16th Aug 2022

EU sexual equality law to hit golf clubs

Golf clubs with one set of rules for men and another for women will fall foul of EU law from December 2007 onward, the European Commission has confirmed.

The legal opinion issued Wednesday (4 December) implies that mixed clubs will have to put an end to male-only bars and time-limits on how long female members can play.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But Irish and UK press say a loophole will allow people to run male only clubs under a "freedom of association" clause.

"There might be some reactionary, neanderthal men who may form more such [single-sex] clubs, but if they do, I think they'll have a rather miserable existence, because mixed golf is more fun", UK civil rights lawyer Lord Lester of Herne Hill told the Telegraph.

The Irish Independent writes that the commission's legal opinion might be used in an appeal against the historic Portmarnock Golf Club in Ireland.

The club lets women play but does not offer them full membership status.

Brussels issued its opinion following a question from Irish MEP Proinsias de Rossa.

The 2004 directive on "equal treatment between men and women in...goods and services" enters into force on 21 December 2007, obliging member states to produce a status report in 2010.

A proposal for the directive drawn up in 2003 justified EU action on the grounds that the mixed bag of anti-discrimination laws across member states did not offer adequate protection.

The law initially targeted sexual discrimination in taxation and insurance.

"Companies do not in general instruct their employees to treat men and women differently. Discrimination is much more likely to occur in the context of the spontaneous behaviour of individuals, either by withholding a good or a service or providing it on less favourable terms and conditions to members of one sex than the other", the legal proposal stated.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Italy back in chaos, as Draghi quits over 5-Star snub

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil on Thursday as prime minister Mario Draghi announced his resignation after a key ally within his grand coalition government boycotted a parliamentary vote.

MEP accused of 'disrespecting' female moderator

Some 100 representatives of civil society organisations, including Transparency International EU and Oxfam, accuse German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer of disrespecting a moderator because she was a woman of colour and want him reprimanded.


Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.


Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  4. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis

Latest News

  1. Germany rejects visa ban for Russian tourists
  2. Iran responds to EU's 'final text' on nuclear deal
  3. Model minority myths
  4. EU must make public who really owns its fishing fleets
  5. Germany needs to cut gas use by 20% to stave off winter crisis
  6. Europe's wildfire destruction set to hit new record
  7. How Putin and Erdoğan are making the West irrelevant
  8. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us