A top British university has capped the number of men that can represent it on BBC quiz show University Challenge, demanding that a majority of contestants are women, trans or “non-binary”.
King’s College London has implemented a quota system on its contestants to counteract the “male-dominated landscape” of the cult programme.
Under the new system at least half of contestants will have to be non-male. As there are five places on a team (four main contestants and a reserve), this means a maximum of two men can be entered per year.
In an email from the student’s union vice-president, would-be quizzers were told: “self–defining women, trans or non–binary students”.
KCL tried to enter a team last year under the same rules, but failed to reach the TV rounds. The contest was ultimately won by a team of three men and one woman (pictured above).
Universities are left to their own devices to pick contestants, KCL is thought to be the first not to even attempt to decide on merit.
In the past five years, three winning teams have been all-male, and the other two have had one woman each.
It is the second controversy to hit the show in weeks.
The University of Reading recently voted to boycott the show after claiming they were offended by a joke veteran quizmaster Jeremy Paxman made to them off-camera.
Paxman himself has previously wondered aloud why so few women make the final teams – but did not go so far as to suggest a reason.
University Challenge Winners Since 2012:
2016: Peterhouse, Cambridge (3 Male, 1 female)
2015: Gonville and Caius, Cambridge (4 male)
2014: Trinity, Cambridge (4 male)
2013: Manchester (3 male, 1 female)
2012: Manchester (4 male)