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Martyn Sadler

It's a man's world - just when you thought women were taking it over

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A blog from Richard Dawkins about a debate held at University College, London on Saturday night on the subject of Atheism v Islam.

Seats for the event were segregated by gender, with the girls at the back.

It's ironic that University College was the first university institution in this country to admit women on equal terms, and now it seems to be the first to tell women that they should know their place at the back of the room.

http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/3/10/sexual-apartheid-in-university-college-london#

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Segregation and disparity is all a mystery to me.

Right from 50's America to female only gyms.

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Segregation and disparity is all a mystery to me.

Right from 50's America to female only gyms.

I can understand something like female only gyms as it may well be an issue for a lot of women going somewhere like a gym.

But plenty of female only things are purely discriminatory.

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How I feel is equality about equality, if that makes sense. I've grown up in a society and in an age, or just environment, where I've not witnessed sexual discrimination so it bugs me when there is the positive discrimination against blokes. History dictates this has always been the other way around and I get the fight women have had throughtout the ages, it's just where women do have equality now (or in my experience they do) it's pushed forward to have women specific things. I don't know really it's just a thing, I like to be fair for all!

edit: like tennis, equal pay great, but then equal number of games per match.

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How I feel is equality about equality, if that makes sense. I've grown up in a society and in an age, or just environment, where I've not witnessed sexual discrimination so it bugs me when there is the positive discrimination against blokes. History dictates this has always been the other way around and I get the fight women have had throughtout the ages, it's just where women do have equality now (or in my experience they do) it's pushed forward to have women specific things. I don't know really it's just a thing, I like to be fair for all!

edit: like tennis, equal pay great, but then equal number of games per match.

Quite. Equality is equality is equality. I refer for example to the schedule for our local swimming pool, where tonight there is a women only session. I'm fine with that, however where is the male only session for those men who want to swim without women being present?

http://www.calderdale.gov.uk/leisure/sport-fitness/timetable.jsp?venue=6&programme=27

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The danger is sounding like a bigot, when really I'm just naive!

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Quite. Equality is equality is equality. I refer for example to the schedule for our local swimming pool, where tonight there is a women only session. I'm fine with that, however where is the male only session for those men who want to swim without women being present?

http://www.calderdal...=6&programme=27

Around ten years ago when my kids (boy + girl) were younger we had to leave a pool in Rochdale for a male (not men) only session. Not sure whether these are still run - but they were pretty well attended.

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Around ten years ago when my kids (boy + girl) were younger we had to leave a pool in Rochdale for a male (not men) only session. Not sure whether these are still run - but they were pretty well attended.

No problem with that, as long as they were running female only sessions too. I've no beef with segregation for things like that, as long as both genders get the same opportunities. Same concept as with adult only sessions or family sessions.

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A blog from Richard Dawkins about a debate held at University College, London on Saturday night on the subject of Atheism v Islam.

Seats for the event were segregated by gender, with the girls at the back.

It's ironic that University College was the first university institution in this country to admit women on equal terms, and now it seems to be the first to tell women that they should know their place at the back of the room.

http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/3/10/sexual-apartheid-in-university-college-london#

What is equally as shocking, if not more so, is the vitriolic abuse Dawkins has received for raising the issue.

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A blog from Richard Dawkins about a debate held at University College, London on Saturday night on the subject of Atheism v Islam.

Seats for the event were segregated by gender, with the girls at the back.

It's ironic that University College was the first university institution in this country to admit women on equal terms, and now it seems to be the first to tell women that they should know their place at the back of the room.

http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/3/10/sexual-apartheid-in-university-college-london#

Edit. Double post, phone update! Sorry.

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Interesting to read the other side to the story. Whilst I disagree with the segregation if forced, if it was voluntary and those choosing to segregate themselves did so for their personal religious beliefs, then is it so wrong?

http://www.guardian....-seating-gender

It's fine if women who wanted to sit near the front on their own had the option of doing so. It doesn't seem so.

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Interesting to read the other side to the story. Whilst I disagree with the segregation if forced, if it was voluntary and those choosing to segregate themselves did so for their personal religious beliefs, then is it so wrong?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2013/mar/10/ucl-debate-segregating-seating-gender

Given that the couple who run that guesthouse were prosecuted, who said they wouldn't allow unmarried gays to sleep in the same bed as it was against their religious beliefs, I don't see how that holds water.

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It's fine if women who wanted to sit near the front on their own had the option of doing so. It doesn't seem so.

Depends where the section for people who wanted to mix freely was doesn't it.... something the Guardian article doesn't actually make clear.

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Given that the couple who run that guesthouse were prosecuted, who said they wouldn't allow unmarried gays to sleep in the same bed as it was against their religious beliefs, I don't see how that holds water.

Because that was the choice of the owners,rather than the guests. If the audience were given the choice of a gender specific section or a mixed section and allowed to choose for themselves, to me, it's a slightly different scenario.

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Depends where the section for people who wanted to mix freely was doesn't it.... something the Guardian article doesn't actually make clear.

If I wanted to start a men only club, so men could mix with other men and men only (not through sexual preference, just a social thing), I'm almost certain it would be against the law. So how can this sort of thing be ok?

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Depends where the section for people who wanted to mix freely was doesn't it.... something the Guardian article doesn't actually make clear.

Yes - I actually mis-read that part. In Dawkins blog it suggests that the mixed section was for couples.

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If I wanted to start a men only club, so men could mix with other men and men only (not through sexual preference, just a social thing), I'm almost certain it would be against the law. So how can this sort of thing be ok?

If you opened the club to all but had 3 rooms, one for men, one for women and one mixed, and let the patrons choose where they went, I wouldn't have expected there to be an issue. If you open a male only (or female only) and deny access, then that's where you're running into trouble. That's how I would view the difference in the example of the guest house owners, if the comments of Zayd Tutton of the Islamic Education and Research Academy that are in the Guardian article are true that is.

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If you opened the club to all but had 3 rooms, one for men, one for women and one mixed, and let the patrons choose where they went, I wouldn't have expected there to be an issue. If you open a male only (or female only) and deny access, then that's where you're running into trouble. That's how I would view the difference in the example of the guest house owners, if the comments of Zayd Tutton of the Islamic Education and Research Academy that are in the Guardian article are true that is.

I bet if I put a sign on one of the doors saying 'no women allowed' or having them ejected from the room, it wouldn't last long. I have no desire for such a place or to go to such a place but surely the fact that club members would decide is irrelevant? Could a club of far right members decide on a 'no blacks' policy because that's what they wanted? i wouldn't have thought so.

We don't need such ###### and they should pack them off, along with their brainwashed women, to the stone age.

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I bet if I put a sign on one of the doors saying 'no women allowed' or having them ejected from the room, it wouldn't last long. I have no desire for such a place or to go to such a place but surely the fact that club members would decide is irrelevant? Could a club of far right members decide on a 'no blacks' policy because that's what they wanted? i wouldn't have thought so.

We don't need such ###### and they should pack them off, along with their brainwashed women, to the stone age.

I agree with you if "not allowed". Personally I wouldn't particularly want to choose the single gender idea either given free choice. I just don't see what's wrong in saying go where you want, there are facilities for you to follow your religious beliefts if that is what you choose. Much like Sunday working, Christians can opt out if they choose for religious reasons, but that doesn't mean that all shops have to shut for the rest of us.

What happened in this specific case depends on if you believe Richard Dawkins, Zayd Tutton, or some other version of events.

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I agree with you if "not allowed". Personally I wouldn't particularly want to choose the single gender idea either given free choice. I just don't see what's wrong in saying go where you want, there are facilities for you to follow your religious beliefts if that is what you choose. Much like Sunday working, Christians can opt out if they choose for religious reasons, but that doesn't mean that all shops have to shut for the rest of us.

What happened in this specific case depends on if you believe Richard Dawkins, Zayd Tutton, or some other version of events.

I have absolutely no objection to Muslims wanting to segregate themselves. I would expect to see that practice in mosques, just as I would expect to take my shoes off when going into a mosque.

And if this event had been staged in a mosque, then the seating arrangements could have been determined by the mosque officials.

What is notable, however, is that it was a debate open to a wide audience that took place on UCL premises.

According to Zayd Tutton of the Islamic Education and Research Academy: "There were three sections, as agreed with UCL prior to the debate. This was agreed clearly with UCL representatives.

"Muslim women choosing to adhere to orthodox Islamic principles in sitting in their own area had their own section. As for those who wanted to sit together, male or female, they had their own section where they freely mixed and sat together from the beginning."

In other words, the University, which hasn't denied Mr Tutton's version of events, agreed to the segregation of its audience. And, as Mr Tutton doesn't say, the women were at the back.

I don't think an academic institution, particularly one that was an enabler of women when they had few opportunities for higher education, should agree to this sort of demand.

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I have absolutely no objection to Muslims wanting to segregate themselves. I would expect to see that practice in mosques, just as I would expect to take my shoes off when going into a mosque.

And if this event had been staged in a mosque, then the seating arrangements could have been determined by the mosque officials.

What is notable, however, is that it was a debate open to a wide audience that took place on UCL premises.

According to Zayd Tutton of the Islamic Education and Research Academy: "There were three sections, as agreed with UCL prior to the debate. This was agreed clearly with UCL representatives.

"Muslim women choosing to adhere to orthodox Islamic principles in sitting in their own area had their own section. As for those who wanted to sit together, male or female, they had their own section where they freely mixed and sat together from the beginning."

In other words, the University, which hasn't denied Mr Tutton's version of events, agreed to the segregation of its audience. And, as Mr Tutton doesn't say, the women were at the back.

I don't think an academic institution, particularly one that was an enabler of women when they had few opportunities for higher education, should agree to this sort of demand.

I guess I'm on my own here. I don't see the issue of those who wanted to be segregated could be but those who didn't want to be segregated were not forced to be. Happy to agree to disagree though.

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Are the Muslims who attended this event going to turn round and say to the establishment of UCL that, if you can segregate for a debate like this you must be able to segregate for normal lectures, even down to eliminating females from lectures as they shouldn't be entiltled to education?

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I guess I'm on my own here. I don't see the issue of those who wanted to be segregated could be but those who didn't want to be segregated were not forced to be. Happy to agree to disagree though.

Hang on, whites in South Africa *wanted* to be segregated from blacks. That doesn't make it acceptable. (I'm not implying you would argue it does)

Surely the principle is the same?

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Hang on, whites in South Africa *wanted* to be segregated from blacks. That doesn't make it acceptable. (I'm not implying you would argue it does)

Surely the principle is the same?

The principal is only the same if those who want to mix can but those who don't want to can't. My SA history knowledge isn't great but did they have a choice to do either?

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