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Controversy of the Day

Why is AirFrance forcing headscarves on its stewardesses?


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AirFrance tried to make headscarves compulsory for its Tehran crew. (Bonnie/Flickr)

AirFrance ordered its female cabin crew to wear headscarves when flying to Iran. The company sent out a memo to all its female staff, saying they're required to wear trousers with a loose fitting jacket and headscarf.

The airline is about to resume its services to Tehran later this month after an eight-year hiatus due to sanctions.

Why was this rule put in place?

Iranian laws require women to cover their heads in public places, and AirFrance is looking out for its female employees. The company initially had a really strong stance, saying the crew was "obliged like other foreign visitors to respect the laws of the countries to which they traveled."

The headscarf rule already applies to AirFrance crew flying to Saudi Arabia.

Many stewardesses raised concerns over displaying any kind of religious symbols--the union requested AirFrance to make it a voluntary measure.

The airline then announced it would allow female crew members and pilots to opt out of Tehran-bound flights if they don't want to cover their heads, releasing the following statement:

"This obligation does not apply during the flight and is respected by all international airlines serving the Republic of Iran."

Other international airlines, including Lufthansa, have not had any problems in Tehran--their crews have followed the rule to cover their heads.

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Why is AirFrance forcing headscarves on its stewardesses?

Anugya Chitransh

Anugya is originally from New Delhi, India. She studied journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York, graduating with a master's in international reporting. She plans to travel one day to all the places she reads about. She likes reading fiction, pop music, and going to the beach, but absolutely hates anyone mangling or shortening her name (which is quite common). She binge watches Korean dramas and anime series. She's a freelance writer and has produced content that has appeared in NBC, The Times of India, Time Out Delhi, and other publications.

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