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London's historically men-only Garrick Club has voted to admit women for the first time, according to reports from UK media outlets.

The club, whose membership comprises leading figures from various fields including the civil service, law, journalism, and the arts, made the decision following a contentious debate among its male-only members.

Reports from The Guardian and The Telegraph indicate that approximately 60 percent of members voted in favor of allowing women to join. The vote took place during a private meeting where hundreds of members deliberated the issue for two hours. However, 40 percent of the club's 1,500 members reportedly opposed the motion.

Despite requests for comment, the Garrick Club did not immediately respond to inquiries from AFP.

Several prominent members, including musicians Sting and Mark Knopfler, as well as actors and producers, had reportedly threatened to resign from the club if the proposal was rejected.

The decision comes after the head of Britain's spy service, Richard Moore, resigned in March when the club's membership list was publicly disclosed for the first time. Moore acknowledged the potential damage to the service's reputation, particularly regarding efforts to attract more women to join MI6.

Founded in 1831, the Garrick Club was established for actors and "men of refinement and education." It was one of the few remaining gentlemen's clubs in London that did not permit female members, except as guests of male members.

Support for admitting women gained momentum, with a petition launched in 2021 receiving backing from prominent figures such as Cherie Blair, a leading barrister and wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The process of admitting women involves a nomination process, with reports indicating that supporters of women's membership have identified seven nominees, including a historian, a former interior minister, and an actor. However, the timeline for when the first women will join remains unclear, as the club's admissions process is described as opaque and slow. Photo by Lonpicman~commonswiki, Wikimedia commons.