Condemn Airline for Sexist Hiring Policy


Target: Go Airlines (India) Ltd.

Goal: Condemn company for using economic excuses for hiring only thin female flight attendants

GoAir, a low-cost airline in India, recently announced several cost-saving measures, including a change in its hiring policy: because females are on average lighter than males, the airline would only hire thin female flight attendants moving forward. The carrier currently has a male to female attendant ratio of 40 men to 60 women, and plans to take that ratio down to the ‘industry norm’ of 30 men to 70 women with its new hiring policy. Tell the airline that using economic excuses to perpetuate a sexist hiring policy is unacceptable.

GoAir told the Times of India that it would be implementing a number of cost-saving measures to remain profitable, including cutting the size of in-flight magazines and only partially filling its potable water tanks. It also said it would cut the weight of its flight attendants by hiring only females, because they weigh on average “15-20kg less than a male flight purser.” According to the airline’s own estimates, “each extra kilo on board costs Rs3 ($0.05) per flying hour, and the new policy will save it up to $500,000 annually.”

The airline commented to CNN that is was not implementing a gender-based hiring policy. At the same time, however, a spokesman said that it planned to take its current flight attendant pool, 40 percent of which are male, to the “industry norm” of 30 men to 70 women. GoAir plans to make 2,000 hires in the next seven years, and if its new policy goes into effect, the majority of new flight attendants will be thin women.

While implementing weight limits to save money makes economic sense, cutting the weight of the airline’s on-board staff by exclusively hiring thin female flight attendants is sexist and perpetuates a number of gender stereotypes. Tell the GoAir that one of the costs of operating an airline is to accept the weight of its employees, regardless of their size or gender, and ask it to discontinue this sexist and discriminatory policy.


Dear GoAir,

Your decision to only hire thin female flight attendants on your aircraft using the excuse that it would save on fuel is laughable, and would exclude half the available pool of applicants solely because they are male. Other airlines admit to hiring female flight attendants primarily for their sex appeal, a policy that is in itself sexist but at the very least honest.

It makes perfect sense to cut costs by limiting the weight of objects on an aircraft. However, cutting the weight of your workforce because one gender is on average lighter than the other perpetuates sexist stereotypes and sends a message that personnel are nothing but extra weight, rather than valuable employees regardless of their size or gender.

GoAir currently has a flight attendant ratio of 40 men to 60 women, one of the most balanced numbers in the industry. Taking this ratio down to further a sexist image and ostensibly save on fuel is a disservice to your current workforce. I urge you to discontinue this policy.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Kprateek88 via Wikimedia Commons

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