidance is not about the rights or wrongs of segregating an event by gender. Instead, it highlights the legal and other factors that universities must consider if they are addressing the particular circumstances outlines in this case study.”