End sex segregation at UK Universities

End sex segregation at UK Universities

24 November 2013

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.” The guidance has been supported by the National Union of Students.

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The guidance must be immediately rescinded and sex segregation at universities must come to an end.

Join initial list of signatories below by signing the petition here.

Initial List of Signatories:

A C Grayling, Philosopher

Abhishek N. Phadnis, President, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society

Anissa Helie, Academic

Charlie Klendjian, Secretary of Lawyers’ Secular Society

Chris Moos, Secretary, London School of Economics Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society

Deborah Hyde, Editor of Skeptic magazine

Deeyah Khan, Film Director and Music Producer

Dilip Simeon, Chairperson of the Aman Trust

Elham Manea, Author

Faisal Gazi, Writer and Blogger

Fatou Sow, International Coordinator of Women Living Under Muslim Laws

Gita Sahgal, Director, Centre for Secular Space

Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen’s Web

Helen Palmer, Chair of London Humanists

Kate Smurthwaite, Comedian and Activist

Marieme Helie Lucas, Coordinator, Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson for One Law for All and Fitnah

Mina Ahadi, International Committee against Stoning

Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker

Nahla Mahmoud, Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain

Ophelia Benson, Writer

Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs of the British Humanist Association

Peter Tatchell, Director of Peter Tatchell Foundation

Polly Toynbee, Journalist

Pragna Patel, Director of Southall Black Sisters
Richard Dawkins, Scientist

Rohini Hensman, Social Activist

Rory Fenton, President of The National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies of the UK and ROI

Safia Lebdi, Founder, “Les insoumis-es”

Salil Tripathi, Writer

Soad Baba Aissa, President, of Association pour l’ Egalité, la Mixité et la Laicité en Algérie

Terry Sanderson, President of National Secular Society

Yasmin Rehman, Women’s Rights Campaigner


*  There will be a protest in London on 10 December 2013, International Human Rights Day, to oppose sex segregation. You can join Facebook Events Page here.


* Teams of Sex Apartheid Busters are being organised to break segregation wherever it is instituted. To join email maryamnamazie@gmail.com

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