Over the past few years, it’s at least seemed like we’ve made strides when it comes to ending sexism in the work place. But there are still tons of professional spaces that continue to adhere to regressive practices—especially when it comes to the ways in which women must present themselves aesthetically. However, as The Guardian reported yesterday, March 4th, Virgin Atlantic has officially ended a policy requiring female flight attendants to wear makeup while they’re working. Additionally, female cabin crew can now opt to wear pants instead of skirts.
Anderson also told CNN that the changes were implemented in response to employee feedback.
Virgin Atlantic’s new policy is definitely a huge improvement, but it’s also baffling that a makeup requirement was ever a company-wide practice. And unfortunately, this is actually pretty common among airlines. The Daily Beast notes that British Airways requires female flight attendants to wear at least lipstick, while those who work for Emirates have to follow an elaborate makeup routine. Some airlines, like United, specify that flight attendants must wear “conservative” makeup.
We’re glad to see Virgin Atlantic embracing a more progressive and egalitarian work environment (even if we’re disturbed that it took so long). This seems like a huge—albeit overdue—step towards gender equality for these employees.