Airline requiring female crew to wear heels, makeup draws flak

/ 02:13 PM April 18, 2019
Airline draws flak for requiring crew to wear heels

Norwegian Boeing 737-800 during landing. Image: stock photo.

A Norwegian airline has come under fire after it required its female staff to wear heels, unless they have a doctor’s note saying they have to wear flat shoes. They must also carry the doctor’s note at all times and update it every six months.

Apart from heels, Norwegian Air also required its female crew to wear cosmetics, such as foundation, moisturizer and eye makeup, among others.


The policy was criticized by Norway’s Socialist Left Party, according to Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang via The Independent on April 17. 

“It is almost comical that we face these issues in 2019,” Ingrid Hodnebo, a women’s spokesperson for the party, was quoted as saying. “While the rest of society has moved on, Norwegian is stuck in the ‘Mad Men’ universe from the 1950s and ’60s.”


It was also denounced by the Norwegian Labour Party, saying imposing heels and makeup is going too far.

“The year 1950 rang and it wants its rulebook back,” Anette Trettebergstuen, women’s spokesperson of the party, said. “This is super embarrassing and they should have progressed further.”

Norwegian Air has since clarified in the report that its female employees can wear flat shoes while in the cabin. The airline also said the doctor’s note was for female shoes worn outside the cabin.

“Like all global airlines, Norwegian has a comprehensive set of uniform guidelines to ensure that our flying crew represent our brand in a smart and consistent manner,” a spokesperson said. “The guidelines were drafted with input from our pilot and cabin crew colleagues and have been well received, sharing many gender commonalities in addition to some specific male and female requirements.” 

As the airline’s requirements stand, other airlines have taken a more progressive route. British airline Virgin Atlantic, for one, has chucked its rule requiring female crew to wear makeup last March. It will also be offering trousers to the crew apart from their usual red skirt uniform. Cody Cepeda/JB


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TAGS: flight attendants, gender roles, high heels, makeup products, Norwegian Air, Sexism, sexual discrimination
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