I have been updating my blog post 42: University CU's and women speakers (SW Region) as I have received comments from people (some polite for which my thanks, some not so polite which I have not ignored).
There is good news.
All the CU's in the South West Region of the UCCF that people have given me information about (with the exception of Bristol) have had women speakers.
There are some CU's (4 at the moment) where I still have no information and I hope that people will help fill in those gaps to show that these are having women speakers. Finding these is time consuming and often requires local knowledge about individuals twitter accounts etc.
There is bad news.
Nobody has yet given any details of Bristol CU allowing women speakers.
I will continue to update this region and will add other regions as I get time. Personally I think it is helpful to have an evidence based list of which CU's are currently having women speakers rather than unsupported claims that they either do or do not. I hope that those claiming there is no problem outside Bristol will be proved right although simply ignoring the many voices saying there is a problem is not helpful.
One outstanding issue is that simply demonstrating that a CU has had at least one woman speaker is not a guarantee of equality. To my mind there are at least three issues that need to be addressed for that to be the case.
- Frequency. I would suggest that if there are fewer than two women speakers per term then it is hard to claim much of a commitment to equality.
- Authority. For there to be equality there needs to be Women speakers with a range of authority and "status" to match the male speakers. I suggest it does not mean equality if the women who speak are all UCCF relay workers while the men are Church leaders.
- Events. The events where people speak matter. For example a small Bible study and a main mission week event are not the same. That is not to say Bible Studies are unimportant but it is to say that unless you have women speakers at the full range of your events then there is not equality.
I don't know how you could monitor this and I certainly don't intend to. However, I think it is important to recognise the significant limitations that only noting that a woman has been invited to speak has.