Changes are coming to U.S. Army grooming requirements for soldiers, especially women.
Stars and Stripes reported Thursday changes will be announced in January after a Pentagon directive in July called for the military services to review their grooming and hairstyle policies "to ensure a standard of equity," according to Army spokeswoman Lt. Col. Junel Jeffrey.
"The Army routinely examines our policies to ensure they meet the needs of the force. This is another way we are working to improve the lives of our force by putting people first,” Jeffrey said in a statement issued Thursday per Stars and Stripes.
"We expect to announce the approved changes in January."
The Pentagon's directive followed widespread national protests calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
A panel made up of people from various ranks, units, ages, cultural backgrounds, races, and genders met and reviewed the policies.
"In addition to reviewing grooming policies to identify and resolve issues of racial inequality, the panel conducted a wider assessment to consider input submitted from soldiers across the force," Jeffrey said.
The panel's recommendations have been sent to Army senior leadership and are awaiting approval. The recommendations reportedly include hairstyles that would allow women to have more versatility when they are in uniform, and no minimum hair length for women, according to Task & Purpose.
Women also might soon be permitted to wear their locs or twists in a braid, and a ponytail in any uniform as long as it does not fall past the top of the shoulder blades.
Sgt. Major of the Army Michael Grinston tweeted "hair is absolutely something the Project Inclusion team is actively working. We’ll have an update in the next month."
The recommendations also requested that women be allowed to wear earrings while they are in their Army combat uniform, but only while they are in garrison, not on deployment or in the field.
Project Inclusion is a new Army initiative "to improve diversity, equity and inclusion across the force and build cohesive teams," according to a service news release.
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