Christian student union bans unmarried women from speaking at meetings

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 06, 2012 12:10 hrs

A Christian student union at the University of Bristol has banned women from speaking at its events unless they are married and accompanied by their husbands.

Despite outrage at the move, leaders of the union claim it is actually a concession to modernisers - because women were previously banned from attending altogether, the Daily Mail reported.

Women's groups have condemned the move as "hugely discriminatory and deeply offensive."

Matt Oliver, President of the Christian Union, defended the move saying: "This is a difficult issue for some and so we decided that women would not teach on their own at our weekly CU: Equip meetings, as the main speaker on our Bristol CU weekends away or as our main speaker for mission weeks."

He went on to add that a woman would be allowed to teach if she was accompanied by her husband.

However, the concession does seem to directly conflict with the Union's constitution that, under their 'Privileges of Membership' section, "all categories of membership shall have equal rights of voting, attending meetings etc."

Students in the university have been angered by the Christian Union's decision, declaring it as violation of women's rights.

The Bristol University Feminist Society have slammed the religious society for discriminating against women.

"The CU's position seems to be implying that they have reached a compromise on the issue, however it is still hugely discriminatory, deeply offensive and sexist to women," a spokesperson said.

"They 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," the spokesperson added.

The Student Union's Welfare and Equality committee are investigating the situation, and if they rule that the Christian Union are breaking the university's Equality Policy, the group could face expulsion. (ANI)

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