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    Air Force allows longer braids, ponytails for women

    Air Force allows longer braids, ponytails for women

    Photo By 2nd Lt. Deborah Ou-Yang | Upon publication of the new standards in Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Feb. 10, 2021,...... read more read more



    Story by Airman 1st Class Daira Vargas 

    DC National Guard

    WASHINGTON -- As part of an ongoing effort to address diversity and inclusion as well as issues associated with personal health and hair loss, the 101st Air Force uniform board is updating hair standards for women, effective February 10, 2021.

    According to the new Air Force Instruction 36-2903, Air Force women are now able to wear their hair in the following styles: two braids, one braid or a single ponytail not extending below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam, at the under arm through the shoulder blades, and with bulk not exceeding the width of the head. In addition, women’s bangs may now touch their eyebrows but not cover their eyes.

    “It allows females of any race to be more flexible with the hairstyles that they get to choose while wearing the uniform,” said Tech. Sgt. Kelli Wilson, noncommissioned officer in charge of command support staff for the District of Columbia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. “It is one less thing to think about so you can focus on the actual mission.”

    In November 2020, the Air Force uniform board convened virtually to discuss the ideas gathered from Airmen across the service and participated in a dress and appearance campaign, including recommendations from the Air Force’s Women’s Initiative Team.

    According to an Air Force article about the new hair standards from the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs published January 21, 2021, thousands of women across the Air Force provided feedback to the Women’s Initiative Team, stating that constraints to hair grooming standards resulted in hair damage and migraines.

    “It will take some time getting used to not wearing my hair in a bun, but it will be exciting to see how many women in the Air Force embrace these updated standards,” said Maj. Renee Lee, currently a foreign area officer assigned to the 113th Air Component Operations Flight, District of Columbia Air National Guard, and a career public affairs officer. “Personally, I look forward to the prospect of reducing my headaches after a long day of wearing my hair in a bun, which was a problem for me when I was on active duty.”

    The article cites hair loss as a common concern among women across the Force.

    “There are a lot of medical issues with having your hair in a bun,” said Master Sgt. Nicole Moore, the law office superintendent with DCANG. “With scalp hair loss, I would hate to see people leaving the military due to a hair regulation, so I'm very excited for this new change.”

    The article also stated that adjusting female hair standards supports ongoing efforts to address diversity and inclusion in the ranks.

    “It is great to see the Air Force continuing to take steps towards addressing outdated policies,” said Senior Master Sgt. Nancy Reyes, personnel superintendent with the District of Columbia National Guard Joint Force Headquarters. “I definitely look forward to seeing the changes that are more inclusive of not just different races but different gender identities as well.”

    Previous women’s hair length policies allowed locs, braids, and twists, but the length could not exceed the bottom edge of the uniform collar, except while wearing physical training gear. Also, bangs were also not allowed to touch either eyebrow.

    The article stated that the “Air Force chief of staff approved the policy after considering feedback from the force, the uniform board recommendation, and the professional image and standards of the Air Force and U.S. military.”

    “I hope that the updated hair regulations help retain our female Airmen and also broaden our pool of prospective female recruits and leaders,” said Lee.



    Date Taken: 02.11.2021
    Date Posted: 02.11.2021 17:30
    Story ID: 388934
    Location: WASHINGTON, DC, US 

    Web Views: 179
    Downloads: 1