School trouser ban goes to law
Wednesday 01 September 1999
Two pairs of nylon tights are not enough to protect 14-year-old Jo Hale from the winter cold in the schoolyard, says her mother, Claire, a professor in healthcare studies at Leeds University. Trousers would be warmer and cheaper, she has told governors at Whickham Comprehensive in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
After they rejected her appeals to allow girls to wear trousers instead of the uniform skirt, she decided to take legal action under the Sex Discrimination Act. Males and females are allowed different dress codes under the Act, but only if it does not disadvantage either sex.
Yesterday, the commission said it was supporting the case "to clarify case law". A spokeswoman said: "This is 1999 and a lot of women are allowed to wear trousers to work. Why shouldn't a child be allowed to wear trousers to school? We want to ... get clarification on the reasons why girls should not be allowed to wear trousers and what this means about the stereotyped assumptions about girls." The commission was writing to the Department for Education and Employment and to the school, outlining why it was supporting the case.
Ms Hale, 47, believes girls are disadvantaged by skirts because they offer less freedom of movement, less protection against assault and are more expensive for parents. The decision to proceed was a joint one between herself and her daughter, she said. "I think it is important for girls of that age to realise that they can do something. I do not think that teenage girls should be sitting down and saying, `These are the rules and they must always be like this - we can do nothing about them."
Peter Maughan, a parent governor and Gateshead councillor, said: "I am obviously disappointed by the decision of the EOC .... Other parents are irritated that Mrs Hale is pursuing this case when it was she who sought out the school for her daughter and was fully aware of the dress code."
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...