The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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EU taught a kilt gender lesson

London, Nov. 11: European bureaucrats were forced to concede yesterday that the kilt is a male garment after an outcry following its classification as women’s wear on an EU form.

Scots including Sean Connery were outraged when the EU agency Eurostat said Highland dress should be listed as skirts.

Forms sent to kilt makers by the statistical agency did not allow them to register the Scottish national dress as men’s clothing.

Instead, they were told to give the number of kilts they had sold in a space provided for women’s skirts. Kilt makers were also warned they faced a £1,000 fine if they failed to complete the documents, produced to collate information on business trends in the EU.

The agency, run by Pedro Solbes, a Spanish EU commissioner, agreed yesterday to amend the forms after an intervention of Jack McConnell, Scotland’s first minister.

McConnell told Scottish executive officials in Brussels to clarify the situation after a complaint by Patrick McGroarty, director of Caledonian Highland Dress Manufacturers, Abernethy, Perthshire.

McGroarty had noticed that the forms included sections for men’s jackets and skirts but there was no mention of kilts.

When he telephoned the Office of National Statistics he was told to put the number of kilts he sold in the space for skirts.

The omission of a separate kilt section angered Connery who told the Daily Record newspaper in Glasgow: “If this is the case, I have been wearing a woman’s skirt for more than 45 years now. It is certainly not women’s wear. It is an important part of Scots tradition and also smart evening wear.” The forms will now be changed. McConnell said: “This is nonsense and I’m delighted we’ve managed to change the forms.”

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