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Ban "gentleman's" clubs and sexist drinking societies at the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford

This petition had 252 supporters

“Gentlemen’s” clubs and drinking societies are archaic and sexist organisations that have long outlived many of Oxbridge’s other outmoded practices. We are calling on the Universities and their colleges to ban these societies and to ensure that anyone who is found to continue to participate in these societies after they are banned is subject to disciplinary proceedings.  By failing to take action, the Universities and colleges have legitimised societies that discriminate against women, create a culture of exclusion, and promote misogyny.

Male-only exclusive societies are sexist and are part of a continuum of gender inequality and violence against women. They are connected to the root of the imbalance of power between men and women at the University. Sexist societies are the very antithesis of the inclusivity Cambridge and Oxford ought to be promoting.

We want to hear your stories and your thoughts about these societies -- please email us at:

Here is what some people have to say:

"Thanks for focusing on this issue. I'm a member of an all male drinking society, and, I could never say this publicly, but some of the behaviour is truly awful. I am embarrassed that I don't have the spine to stand up to these misogynists when I see them behaving like that, but it's really hard, there's a lot of social pressure to be a "lad" and while I don't join in, I'm too scared to speak up. I really hope this campaign is successful, good luck.”

“I used to enjoy rowing, well that was until the Boat Club dinner. First we were given these booklets which identified everyone in the boatclub with a long description that focused on their physical appearance or sexual innuendos. The dinner went on for hours while the rowers, mainly men, made ‘hilarious’ speeches detailing the fines incurred by the rowers for their sexual antics. One man made a toast during the dinner: ‘women’s rowing is not a real sport’ while others shouted ‘here, here’ and raised their glasses. I could see the women on the table felt very uncomfortable. After the dinner, the rowers took their clothes off and started fighting. Sexism runs deep even in sports societies. I haven’t rowed since."

“These few men and their male chauvinistic egos make me ashamed to be a man myself! We should take all measures to stop [these societies].”

“The persistence of such societies at Oxbridge colleges is, I believe, damaging to continued attempts to make these institutions more inclusive, more open, and less defined by their traditions of gender and class differentiated exclusivity and discrimination.”

 “If equality is at all valued within our college, I feel it is of utmost importance that such exclusionary and patently anti-feminist societies not be supported by the college in any way whatsoever.”

 “The Chetwynd Society clearly functions as a drinking society and has been rampantly sexist and bullying during my time at Cambridge. Latterly the subjects of its jokes seem to be mostly choir members themselves, but I have attended 'meetings' whose function seemed to be to humiliate, degrade and ostracise certain individuals."

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