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Sexism Qatar Airways in trouble over archaic rules for female flight attendants

Qater Airways is in trouble over the alleged set of archaic rules set for female flight attendants.

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  play Chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, has defended the airline’s policies. (AP)

One of the world’s fastest growing airlines with a modern fleet, Qatar airlines has been rocked by reports revealing its shockingly archaic set of rules for female flight attendants.

Gulf carriers Etihad and Emirates were also blasted by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) for its “flagrant abuses of aviation workers” — but they named Qatar Airways as the worst.

The ITF exposed unbelievable rules in the contracts for female flight attendants at Qatar Airways including; Female flight attendants can only be hired if they are single, they must remain single for five years after starting work, If they want to get married they have to ask the airline’s permission and pregnancy is a breach of contract and can lead to firing

Nearly eighteen months since their initial report, the ITF says that the airline has made no progress in its treatment of women and has urged companies, including the Barcelona Football Club who have a lucrative sponsorship deal with Qatar Airways, to reconsider their relationship with the airline.

However, in a statement to the Washington Post yesterday, Qatar Airways says the contract claims are not true.

Qatar Airways flight attendants do not have to be, or remain single,” Rossen Dimitrov, Qatar Airways Senior Vice President Customer Experience, said. “Many of our cabin crew are in fact married.”

The airline said its cabin crew do have to notify the airline of pregnancies, as mandated by Qatar’s civil aviation authority, “for health and safety reasons.” If employees cannot fly because of pregnancy, they are “assisted with finding suitable ground positions.”

Its chief executive, Akbar al-Baker, has previously defended its policies telling Reuters that the terms of employment are clearly stated.

“If you come to seek employment with Qatar Airways we give you a document that these are the rules and regulations, if you as a mature individual accept those conditions, then you shouldn’t complain.”

The revelation of the contract stipulations has outraged many on social media who have labelled the rules “sexist”, “insane” and “outdated.”

The Doha based Qatar Airways is one of the three main Gulf carriers. It has had phenomenal growth over the past 20 years, moving from 90th biggest international carrier to the 10th. It serves over 140 destinations (including Melbourne and Perth), has 142 aircraft in the sky and another 340 on order.

To help service this rapidly expanding fleet Qatar has embarked on enormous recruitment drives from far flung places such as Papua New Guinea, Slovakia, South Africa, India and the Philippines.

Voted Airline of the Year 2011 and in 2012 in the prestigious Skytrax industry audit, Qatar Airways has so far won the confidence of the public however ITF believes the truth needs to be revealed.

The treatment of workers at Qatar Airways goes further than cultural differences. They are the worst for women’s rights among airlines,” Gabriel Mocho, civil aviation secretary at the international grouping of transport unions, told Reuters.

You can’t see that deep level of sexism anywhere now except at these airlines in the Gulf,” Mocho said.

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