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Belfry Woman wins sex discrimination case

A training manager barred from wearing trousers to work has won her suit for sexual discrimination against England's Professional Golfers' Association.

Judy Owen, 39, resigned her job at The Belfry, the PGA's headquarters near Birmingham, central England, weeks after being instructed to wear dresses or skirts at all times.

An employment tribunal ruled today that she had been the victim of sexual discrimination.

Ms Owen was delighted.

"Trousers can be a smart, practical and sometimes more professional alternative for women at work," she said.

"Employers must abandon out of date stereotypes of appropriate dress for women."

Ms Owen said Prime Minister Tony Blair's wife, Cherie Blair, a leading lawyer, wears trousers to work "and no one has accused her of not being dressed appropriately."

The Equal Opportunities Commission, which backed her case, described the decision as a "memorable victory."

"We believe that women should be judged on the quality of their work, not on what they wear," said chairman Julie Mellor.

There was no immediate comment from the PGA.

The PGA is not the only British institution to experience problems with its dress code.

In November, the company that operates passenger trains through the Channel Tunnel agreed to allow women employees to wear trousers to work after a weeks-long dispute with two of its female security guards.

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