The practice of hiring predominantly female flight attendants or air hostesses has been a long-standing tradition in the airline industry. However, the reasons for this are complex and have evolved over time. Here are some possible explanations:
- Historical stereotypes: The role of a flight attendant was initially seen as an extension of traditional women’s roles as caregivers and hospitality workers. In the early days of commercial aviation, airlines hired young, attractive, and well-groomed women to serve passengers, and this image became deeply ingrained in the public consciousness.
- Perception of safety: Airlines have also argued that female flight attendants are better equipped to handle safety and emergency situations on board. This perception may stem from traditional gender roles, where women are seen as nurturing and caring, which may be seen as valuable traits in a crisis situation.
- Height and weight requirements: Historically, airlines also had strict height and weight requirements for flight attendants, which favored hiring women over men. However, these requirements have become less stringent in recent years, and airlines have begun hiring more male flight attendants.
- Customer preferences: Some airlines have suggested that passengers prefer to be served by female flight attendants, as they may be perceived as more friendly and approachable. This could be due to cultural factors, where women are often expected to provide hospitality and customer service in various roles.
It is important to note that the practice of hiring mostly female flight attendants has been criticized as perpetuating gender stereotypes and discrimination. Some airlines have started to challenge this tradition by hiring more male and gender-nonconforming flight attendants, recognizing that anyone can provide excellent customer service and safety skills in this role, regardless of gender.