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Qantas Airlines relaxes gender-based uniform rules

Qantas Airlines

Australian airline Qantas has implemented new style guidelines that break away from gender-based uniform rules.

The revised policy allows male employees to wear makeup and have long hair, while female employees will no longer be required to wear makeup and heels during their shifts.

Last year, an Australian trade union urged Qantas to modernize its uniform policy, aligning it with the values of the 21st century.

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Following suit with other airlines, such as Virgin Atlantic, which has adopted gender-neutral uniforms, Qantas has embraced more inclusive guidelines.

The updated rules permit both male and female employees to wear flat shoes and choose from a wider range of jewelry, including large watches.

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Additionally, pilots and flight attendants, along with all other staff members, are now allowed to have long hair as long as it is styled in a ponytail or bun.

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Qantas expressed its commitment to adapting to changing fashion trends and promoting diversity. The airline stated, "We're proud of our diversity as well as bringing our guidelines up to date."

The new uniform regulations extend to employees of Jetstar, Qantas' budget airline. Imogen Sturni, the representative of the Australian Services Union (ASU), which advocated for the uniform policy change, described it as a significant victory for workers.

Ms. Sturni stated certain dress code requirements were previously deemed unnecessary, such as strict makeup guidelines and the demand for women to wear smaller watches than men.

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However, despite the relaxed rules, Qantas employees are still expected to cover their tattoos, and the guidelines specify which uniform items must be worn together, including the requirement for tights or stockings with skirts.

Qantas' announcement follows similar moves by other airlines.

Virgin Atlantic, a UK-based carrier, adopted a "fluid approach" to uniforms, allowing staff to choose their attire regardless of gender.

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However, the policy was not applied to crew members on board the England football team's flight to the World Cup in Qatar, which faced criticism for its treatment of the LGBTQ+ community.

Virgin said the measure had been introduced in the UK, US, and Israel, where non-binary identities are more widely accepted, fostering greater self-expression.

In 2019, Air New Zealand lifted its ban on visible tattoos, enabling employees to express their individuality and cultural heritage.

This change recognized the significance of tattoos for some New Zealanders with Maori ancestry, who use them to honor their genealogy and heritage.

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