In the latest development in the gender equality movement, hair salons in Denmark are now required to charge the same amount of money for male and female haircuts and styles. The decision was made after a woman complained to the nation’s Board of Equal Treatment after being charged $18 more than a man for her haircut.
The board ordered the salon to pay the woman $250 in damages, claiming that it was illegal and unfair for salons to charge women more for services.
Now, salons are in an uproar about what this will mean for business. A trade organization for hairdressers have called the decision “absurd,” and said that it will become “a nightmare to set prices for customers.”
“It takes, quite simply, longer time with women,” said Connie Mikkelsen, chairwoman of the Danish organization for independent hairdressers and cosmeticians.
The board’s decision has been appealed and a court will determine whether hairdressers need to find a new way to charge for their services. Perhaps haircuts will be charged not by gender, but by the length of time it takes, the length of hair in question, or the standard and style of the cut.
None of these options seem to please hairdressers. “Measuring time will lead to a discussion of hair length – what is medium length, and what is long. It will end in a series of conflicts with customers,” Mikkelsen argued.
Nordic countries such as Denmark and Sweden hold some of the world’s highest standards for gender equality, even developing schools where children are encouraged to be completely gender neutral. At the gender neutral preschool in Sweden, children are addressed as “friend,” and there is only one common bathroom (with no urinals.) Holiday catalogs for last year’s Christmas season depicted boys playing with doll houses and girls shooting toy guns.
Do you think that it is a good or bad idea to charge men and women the same for a hair cut?