I HAVE been thinking about the word “allowed” and the fact we are still talking about “allowing” women to do certain things they’ve been excluded from for many years, and I have to keep reminding myself this is 2021!

What started this chain of thought was news that the Henley Regatta had agreed to allow women to wear trousers while in the stewards’ enclosure for the first time in the event’s 182-year history.

Previously, women had to ensure they wore skirts and dresses that fell below the knee. Regatta chairman Sir Steve Redgrave announced this historic update to the dress code, without a blush, saying “times have changed” and it is the “right time” to shake up the rules.

He said: “We have been asked for a number of years if we could look at the ladies’ dress code because times have changed.”

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Indeed they have. The next thought that came to mind was what brought about this change of heart? In fact, it was pressure from a member of the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club, Georgina Grant, who called for women to be able to wear trousers and launched a petition to make the regatta’s organisers realise the strength of feeling on this issue. It attracted more than 1680 signatures.

I do appreciate that it is important for our sporting heritage that we retain our sense of history as this brings us so many benefits. But we need to get the balance right, move with the times and stop dictating to women what they should wear or do.

I admire the determination of so many young women, particularly in the sporting arena, who are determined to fight and challenge for change and won’t give up until they achieve it. My little claim to fame on this type of situation is that I was the first women to sit at a man’s table at a pre-international dinner with the Scottish FA, in my capacity as the first-ever female council member.

Previously women who attended these events were the spouses of the board members. After the first game when I was placed at the “women’s table” I spoke to the chief executive, at that time a certain Mr James Farry. He agreed my place was with my male colleagues and there was a change in policy – job done!