- The RCMP is far from the first force to enact the inclusive policy
- Officials also hope the move will boost career interest from Muslim women
(CNN)The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have some of the most iconic uniforms ever, and thanks to a new policy, the outfit is becoming more inclusive.
According to a statement from the Office of the Minister of Public Safety, the RCMP will allow Muslim women "mounties" to wear a hijab on the job.
The RCMP now joins police forces from other areas of Canada and countries around the world who allow women to wear the head covering with their uniforms.
"The Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police recently approved this addition to the uniform to allow female members of the Muslim faith to wear a hijab if they so choose," the statement provided to CNN read. "This is intended to better reflect the diversity in our communities and encourage more Muslim women to consider the Royal Canadian Mounted Police as a career option."
The red regalia of the RCMP dates back to the force's establishment in 1873, and there have been other times when policies were updated to allow for different expressions of faith and culture.
"Male Royal Canadian Mounted Police members of Sikh faith have been able to wear the turban as part of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform since the early 90's," the statement read.
RCMP spokesman Harold Pfleiderer said the force has also fielded other requested accomodations, including permission to grow facial hair for religious reasons, and access to foot baths and prayer rooms in RCMP work facilities.
A worldwide trend
According to Pfleiderer, the Toronto Police Service introduced hijab options in 2011, and the Edmonton Police Services did so in 2013. Police forces around the United Kingdom, United States, Sweden and Norway also have hijab policies, to name a few.
Just recently, Police Scotland announced they are allowing their female Muslim officers to wear hijabs as well.
"I hope that this addition to our uniform options will contribute to making our staff mix more diverse and adds to the life skills, experiences and personal qualities that our officers and staff bring to policing the communities of Scotland," chief constable Phil Gormley said in a statement.
Interestingly, both the Canadian and Scottish policies seem aimed not just at inclusion, but also the active recruitment of Muslim women.
CC Gormley said in the statement he hopes the move will encourage "women from Muslim communities, who may previously not have seen policing as a career option, to reconsider."