The U.S. Navy announced on Wednesday that it will allow servicewomen to wear different types of hairstyles, including ponytails and locs, the Associated Press reports.
Black women have long requested for changes in the Navy’s rules about hair for female servicemembers.
The policy, which went into effect on Wednesday, was announced by Yeoman First Class LaToya Jones on a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, according to the AP. Locs, braids and twists, which are described as “ropelike strands,” by the AP, and wider hair buns are now allowed. Ponytails can also be worn while in uniform.
The Navy is aiming for a more inclusive environment Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson told the AP.
Capt. Thurraya Kent, who’s been part of the Navy for 26 years and served a member of a group that urged the military branch to change its practices, told the AP that additional grooming options would remove distractions and that women would be able to keep their hair natural without chemically altering it.
“I think it’s a step forward,” Lt. Cmdr. Jess Cameron told the AP. “They’re getting more female feedback in the service and updating what I think are somewhat antiquated guidelines that maybe no longer serve their purpose in today’s society, today’s military.”
The Marines approved natural hairstyles in 2015, according to the Marine Times , and the Army, approved its own measure in 2017, per the Army Times.