New ADC constitution to tackle gender inequality

Rachel Balmer 2 February 2014

The Cambridge University Amateur Dramatic Club (CUADC) last week reviewed its constitution, removing the male pronoun in order to achieve gender neutrality in the document.

It was announced that Clause 56.2 was to be removed and replaced by Clause 3.2, which states, “This Constitution shall be interpreted without discrimination as to gender.” Previously, this was then qualified by the caveat, “although the masculine pronoun is used throughout”. A member of the club will now be referred to as “the individual” rather than “he”.

The CUADC committee, which reviews the constitution yearly, is made up of 15 students, seven of which are women. Up to this point, even though the current committee secretary is female, the constitution stated, “The secretary shall minute at all meetings that he attends.” This has now been altered to read, “The secretary shall minute at all meetings attended.”

President of CUADC Adam Smith told The Cambridge Student: “CUADC has always been committed to equality and openness. I don’t know of CUADC ever having been described as a ‘boys club’ – there was a woman on the theatre management committee in 1907 (when women couldn’t even get a degree at the University).

“Any impression that CUADC is anything other than open, equal and undiscriminating is entirely unfounded. Of all the drama societies within Cambridge, we are the most dedicated to fair and unprejudiced applications and elections for all positions.”

An actor in his third year at Peterhouse disputed the suggestion that men are favoured in productions: “Given that everything the club does is by open application, and they are committed to supporting the best shows, it’s difficult to see how you could control the number of parts for men and women, unless those factors matter more than the quality of what is put on.”

Another student said that “blind casting is used to create more female roles since there are more female actors than male actors in Cambridge”.

A breakdown of the producers and directors of ADC shows from the last year reveals 17 to be female and 14 male, suggesting that women are not underrepresented at the ADC.

However, one student actor added, “The comedy scene in Cambridge sadly seems still to be a bit of a ‘boys’ club…but the reasons for this are perhaps more to do with British comedy in general than anything to do with Cambridge.”