Who knew?

Universities UK is an organization that involves itself in British higher education policy with press, suggested guidelines, publications and so forth.

Their new guidelines suggest gender segregated seating is fine for Muslim students.

Sara Khan, writing for the Independent UK, isn’t buying it.

Segregating men and women at university events won’t lead to equality

Malcolm X once said; “America preaches integration and practices segregation.” I believe Universities UK preaches equality but promotes segregation.

As a university student I once recall walking down the street when I noticed the president of my Islamic society (Isoc) walking towards me. When he saw me, a look of panic glazed over his eyes and he hurriedly crossed the road and continued walking. That was 13 years ago, yet little has changed. This week, a student told me how wanting to pray Friday prayers, she approached one of the “brothers” at her Isoc to ask which room prayers were being held in. His response? He turned his back to her and faced the wall. These experiences of misogyny stem from the belief that women are immoral and the ‘solution’ to this is gender segregation as proponents advocate.

There has been much controversy about the legal status of university events allowing gender segregated events. Universities UK’s new published guidelines suggest side to side segregated seating is acceptable as “both men and women are being treated equally” and therefore women would not experience “less favourable treatment.”

Universities UK clearly cannot see the wood for the trees. The idea that both men and women are equally segregated and therefore treated equally is highly erroneous. Perhaps one could argue such a point if so many Isocs weren’t such patriarchal constructions; shaped, structured and led by men.

So let me spell it out for Universities UK, segregation results in ‘less favourable treatment.’ It enables the unequal distribution of power between men and women, resulting in gender based discrimination and inequality.