RS 'whiff of sexism'

February 27, 2004

Mike Rennie (Letters, February 20) misses the point. There is a history of opposition to admitting women to male-dominated societies on grounds other than formal criteria. The threat by some Royal Society fellows to resign if Baroness Greenfield is elected has a whiff of sexism.

While awaiting publication in The Times Higher of a debate with Martin Pugh ("The Pankhursts - politics and passion", January 25 2002), I emailed Andrew Lownie, who runs the Biographers' Club, asking if I might join. On January 23, he replied: "Martin Pugh attends meetings and I think it would be wrong to have you both as members." I asked why and was told:

"Because I've heard you're trouble and it's a private club and I decide who joins." Lownie is Pugh's agent.

June Purvis
University of Portsmouth

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