The airline Norwegian has defended its new dress code manual, which has been slammed by the country's left-wing politicians as outdated.
The 22-page dress code, which recently circulated among its staff, prescribes its female employees to wear heels at least two centimetres tall and make-up, while banning male employees from doing so, the newspaper Verdens Gang reported.
If women want to wear flat shoes as an exception, they need to produce a doctor's note and update it every six months. Women are also allowed to wear only two rings per hand, and none on their thumbs, and any jewellery must be made from gold or silver-coloured metal. No neckwear or jewellery with religious motifs is allowed.
The manual also urges female employees to wear eye make-up and light foundation, a tinted moisturiser, or powders. False eyelashes are allowed, if they look natural. By contrast, men are banned from wearing any make-up at all, apart from to cover up acne or bruises.
The airline's spokesperson, Astrid Mannion-Gibson, maintained that the uniform is "neutral and discreet".
"Yes, it does place different requirements on men and women when it comes to makeup, hair and so on. This is common among other airlines too", Mannion-Gibson explained. "We are a global airline which carries passengers from around the world with different cultures and religions on board. It is vital that our crew's appearance does not offend or provoke", she explained.
While consistent with the rules common among commercial airlines, Norwegian's fashion guidelines caused protests from Norway's left-of-centre parties.
"It feels almost comical to face these issues in 2019", Ingrid Hødnebø, a women's spokesperson for the country's Socialist Left Party, said. "While the rest of society has moved on, Norwegian is stuck in the Mad Men universe from the 1950s and 60s".
The Labour Party women's spokesperson Anette Trettebergstuen shared this attitude.
"Uniform requirements are one thing, but imposing heels and make-up is going too far. The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back. This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further", Trettebergstuen said.
Even Liberal state secretary Frida Blombren of the Ministry of Culture and Gender Equality called the manual "incredibly old-fashioned".
"I thought and hoped we had come further in 2019. I can understand a uniform's regulations, but make-up rules sounds a little unnecessary. Men and women should be treated equally when doing the same job", Blomgren said, stressing that Norwegian had room for improvement when it came to equality.
SAS, another major Scandinavian airline, stressed that while heels are obligatory, no make-up requirement is set forth. By contrast, fellow Norwegian Widerøe, Scandinavia's largest regional airline, said it was open for men to use make-up, so long it is in neutral tones.
Norwegian is the largest airline in Scandinavia, and is Europe's largest low-cost carrier behind only Easy Jet and Ryanair, as well as ninth-largest in the world.