11 Aug Henley Royal Regatta lets women wear trousers for the first time in its 182-year history | UK News
Women have been allowed to wear trousers at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in the rowing event’s history.
The annual event, which began in the Oxfordshire town of Henley-on-Thames 182 years ago, has updated its Stewards’ Enclosure dress code to say women can wear “jackets or blazers with trousers, or trouser suits” in addition to dresses or skirts “with a hemline below the knee”.
Its website states jumpsuits and culottes will also be allowed but must have a hemline below the knee.
It comes after a petition was launched last year by a member of Oxford’s University Women’s Boat Club, Georgia Grant, who demanded women be allowed to wear trousers alongside men.
The dress code was “oppressive and serves no purpose”, she said.
On her petition page, she wrote: “Henley Royal Regatta is a prestigious annual event that is central to the rowing community.
“This event still upholds sexist and antiquated rules, imposing a draconian dress code in the Stewards’ Enclosure.
“This is not just about women, this is about everyone. Trans, non-binary and people with disabilities are excluded by the HRR dress code.
“This needs to change.
“On the water, men and women dress the same. Why are things any different off the water?
“To promote equality for competitors at this event, an equal dress code for spectators is the first place to start.”
More than 1,680 people signed her petition.
The Stewards’ Enclosure, which has the best view of the rowing competition, is the only area with a dress code. It is open to stewards, members and their guests.
Sir Steve Redgrave, chairman of the regatta, said it was an “evolution not revolution” which he was “very much in favour of”.
He told the Daily Telegraph: “We have been asked for a number of years if we could look at the ladies’ dress code because times have changed.
“Even though we see ourselves very much as a traditional event with a traditional way of dressing, with the introduction of more women’s events in recent years and a growing number of women stewards, we felt that it was the right time to make the change.”