Statement on Bristol University Christian Union banning female speakers
December 5th, 2012
Yesterday it was reported that Bristol University Christian Union (CU) bans women from speaking at almost all of their events, unless accompanied by their husbands.
University of Bristol Atheist, Agnostic and Secular Society (AASS) are members of the same Students’ Union, and affiliated with both the British Humanist Association and the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies (AHS). Bristol AASS have issued the following statement:
‘As a secular society, we think gender equality is a fundamental human right. Most people would agree that women have an equal right with men to speak at Universities, regardless of their marital status. This is the kind of thing the Students’ Union’s Equality Policy is meant to guard against, and the CU’s status as a faith society does not exempt them.
‘They claim there are “exceptions” but since they cover the weekly meetings, the weekend away and the Mission Weeks it’s hard to see what that leaves.
‘Not only does this violate Union policy, and possibly the UK’s Equality Act, it also violates the CU’s own constitution. This measure seems to be part of a wider denial of women’s agency by religious organisations. Last week, the Church of England rejected female bishops, and we were also protesting against Abort67, an anti-abortion group attempting to shock with images of aborted foetuses.
‘Secularism defends everyone from this kind of religious discrimination, which is why it’s so important that we speak out on this issue.’
For further comment or information, please contact Richy Thompson on 020 7462 4993.
Bristol AASS meet every Tuesday in the Colston Arms on St Michael’s Hill in Term time. University and non-University members are all welcome. Their Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/BristolAASS
Read University of Bristol Students’ Union’s statement: http://www.ubu.org.uk/news/article/UBU/A-statement-regarding-the-University-of-Bristol-Christian-Union/
Read coverage of the incident:
- Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/04/bristol-university-christian-union-ban-women-speaking-meetings_n_2236586.html?utm_hp_ref=uk
- The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/04/bristol-university-christian-union-women
- The Daily Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9722517/University-Christian-Union-bars-women-from-speaking.html
- Telegraph blog: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/damianthompson/100192761/bristol-christian-union-bans-women-speakers/
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.