IT is 35 years since a young Swindon woman earned her place in the history of women’s rights.

Today the idea of female nurses not being able to wear trousers, whether through simple preference or because it makes their work easier, is completely alien.

As recently as 1981, though, things were very different. Only male nurses wore trousers, while almost all health authorities obliged their female counterparts to wear dresses.

Tajwinder Kaur, 19, of Beatrice Street, discovered this when she tried to become a nurse with Kingston and Richmond Area Health Authority in South West London.

She was in for a disappointment, as we had reported a month earlier: “Swindon girl Tajwinder Kaur would love to be a nurse.

“She had the offer of training. But then it was withdrawn.”

The reason was that Tajwinder, a devout Sikh, objected to being obliged to wear clothing – a dress – which revealed her legs.

She was willing to wear trousers beneath a uniform dress, but the health authority refused to compromise.

The ensuing legal wrangle helped to set the stage for policy changes across the country which would sweep aside outdated rigid dress codes.

Tajwinder, a former Headlands School pupil, worked as a typist at the Department of Health and Social Security in Swindon but her ambition was to become a midwife.

She took her case to a tribunal which decided in her favour early in February.

Tajwinder said the outcome opened new opportunities for many other young women previously put off a career in nursing.

As things turned out, the battle wasn’t quite over.

The health authority successfully appealed against the tribunal’s decision that summer – only to change its uniform policy and say Tajwinder would be welcome to train.

There are no further mentions of Tajwinder in the Adver’s archive, but we hope she went on to enjoy a successful career.