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Should women pay more for haircuts?

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Denmark attracts high praise for its focus on gender equality, but a new law that says women should not pay more for haircuts that men is causing controversy.

The country's Board of Equal Treatment effectively banned gender-based pricing plans in hair salons when it slapped a salon with a 2,500-krone (£282) fine for charging women more.

A woman who was passing the salon saw its price list and complained to the board that the business charges 528 krone (£62) for women's haircuts - plus an extra fee for long hair - while men's 'dos cost 428 crowns (£48).

A hairdressers' trade organisation branded the decision "absurd" and warned of "pricing chaos" if the unusual ruling goes ahead.

"It takes, quite simply, longer time with women," Connie Mikkelsen, chairwoman of the Danish organization for independent hairdressers and cosmeticians, said.

"Measuring time will lead to a discussion of hair length - what is medium length, and what is long," Mikkelsen added. "It will end in a series of conflicts with customers."

She added that more techniques are required to cut women's hair and said that higher costs for cutting long hair are applicable to men.

The organisation has appealed the board's ruling.

Denmark's gender equality legislation saw it rise to 7th out of 135 countries in the 2008 Global Gender Gap Report, conducted by the World Economic Forum.

What do you think? Is it discrimination to charge women more for haircuts? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below or on Twitter

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex features

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