British Airways drops archaic gendered rules banning male staff from wearing make-up

British Airways

British Airways has updated its strict guidelines to allow male staff to wear piercings and make-up while on duty.

The airline has modernised its policy with non-gender specific rules, and all employees in uniform can wear mascara, false eyelashes and earrings from Monday, as well as carry accessories including handbags, an internal memo told staff, as reported by The Guardian.

Although make-up is allowed, staff are encouraged to use “subtle shades” for a “natural look”, according to the updated rules. Nail polish is allowed for all staff members (though black and neon nails are still prohibited), and man-buns will be allowed under new hair grooming guidelines.

BA said: “We are proud of all of our colleagues at British Airways and we are committed to an inclusive working environment.

“We have worked with our people to create updated guidelines for grooming, beauty and accessories, allowing our colleagues to bring the best, most authentic version of themselves to work every day.”

Updated guidelines will mean male staff can wear a touch of makeup (British Airways)

British Airways has traditionally held strict uniform policies, with the 2015 uniform handbook stating: “The uniform proudly signals the airline’s British heritage and values, through the quality and attention to detail and in the overall professional image… Our standards are the highest and these guidelines are all about you and looking the part in your uniform”.

But this new memo from BA tells staff to “be bold, be proud, be yourself”, and says it hopes the new guidelines will be “embraced by everyone regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, background, culture, sexual identity, or otherwise”.

BA are following in the flight path of Virgin Atlantic, which updated its gender identity policy to allow crew to wear pronoun badges on their uniforms, as well as “wear the clothing that expresses how they identify or present themselves” by removing gendered uniform requirements. BA has not removed gendered uniform requirements.

The guidelines come into effect on Monday (14 November).

The airline operates regular services in and out of Doha, the capital of Qatar.

PinkNews have contacted BA for comment over whether updated guidelines will apply to members of staff on these routes, given Qatar’s anti-LGBT stance.