Bristol University Student Union Votes to Silence Women

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There’s a good reason why people no longer smoke on airplanes, and why it’s the law to wear seat belts, and why parents no longer decorate baby rooms with lead paint: We know better.

Policies of the 1950s belong in the 1950s, which makes it even more demeaning when people still try and pass off the notion that women are less valuable than men.

This is the outdated concept that students and administrators at Bristol University in the United Kingdom are still trying to advocate for. The university’s Christian Union (BUCU) just voted to ban women from speaking or teaching at its events, unless they are accompanied by their husbands.

Yes, you read that right.

Though the union had no formal position on the role of women in religious settings and women are allowed to teach at the university, the president of the student union. Matt Oliver, wrote in an email to BUCU members that the union cannot support women as speakers or teachers in order to “respect those of our members who hold strong Biblical convictions in this area.”

The decision has received a fair share of due backlash from its own students. Co-presidents of the university’s feminist society. Shannon Kneis and Laura Ho, said in a statement that the decision is “hugely discriminatory [and] deeply offensive and sexist to women.”

Their statement says it best: “They [the CUBU] are suggesting that women have more worth as speakers if speaking with their husband while assuming that all women are interested in marriage, or men for that matter. We would hope for women to have equal opportunities to speak at all occasions, whether alone or not. Religious groups should not be immune from question or criticism with regards to gender equality.”

Though Oliver sees the vote as “the most practical way of expressing this inclusivity,” he is only referring to those with the “strong Biblical convictions,” and not so much for those of the fairer sex who, thankfully, can use other means to speak and teach the CUBU about equality.