From the outside, it is a kind of palace that would not look out of place in one of the canals of Venice, but it sings a little in the middle of the souvenir shops and cheap food restaurants for tourists and office workers (if there are any left after the pandemic). , between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. Inside it is an anachronism, a symbol of male exclusivity, a club of guys who feel freer (and apparently have more fun) without women by their side, a bastion of power, privilege, classism, machismo and heteropatriarchy.

The Garrick Club is not as extravagant as the Bath

The Garrick shares with all of them that it only admits men as members, and in the exclusive room with mahogany wood walls to smoke Havana cigars and taste cognac and single malts after dinner (women can come to dinner as guests, and there a push and home). But what makes him different is the amount of power he concentrates: politicians, Supreme Court judges, newspaper editors, media journalists, lawyers…

Its existence was well known, but the publication by The Guardian of the list of its partners has caused a small revolution, leading to the resignation of two judges, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service (MI6) and the civil servant of highest rank in the Administration. At the outset they claimed that they saw nothing illegal in being part of a club only for men, just as there are gastronomic societies, or swimming pools and prisons exclusively for women (and lately men who declare themselves women). But soon, by tightening the screws, they had to recognize that they occupied positions where it is assumed that from nine to five they are dedicated to combating discrimination of all kinds, and promoting equality, inclusion and diversity, and then when they left work They conspired only with people of their own sex. The excuse they gave was that they intended to reform it from within. If blacks or gays were not allowed into the Garrick, there would have been a riot a long time ago.

The women’s complaint is not about missing out on the activities that members engage in at the Covent Garden club, but about being excluded from the threads of power that move within its walls, the contacts that are made and the professional opportunities that arise. . When Trump was president, the American ambassador, Robert Johnson IV, held lunches with the legation staff at White’s, also for men only, to which his political advisor was not invited due to her sex. Until the entire staff rioted and there was a change of scene. His successor, by the way, is a woman.

Anachronism in any case is not only discrimination based on sex (or gender). “Doing business”, taking papers out of a wallet or using a mobile phone is also not frowned upon. Dinosaurs of the 21st century.