A unisex hair salon in Chippendale, Stanley & Co, is offering women free haircuts on tomorrow’s International Women’s Day in response to an incident yesterday of a woman being turned away from a men-only barber in Darwin.

The woman (who cannot be named) turned to Facebook to vent her frustration at Star Barber after being denied service, which sparked online debate and caught the attention of Stanley & Co’s owner Joe Orlowski. He believes refusing clientele based on gender is “old-fashioned” and wants to make a point by offering free services.

“The sexist stance we’ve seen is outdated and absolutely not representative of the modern-day barber industry, which has come a long way in terms of inclusion since its resurgence in recent years,” Orlowski tells Broadsheet.

The customer’s complaints have since been removed from Facebook due to a current investigation by the Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission (an organisation promoting equal opportunity for all Territorians).

“I think being a male-only barber makes no sense financially. Females make up half the population, why would you exclude 50 per cent of potential clientele?” says Orlowski.

Owner of Star Barber Joy Arnott responded to criticism on Facebook yesterday, stating she was “pro-men, not anti-women”.

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Sydney’s Stanley & Co has a policy on charging the same price for women and men for its haircuts. “Firstly, on behalf of the industry, we apologise to the complainants; secondly, we urge our errant Darwin colleagues to join us in the 21st century and lighten up,” says Orlowski.

Broadsheet called Star Barber for comment but there was no reply.

Stanley and Co is offering free hair cuts for women who make an appointment tomorrow only. Book in by calling 0449 264 839.