much fuss and bother about meetings at universities being segregated by gender. Indeed, some of them are. I have no issues with a private, members-only or signup-only meeting being segregated in any way anyone chooses to. I reserve my right to join a women's club which excludes men. A private university too may segregate its meetings, it staff, its anything, in any way it chooses. But a public university which receives State funding is a public authority, and must therefore be constrained in a way private clubs and organisations are not, namely to conform to the prevailing values of the State which funds it. Some may have views about that. Some may question those values. That is another matter. Purportedly left-wing bloggers and writers like Laurie Penny refuse to condemn segregation by gender, so long it is promoted by Muslim organisations or individuals. They give as the reason that organisations such as the English Defence League, part of whose agenda is anti-Muslim, are often also misogynist in the statements they make - "Women are like gongs: they should be struck regularly" - and because the EDL and similar bodies are largely composed of white working-class men they are therefore Not Good People and are to be Looked Down Upon by posh girls like Laurie Penny and their Guardian-reading fans. Muslim misogyny is somehow better. Moral relativism. Intellectual incoherence. Segregation by gender may be OK, or it may not. I suggest that in a hospital ward it is a good thing. I suggest that in a theatre dressing-room it is a good thing. I suggest that in a public debate of any kind, organised by anyone at all, it is not a good thing. But that is just my view. If we are going to debate it, let us debate it clearly and properly. Let us not refuse to debate it, giving as the reason that organisations like the EDL are to be condemned. That is posh feminists ceding debate to the misogynists - and silencing women in the universities. OK for them. They went to school. Their daughters will go to school. No-one is going to cut their clitorises off. They can dress as they please.
I went to university in 1972, and attended a Women's College. Only a few years before this male guests were only permitted between certain daylight hours. In my time they were only permitted before ten in the evening. This rule was widely ignored. However, rules like this (and the existence of creatures called "moral tutors") were designed to control women. They were designed to reassure the parents of the young women who attended those colleges that those young women would not be permitted to have sex. That was all it was about. And the segregation by gender and covering and seclusion of women practised in many societies where Islam is the dominant religion (and not only there) is about precisely that. Control of women's bodies and their sexuality. As are the crude misogynist statements made by some working-class white men.
If you agree with the silencing, covering and mutilation of women, say so. Don't say that you refuse to disagree with it because some non-Muslim men behave in misogynist ways. That is stinking relativism.