For the first time in over two years, the Oxford Union has at least one female guest speaker confirmed for every debate.
In an apparent effort to boost the diversity of the Union’s lineup, 40 per cent of all guest speakers this term will be female. This is the joint-highest inclusion of women in a termcard for the Union, equalling the gender balance of Michaelmas 2014.
Three of this term’s debates will have either gender-balanced guest speakers or more women speaking than men, and five debates will include BME speakers.
In First Week, the Union will debate ‘This House Would Never Be An MP’, followed by topics including ‘This House Embraces Sex Work as a Career Choice’, ‘The Tobacco Industry is Morally Reprehensible’, and the argument that ‘Britain Owes Reparations to her Former Colonies’.
Alongside speakers already announced, the Union has confirmed to Cherwell additional speakers including the American rock band KISS, author and Conservative politician Lord Michael Dobbs, Mexican acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela, singer-songwriter D’banj and actress Diane Kruger.
Zac Goldsmith, Member of Parliament for Richmond since 2010, Group Chief Executive of Barclays Antony Jenkins, and His All Holiness Bartholomew I, Archbishop of Constantinople are also confirmed to speak this term.
Previously announced guest speaker War- wick Davis has now been confirmed for Monday 8th June. Davis will be speaking as part of the Union’s partnership with disabilities charity Scope, which last term saw Breaking Bad star RJ Mitte speak at the Union.
President of the Oxford Union Olivia Merrett told Cherwell, “This term we have focused on diversifying our lineup, so that not only is the Oxford Union delivering the speakers everyone has come to expect, but is also ensuring that there really is someone for all our members.
“However, this is only a start. Although we have one of the most diverse lineups the Union has ever seen, this is something that we will be continuing to focus on in the future to offer the best speakers. It is not always easy to diversify a lineup when we’re living in a society which tends to encourage some groups to have their voices heard more than others. However, the Union is doing its best to be the change it wants to see.”
Speakers previously announced for Trinity term include violinist Nicola Benedetti, ex-Formula One driver Mark Webber, West Indies cricketer Brian Lara, and Million Dollar Baby actress Hilary Swank. Self-proclaimed ‘Magician Impossible’ Dynamo, famous for apparently walking on the River Thames, and HBO host Bill Maher are also scheduled to make an appearance at the Union.