A woman who has won compensation and an apology from a school that forced her to wear a dress instead of trousers while teaching hopes her 'painful experience' will help prevent discrimination in the workplace. The Hong Kong Chinese Women's Club Fung Yiu King Memorial Secondary School, where Kwong Ho-ying worked in 2007, settled out of court after she sued it in May. 'I'm a teacher, not a model. I shouldn't necessarily have to wear a dress to work,' Kwong said yesterday, speaking publicly for the first time since the settlement, which ended a three-year struggle with the school. 'I'm only one of the victims of wrong gender stereotyping at school. There are others who suffered the same as me. I hope my case will set a precedent and help others,' she said. The school offered the undisclosed settlement two weeks after Kwong filed the writ in the District Court with the help of the Equal Opportunities Commission in May. Commission chairman Lam Woon-kwong had said the case would have a far-reaching effect on gender stereotyping in workplaces across different industries and urged employers to study it carefully when they set their dress codes. Teachers and women's rights groups heralded the case as a victory for recognition of fair treatment of women at work. Kwong said she had been under 'tremendous stress' during the three-year dispute. 'I could not sleep and lost five to 10 pounds in two weeks,' she said. 'At one point I almost cracked, and I needed to seek help from a social worker.' Kwong resigned after teaching at the school for two months because she could not bear the pressure from the dress code and humiliation by the headmaster, who would single her out during assembly and comment on her attire after she wore trousers and a blouse on the first day of school. As well as seeking compensation, Kwong asked the court to rule that the dress code for women was discriminatory and to order the school to dump it. The writ said women were treated less favourably than male teachers because there was no dress code for men other than a ban on jeans and T-shirts. Lam said that, as a result of stereotyping, employers often assumed women should wear dresses. 'But is it necessary that females wear a dress? If people think carefully and thoroughly, they will realise that the answer needs further deliberation.' A commission spokesman said the core of the case was not the dress requirement for women teachers but their unfair treatment. 'It would not have been a problem if the school had also imposed a strict dress code on male teachers,' he said. The Association for the Advancement of Feminism welcomed the outcome but said such discrimination was still rife because the Education Bureau did not take it seriously. It urged it to set out guidelines to spur schools to break with traditional values and gender stereotypes. Education sector legislator Cheung Man-kwong, who has been helping Kwong, said it was 'a real victory for women'. The Education Department said it had reminded schools to obey anti-discrimination law when setting policies and regulations but would not comment on an individual case.