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UCL events news and reviews


Is there still a glass ceiling for women in Britain?

By news editor, on 15 February 2013

pencil-iconWritten by Daniel Bowman, UCL Union Debating Society committee member.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a professor. Was the professor a woman or a man? This was a question asked by UCL head of Equality and Diversity Sarah Guise during a debate held by the UCL Union Debating Society on 4 February.

She was asking the question to bring up the issue of gender stereotypes in British society today. Such stereotypes not only affect our careers as students and professionals not only does it, but also influence our conduct on a day-to-day basis.

Katie Hopkins

Katie Hopkins

On the panel were six distinguished speakers debating whether the concept of a glass ceiling is still applicable in Britain today.

The debate follows on from the recent publication of the 2011 Davies Report, commissioned by the government to report on the state of female leadership on boards, which labelled the pace of change “not good enough”.

Proposing that there is a glass ceiling were Sarah Guise, Fiona Hotston Moore, senior corporate partner at Reeves Accountants, and Sarah Veale CBE, head of the Equality and Employment Rights Department at the Trades Union Congress. (more…)

How do you define religion?

By news editor, on 4 February 2013

  Written by Hannah Edwards, UCLU Debating Society President 2012–2013

On Monday 21 January, UCLU Debating Society held the debate: ‘This house believes that religion does more harm than good’.

Four distinguished guest speakers had been invited to discuss the topic. Speaking in proposition was Professor Peter Atkins, eminent chemist who regularly writes on the incompatibility between science and religion, and Andrew Copson, CEO of the British Humanist Association.

Andrew Copson

Andrew Copson

In opposition was Mohammed Ansar, legal advocate and visiting lecturer on islamophobia, and, alongside him, Rabbi Naftali Brawer, CEO of the Spiritual Capital Foundation and ordained orthodox rabbi.

The middle ground
In a debate as broad as this, there will always be a few points of agreement between both sides. Firstly, no one contested the point that religion does bring benefits to society. Professor Atkins credited religion with the development of modern society and science.

In addition, no one argued with Mohammed Ansar when he stated that the charitable work accomplished by religious groups is incredibly important to society. Why does it matter if an individual’s motive for ‘doing good’ comes from their religion?


Has multiculturalism failed?

By news editor, on 17 December 2012

Written by Daniel Bowman, UCL Union Debating Society committee member.

In an increasingly globalised world, how do we balance national and multiple identities? It is one of the most fundamental questions for the 21st century society.

Bonnie Greer

Bonnie Greer

The national debate on multiculturalism reached unprecedented levels of intensity when, in 2011, David Cameron announced in a speech that the “state multiculturalism” had failed, and that Britain needed a stronger national identity. The UCLU Debating Society was honoured to host an exceptional panel on 10 December to debate whether it has, indeed, failed.

Arguing that multiculturalism has failed were Nazir Azfal OBE, the Chief Prosecutor of the North West for the Crown Prosecution Service; Ayub Hanif, a UCL doctoral student and former president of the Debating Society; and Kenan Malik, the writer, lecturer and broadcaster.


Is self-regulation of the Press drawing to an end?

By news editor, on 30 November 2012

Written by Daniel Bowman, UCL Union Debating Society committee member.

On Monday 26th November 2012 the UCL Union Debating Society hosted a debate on the subject ‘This House Believes that the press can no longer be trusted to self regulate’.

On the panel were some of the most active and distinguished participants in the wider public debate.

Speaking against press self-regulation were the Labour MP Chris Bryant, Shadow Minister for Borders and Immigration, Jacqui Hames, former detective and presenter of Crimewatch, and Mark Lewis, the media lawyer, who has represented many victims of phone-hacking, including the Dowler family.

Speaking in defence of a system of press self-regulation were Neil Wallis, the former News of the World deputy editor, Conservative MP John Whittingdale, Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, and Toby Young, the journalist and author.