Universities UK: Rescind endorsement of sex segregation at UK Universities


Universities UK (UUK) has issued guidance on external speakers saying that the segregation of the sexes at universities is not discriminatory as long as “both men and women are being treated equally, as they are both being segregated in the same way.” 

UUK add that universities should bear in mind that “concerns to accommodate the wishes or beliefs of those opposed to segregation should not result in a religious group being prevented from having a debate in accordance with its belief system” and that if “imposing an unsegregated seating area in addition to the segregated areas contravenes the genuinely-held religious beliefs of the group hosting the event, or those of the speaker, the institution should be mindful to ensure that the freedom of speech of the religious group or speaker is not curtailed unlawfully.”

We, the undersigned, condemn the endorsement of gender apartheid by Universities UK. Any form of segregation, whether by race, sex or otherwise is discriminatory. Separate is never equal and segregation is never applied to those who are considered equal. By justifying segregation, Universities UK sides with Islamist values at the expense of the many Muslims and others who oppose sex apartheid and demand equality between women and men.

The guidance must be immediately rescinded and sex segregation at universities must come to an end.

Initial List of Signatories:

A C Grayling, PhilosopherAbhishek N. Phadnis, President, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist SocietyAnissa Helie, AcademicCharlie Klendjian, Secretary of Lawyers' Secular SocietyChris Moos, Secretary, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist SocietyDeborah Hyde, Editor of Skeptic magazineDeeyah Khan, Film Director and Music ProducerDilip Simeon, Chairperson of the Aman TrustElham Manea, AuthorFaisal Gazi, Writer and BloggerFatou Sow, International Coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim LawsGita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular SpaceHarsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen's WebHelen Palmer, Chair of London HumanistsKate Smurthwaite, Comedian and ActivistMarieme Helie Lucas, Coordinator, Secularism is a Women’s IssueMaryam Namazie, Spokesperson for One Law for All and FitnahMina Ahadi, International Committee against StoningNadia El Fani, Tunisian FilmmakerNahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of BritainOphelia Benson, WriterPavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs of the British Humanist AssociationPeter Tatchell, Director of Peter Tatchell FoundationPolly Toynbee, JournalistPragna Patel, Director of Southall Black SistersRaheem Kassam, Director of Student RightsRichard Dawkins, ScientistRohini Hensman, Social ActivistRory Fenton, President of The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies of the UK and ROIRupert Sutton, Lead Researcher of Student RightsSafia Lebdi, Founder, “Les insoumis-es”Salil Tripathi, WriterSoad Baba Aissa, President, of Association pour l’ Egalité, la Mixité et la Laicité en AlgérieTerry Sanderson, President of National Secular SocietyYasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner