Harman's Equal Rights Law Will End Handicap on Women Golfers; (1) Fairway to Equality: Golfer Natalie Gulbis (2) Harriet Harman:It Is Only Fair

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Martin

PRIVATE members' clubs will be banned from treating women as'second-class citizens' under new laws.

Equalities minister Harriet Harman wants to make it illegal for golf clubs andworking men's clubs to restrict women's access or deny them the right to voteas full members.

Only half the 2,500 working men's clubs give women full membership rights whilesome golf clubs stop them playing at the weekend, restrict access to the courseor bar them from the running of the club.

The plans are sure to face opposition from club owners - and even equalitiesgroups say the proposals could distract from their key aim of equal pay.

The announcement was made in the Commons yesterday by deputy Labour leader MissHarman, who has been dubbed Harriet Harperson for her feminist views.

She said it is only fair that existing laws banning clubs from discriminatingon the grounds of race, disability and sexual orientation should be extended toinclude women. The changes will be contained in an Equalities Bill to bepublished in the coming weeks.

She said: 'Later this month, I hope to be able to set out to the House what theBill's provisions are.

'But I can say that the Bill will ensure that clubs that offer membership toboth women and men will no longer be able to discriminate against women. Theywill have to treat men and women equally.' However, the new measures will notaffect single-sex clubs such as the Women's Institute. …