A tweet by a student at the University of Melbourne has caused a stir on social media.
Tom Waite wrote, “So Melbourne Uni has told me I can’t go to this particular computer science class. Segregated classes, reminiscent of the 1950’s Alabama. How did we get here?”
Waite was responding to this ad of a female only workshop being run by the university:
So @unimelb has told me I can’t go this particular computer science class. Segregated classes, reminiscent of 1950s Alabama. How did we get here? #auspol @chriskkenny @jkalbrechtsen pic.twitter.com/j24QPG6YON— Tom Waite (@waite_tom_) March 5, 2019
Kirralie Smith, spokeswoman for Binary, was puzzled by the university’s stance.
“How will they decide if a person who chooses to ‘identify as female’ is for real or not? What clear boundaries could possibly be drawn? Does a man just have to say he feels like a woman to be accepted? Can he dress up like a woman and be approved for this course? Surely this is open to interpretation.”
Smith also challenged the whole concept of the single-sex lesson. “Women's prisons, shelters and some services require segregation for matters of safety and security. It is sometimes necessary to provide places and opportunities for women only. But why does a computer class require it?” she asked.
“Why the need for segregation? Don't these girls want equality? Are they going to find segregated employment in the real world? With all the feminist rantings, especially coming from universities, why not aim for true equality – men and women being treated the same?”
Her final comment summed up the mood on social media, “This doesn’t sound at all progressive. Rather, as Waite pointed out in his tweet, it is regressive and reminiscent of the 1950’s. Surely the feminists fought hard for inclusion, not continued exclusion?”