January 20, 2019
Following a complaint by a male congregant who was turned away from a Women’s Study Day event last year, because he was a male, the KMA Board requested that the event organizer, KMA Member Diane Friedgut, respond. This prior to deciding if KMA would continue to officially endorse and publicize such future events, which on the face of it, appear not to align with KMA’s policy of egalitarian practice.
Diane, in an eloquent written response, noted the importance of holding the event in an environment conducive to women discussing issues of interest to women, without the presence of men.
Following this response, the Board discussed the matter by email and reached a majority decision as follows.
The majority felt that if the organizers would agree to allow the attendance of any male who inadvertently showed up, then KMA could officially endorse and publicize the event. Otherwise, KMA could not do so, but the organizers could still place flyers for the event on the table at the entrance to the building along with other advertising of events not vetted or endorsed by KMA.
The minority felt that KMA could officially endorse and publicize the event if the organizers noted explicitly in its advertising that the event is open to women only and the reason for that restriction, thereby allowing the organizers to turn away any man who wished to attend.
The Chair of the Board, Alexis, spoke with Diane and presented the majority decision. Diane responded that she understood the Board’s request — that should a man show up to the Women’s Study Day, he be allowed entrance — but said that the decision wasn’t only up to her. She added that if the Board chose not to advertise the event, she would understand and leave it at that.
Therefore the Board has decided not to advertise and endorse the upcoming Women’s Study Day event, noting that the organizers could still place flyers for the event on the table at the entrance to the KMA, along with advertising for other events not vetted or endorsed by KMA.
Summary by Brian Negin