Australian flag-carrier Qantas has been called upon by the Australian Services Union (ASU) to remove gender discriminatory uniform policies to create a more ‘diverse and inclusive’ workplace.
Emeline Gaske, Assistant National Secretary of the ASU, has written a blunt letter to the airline’s Chief Executive, Alan Joyce. In it, they said: “Today we thought it [was] timely to write to Qantas CEO Alan Joyce about moving the Qantas uniform policy into the 21st century”.
The letter comes, as it states, at ‘a time of celebration and inclusiveness for many ASU members as we mark significant events including Mardi Gras and International Women’s Day.’
A Champion of Change
As a major partner of the Sydney Mardi Gras, ASU states that Qantas personally has a role as a ‘Champion of Change.’
The letter continues: “We believe that all aspects of the Qantas brand must reflect today’s diverse and inclusive Australia, including Qantas uniform. While airline uniforms have come a long way since the age of miniskirts and towering heels, there’s still a long way to go.”
Here is the complete list of changes ASU are asking for to create ‘a workplace in which every employee can feel comfortable and confident’:
- Remove the requirement for women to wear makeup;
- Allow all employees to wear makeup in accordance with the style guide if they wish;
- Allow women to wear low heel shoes, including permitted loafers, with all uniform items, not just trousers;
- Consider whether heels and hosiery are still necessary at all?
- Remove gender-based uniform requirements allowing staff to wear all items permitted for their relevant work group;
- Allow all employees to wear the same sized watch faces (in 2022 we think women can handle the same size watch face as men if we choose);
- Allow Qantas badges to display preferred pronouns;
- Explicitly allow for culturally inclusive dress and grooming;
- Allow employees to wear beards.
The move comes as many other airlines renew their uniform policies, including BA. Other carriers have gone one step further by introducing completely genderless uniforms, such as Iceland’s newest carrier PLAY.
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