Gender Equality in the Hairdressing Industry

This exploration of gender equality in the hairdressing and barber shops industry was written by Jessica Fernsby on behalf of Scissor Tech AU, a stockist of high-quality hair dressing scissors that is based in Perth, Australia.

Creating fair opportunities is never easy, no matter which aspect of life we want to address. However, probably the most challenging task of them all is bringing more equality to our work environment. One of the industries that have fought with inequality issues for many years is the hairdressing industry.

In the eyes of many, the profession of a hairdresser is the perfect job for the female. But, we should ask ourselves if it is really true. Below, we will closely examine the status of hairdressers, whether there are more female or male hairdressers and the possible causes for this situation. Let’s get started.

What Are Equal Opportunities?

In simple terms, the concept of equal opportunities means equal chances. It indicates that all people should have the same opportunities to get a job. This could be an opportunity to find a job or an opportunity to build a career.

Although no law requires employers to create fair opportunities for all employees, more and more regulations are being developed to help support equality in the workplace.

It is important to note that having equal opportunities does not mean that all employees should be treated equally. Instead, it means that everyone has the same chance to get a job and develop their career.

While both men and women hairdressers use the same tools and buy them from the same shops, saying there are no differences between them would be untrue. As such, let’s take a closer look at the status of hairdressers and how it affects everyone who wants to pick up this profession.

hairdressing salon

What Is the Status of Hairdressers?

In most parts of the world, hairdressing is perceived as a feminine job. It is believed that women are better and more creative at styling hair than men. To create a sort of counterpart to this profession, many men interested in cutting and taking care of others’ hair become barbers instead.

The profession of a barber for many seems to be more masculine. After all, barbers are usually males who cut and style the hair of other males. However, the creation of barbers only strengthened the stereotypes at play in the hairdressing industry and created further disparities. To prove this, let’s compare the salaries of hairdressers and barbers.

According to PayScale research, the average hourly rate for a hairstylist in Australia is AU$23.76. On the other hand, barbers in Australia make around AU$24.76 per hour. It might not seem like a significant difference, but it adds up. As a result, being a barber can be a more profitable career choice for a male than becoming a hairdresser.

What Is Stopping Men From Becoming Hairdressers?

It would be great to live in a world where gender did not matter when it comes to choosing one’s career path. Unfortunately, that is not a reality yet. Gender stereotypes have always been strong in any society, and they still affect our behaviour and decisions. Therefore, even when we are well educated and aware of gender inequality problems, we tend to associate certain professions with men or women based on our gender perception.

The truth is that, even though the number of male hairdressers has increased in the last decade, there are still a lot of obstacles that can discourage men from joining the industry. Besides earning more money as barbers, the main reason why males do not view hairdressing as an attractive career choice is gender stereotypes.

For many people, hairdressing is still a job that is appropriate only for women. This problem can be easily seen in hair salons where women are usually behind the chairs and men work with clients in the background. It encourages men to pick a safer option and become a barber instead.

barber shop

Are There More Male or Female Hairdressers?

According to statistics from Statista, it seems that women dominate the hairdressing profession. In 2020, over 90% of all the hairdressers, hairstylists, and cosmetologists in the United States were women. It can be a troubling sign, showcasing how big of a problem we need to tackle.

Nevertheless, we need to note that men can still find jobs in the hairdressing field if they are willing to invest time and money into their careers. After they get their license, nothing can stop them from becoming the best hairdresser in the world.


As of now, it seems that women as much dominate the hairdresser industry as men dominate the barber industry. While this state of affairs can be seen as balanced, it leads to various issues like preventing men from picking up jobs as hairdressers out of shame or earning more considerable sums as barbers.

Undoubtedly, the hairdressing industry has a lot of challenges ahead of it. To offer equal opportunities to both males and females in this line of work, we need first to change the way we think about the professions of barbers and hairdressers. Only after we make a cultural change can we expect issues, such as wage disparity, to be eliminated from our world.