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US Airforce Updates Women's Hair Policy

We congratulation this change, it will surely be welcome to Sikh women serving in the Air Force more of whom are sure to...

It is very well known throughout the world that Sikhs are warriors and are excellent additions to the military of whatever country they enlist in. 

In the U.S. there has been a struggle for Sikhs serving in police forces and military to be able to do so taking religious considerations into account. One by one local police forces will amend their policy to allow turbans, as was the case for Deputy Dhaliwal who made history as the first Sikhs to wear a turban and beard as an officer in Texas in 2017. 
Lt. Col Kamal Kalsi, US army, has been a strong advocate for Sikh identity in the US military and has helped reforms be made as well as inspire observable Sikh youths to serve
The most recent uniform updates that affects women serving in the US Air Force. The new policy specifies,

"Female Airmen will be able to wear their hair in up to two braids or a single ponytail with bulk not exceeding the width of the head and length not extending below a horizontal line running between the top of each sleeve inseam at the under arm through the shoulder blades."  

air force hair.jpg

It is interesting to note that the uniform change came from the recommendations of initiative which consulted with women inside the service: 

The board reviewed all ideas including a recommendation from the Air Force’s Women’s Initiative Team. Thousands of women across the Air Force provided feedback to the Women’s Initiative Team, stating constraints to hair grooming standards resulted in damage to hair, migraines and in some cases, hair loss. The detailed work done by the Women’s Initiative Team to research and support the recommendation was greatly appreciated by the uniform board.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. explained the progressive thought behind the change which aims at , "...sustaining the culture and environment of excellence that will continue to make the Air Force an attractive career choice for Airmen and families." 

Air Force chief of staff for manpower Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly affirmed, “We remain committed to removing barriers to service.”

Of course the military will always seek to operate with best standards, their press release on the subject also iterated, "Members must adhere to current occupational safety, fire and health guidance, and mishap prevention procedures emphasizing when and how to mitigate the potential for injury from hair of varying lengths around machinery, equipment, power transmission apparatus or moving parts." 

Sikh youth leader Naureen Singh captured the community's pride when she joined the US Air Force as a Second Lieutenant in 2020. It is for women like her that we congratulation this change. Surely this is a welcome development to make space for more Sikh women to join the Force, more of whom are sure to do so in the future.  

Related article: 
Naureen Singh Joins US Air Force Following American Sikh Military Father

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