Fighting for equality

Catherine Philip
Catherine Philip

A Motherwell army veteran has another fight on her hands as she aims to overturn a social club’s ban on women.

Catherine Philip served for 13 years in the likes of Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Angola, but this counted for nothing when she tried to join the United Services Club in Mabel Street.

Catherine is involved with a veterans support centre in Ibrox, runs a veterans breakfast every Saturday at 10am in the Brandon Works and will be help allocate Houses for Heroes in Craigneuk and Motherwell.

In order to help provide more support for veterans she inquired about joining United Services Club so she could book its halls only to be told female members are not accepted.

Catherine said: “There is nowhere near enough support services out there for veterans so I thought the United Services Club would be an ideal place to hold one.

“I was shocked when I was told they didn’t accept female members, women serve on the front lines and deserve the same respect as men.

“The enemy don’t care if you are male or female. Indeed, women can often find themselves in more danger because killing them makes more of a statement.

“After I was told women couldn’t join I had a rant online and received over 100 messages of support from male and female veterans who couldn’t believe this still goes on.

“When you have served in the armed forces you are part of a kinship, we should not be dividing ourselves on matters of sex, race or anything else.

“Sadly the United Services Club seems to be trapped in the past, but I can only hope they finally realise it is 2016 and change with the times.”

United Services Club committee member Tom Murray says the club are open to change, but up to now there hadn’t been any reason to.

He said: “The club was started in 1922 and since the constitution was written over 90 years ago we’ve never had a request to change it.

“Around four years ago we did scrap having a men’s only games room so everyone can now use it, so we are open to change.

“If we get requests from women wishing to become members we’ll discuss it at committee and then put it to the membership to decide if they wish to change the constitution.”