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Thursday, 20 January, 2000, 11:09 GMT
Woman wins golf trouser ban case

Judy Owen was ordered to wear skirts or dresses


A former training manager at the Professional Golfers' Association who quit after being told she could not wear trousers has won her sexual discrimination complaint.

The Equal Opportunities Commission, which backed the case, said Judy Owen, 39, had won a "memorable victory".


Women in all walks of life now wear smart trousers to work and it is almost a year since David Beckham wore a sarong
Equal Opportunities Commission
Mrs Owen resigned from her job at PGA head office The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, within weeks of being told to wear a skirt or dress. The mother-of-two daughters said she was "delighted" with the result for her case, which she has been fighting for 18 months.

On her second day at work she was told that "women don't wear trousers at the PGA". She said she was harassed and bullied by her manager, who referred to women golfers as "dykes and lesbians".

Mrs Owen, of Meriden, West Midlands, said it was "outrageous" that the PGA thought it could inflict prejudicial judgments on its women employees.

'Stereotypical attitudes'

"Out-of-date stereotypes of appropriate dress for women should not prevent women wearing trousers, which have considerable practical advantage," she said.

Cherie Blair QC has an array of trouser suits
"Cherie Blair wears them and no one has accused her of not being dressed appropriately."

The tribunal in Birmingham last year heard Mrs Owen was told her outfit was not appropriate for her job. She had taken deep offence when told that her trouser suit was unacceptable and said she was "ordered" to wear skirts.

Julie Mellor, chairwoman of the Equal Opportunities Commission said: "We believe that women should be judged on the quality of their work, not on what they wear.

"Women in all walks of life now wear smart trousers to work and it is almost a year since David Beckham wore a sarong. It's right that the law should reflect these changes."

Clare Hockney, the EOC solicitor who took the case, said: "This issue had not been directly tested since 1977 and standards of what is conventional dress for men and women have moved on."

Mrs Owen was in her 28,000 a year job for a matter of weeks before resigning. She now runs her own management training company.

The level of compensation will be set at a later date.

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See also:
13 Dec 99 |  Education
Court action over school trousers ban
17 Nov 99 |  UK
Eurostar women wear the trousers
31 Aug 99 |  UK
Girl fights to wear the trousers
04 Nov 99 |  UK
Who's wearing the trousers?
04 Nov 99 |  UK
Skirt talks come apart at seams

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