Norwegian tells female staff: ‘Want to wear flat shoes? Get doctor’s note’

Norway’s biggest airline has been slammed for its sexist “Mad Men” approach to company dress code, effectively forcing its female staff members to wear heels.

Norwegian tells female staff: 'Want to wear flat shoes? Get doctor’s note’
Photo: Deposit Photos

Low-cost airline 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 controversial clause is featured in the company’s new 22-page dress code, which states female workers must wear at least 2cm heels at all times while at work.

Those who decide to get the doctor’s note will have to renew it every six months.

“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 newspapers.

“While the rest of society has moved further, Norwegian sits firmly in the ‘Mad Men’ universe from the 50s and 60s.”

Another eye-catching clause in Norwegian’s new company regulations is that male employees are not allowed to wear make-up, with the exception of concealer to hide acne or bruises.

Their hair can’t be any longer than shoulder length and they can’t wear earrings.

Female employees on the other hands are expected to use eye make-up, light foundation and tinted moisturers or powders. They’re allowed to use fake eyelashes, as long as they don’t look fake.

Their jewellery is also under strict scrutiny: they can only wear two rings on every hand but none on their thumbs, and the only colour choices allowed are gold or silver.

Norwegian has defended itself by arguing that their uniform regulations are not too different from any other airlines and that their aim was to offer more specific information for their staff to avoid any confusion.

“Norwegian’s crew must follow the company’s uniform policy,” company spokesperson Astrid Mannion-Gibson told Norwegian news outlet VG. 

“The uniform is neutral and discreet and 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.” 


Norwegians give short shrift to fine for women’s handball team

Norwegian officials reacted sharply on Tuesday after the country's women's beach handball team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms in competition.

Norwegians give short shrift to fine for women's handball team
Norway's Stine Ruscetta Skogrand (L) vies with Montenegro's Vukcevic Nikolina (C) and Ema Ramusovic (R) during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics women's qualifying handball match between Montenegro and Norway in Podgorica on March 19, 2021. (Photo by SAVO PRELEVIC / AFP)

The Disciplinary Committee of the European Handball Federation (EHF) on Monday fined the Norway 1,500 euros ($1,768), or 150 euros per player, after they wore shorts in their bronze-medal match loss to Spain at the European Beach Handball Championship in Varna, Bulgaria, on Sunday.

“In 2021, it shouldn’t even be an issue,” the president of the Norwegian Volleyball Federation, Eirik Sordahl, told national news agency NTB.

Clothing has long been an issue in beach sports, with some women players finding bikinis degrading or impractical.

While bikinis have not been compulsory for beach volleyball players since 2012, International Handball Federation (IHF) rules state “female athletes must wear bikini bottoms” and that these must have “a close fit”, be “cut on an upward angle toward the top of the leg” and a side depth of no more than 10 centimetres.

Male players wear shorts.

READ MORE: Norwegian female beach handballers scrap bikini in spite of rules

“It’s completely ridiculous,” Norway’s Minister for Culture and Sports, Abid Raja, tweeted after Monday’s ruling. “What a change of attitude is needed in the macho and conservative international world of sport.”

Ahead of the tournament, Norway asked the EHF for permission to play in shorts, but were told that breaches of the rules were punishable by fines.

They complied, until their last match.

“The EHF is committed to bring this topic forward in the interest of its member federations, however it must also be said that a change of the rules can only happen at IHF level,” EHF spokesman Andrew Barringer said in an email.