Hairdressing: The cutting edge of sexual equality


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Indy Lifestyle Online

Hairdressers in Denmark are spitting curlers after the country's equality officials effectively ruled it was illegal for women to be charged more for haircuts than men.

The measure follows a complaint by a woman with short hair about a salon that demanded she pay the higher price it charges for ladies' cuts. The hairdresser was also ordered to pay her £281 in compensation.

Denmark is renowned for its strong gender equality laws but a hairdressers' body is appealing the ruling, warning of "pricing chaos" if it came into law.

What would British snippers make of such a rule? To find out, I called James Brown, international celebrity hairdresser to Kate Moss among others, and Paul Neophytou, 66, hairdresser to me.

"I don't think it should be equal at all," Brown says. "If men and women are going to be charged the same it should be done by time. It's rare for a man's appointment to take more than an hour, whereas a woman's could take four hours."

At Paul's unisex hairdressers in Brockley, south-east London, Neophytou cuts my hair in six minutes flat for £10. He's manned the scissors for 50 years and says he hasn't heard of anything so crazy. "I even disagree for all men to pay the same," he says. "It totally depends on the length and time for cutting." If that's the case, Paul, I'm due a discount.