Women in the U.S. Army can now wear dreadlocks, The New York Times reports. Black women are reportedly rejoicing over the decision, which came after years of confusion about the rules related to their appearance.
Army Regulation 670-1, which contains the Army’s grooming rules, was amended to allow servicewomen to wear the popular hairstyle.
Sergeant Major Anthony J. Moore said the policy change was made to increase diversity in the army.
“There was a section of the population who previously were unable to enlist in the Army,” he said. “This makes the Army better because you’re opening the doors for more talent. You’re allowing people to come in who have skills the Army can use.”
According to the directive, “each lock, or dreadlock, will be of uniform dimension; have a diameter no greater than a half-inch; and present a neat, professional and well-groomed appearance.”
Moore states that they “understood there was no need to differentiate between locs, cornrows or twists as long as they all met the same dimension” and also that “females have been asking for a while, especially females of African-American decent, to be able to wear dreadlocks and locs because it’s easier to maintain that hairstyle.”
Capt. Danielle N. Roach, who has been in the army for more than 14 years “didn’t think it would happen” before she retired.
“There is no way this is real,” she exclaimed.
Now, servicewomen like Roach have an alternative to traditional hairstyles, which often includes chemically straightening their hair.