Norwegian Air has told its female staff that they must carry a doctor’s note at all times if they want to wear flat shoes.
The airline, which has been fiercely criticised, told its women employees that they must wear heels which are at least two centimetres tall in a 22-page dress code. Women are required to have a doctor’s note at all times and update it every six months if they want to wear flat shoes.
Norway’s largest airline has been accused of being trapped in a “Mad Men universe” – a reference to a popular US period drama which portrays the sexist and patriarchal attitudes of the 1960s.
“It is almost comical that we face these issues in 2019,” Ingrid Hodnebo, a women’s spokesperson for the country’s Socialist Left Party, told Norwegian newspaper VG.
“While the rest of society has moved on, Norwegian is stuck in the Mad Men universe from the 1950s and ‘60s”.
The document, obtained by the paper, tells female employees to wear eye makeup and a light foundation, a tinted moisturiser, or powders. However, men are banned from wearing any makeup, unless it is to cover up acne or bruises.
Women are only allowed to wear two rings per hand, and none on their thumbs and all jewellery has to be made from gold or silver-coloured metal. No jewellery with religious motifs is allowed.
“Uniform requirements are one thing, but to impose heels and makeup is going too far,” the Norwegian Labour Party’s women’s spokesperson Anette Trettebergstuen said. “The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back. This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further.”
Norwegian Air told The Independent its staff are allowed to wear flat shoes while in the cabin and the doctor’s note refers to female footwear when worn outside the aircraft cabin.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “Like all global airlines, Norwegian has a comprehensive set of uniform guidelines to ensure that our flying crew represent our brand in a smart and consistent manner.
“The guidelines were drafted with input from our pilot and cabin crew colleagues and have been well received, sharing many gender commonalities in addition to some specific male and female requirements.”
Last month, Aer Lingus announced it will not require the female cabin crew to wear makeup or skirts anymore. The flag carrier airline of Ireland said it had made the decision in response to feedback sessions with staff across many departments.
This came after Virgin Atlantic revealed makeup and skirts would cease to be mandatory for female staff days earlier. The airline’s female flight attendants, famed for their red uniforms, will be given trousers as standard, instead of having to specially request them.
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