NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 31: A woman Air Force officer salutes New Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa during his guard of honour ceremony at Air Force Headquarters before taking over from Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha on December 31, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The present Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa developed the country’s aerial targeting philosophy against potential adversaries and transformed the concepts of air operations of the Indian Air Force to contemporary war fighting practices. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
The United States Air Force just instituted a notable amendment to its uniform policy as it pertains to its stringent female grooming standards: As of February 2021, the U.S. Air Force will allow female Airmen to sport longer hair and bangs.
Prior to this 2021 revision, Air Force policy stated that women were not allowed to have hair any longer than their collar, and any bangs needed to be cut above their eyebrows. The new amendment asserts that women will be able to wear their hair as long as their mid-back, so long as it’s fashioned in single or double braid or a ponytail. Additionally, women’s bangs may now grow to their eyebrows, as long as the hair doesn’t cover their eyes.
According to the recent Air Force press release, the policy change was born out of a recommendation from the organization’s Women’s Initiative Team. Thousands of Air Force women filed complaints about the strict grooming regulations, citing damage to the hair, migraines, and even hair loss, and the move for a policy revision was brought before the Air Force uniform board.
The board reviewed the recommendations before issuing an amendment to allow for more diversity in hairstyling. “In addition to the health concerns we have for our Airmen, not all women have the same hair type, and our hair standards should reflect our diverse force,” said JoAnne S. Bass, Air Force Chief Master Sergeant. “I am pleased we could make this important change for our women service members.” A few inches of hair, a major step in addressing inclusion in the ranks.