Cathay Pacific ends skirts-only rule for female staff

Many of Cathay Pacific's female flight attendants have expressed concern over wearing short skirts while working.
Many of Cathay Pacific's female flight attendants have expressed concern over wearing short skirts while working.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

HONG KONG • Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific will end its 70-year-old skirts-only rule for female uniformed staff after the flight attendants union won the right to wear trousers.

"We welcome and appreciate the company's decision on giving us an option in choosing uniforms," said Ms Pauline Mak, vice-chair of the Hong Kong Dragon Airlines Flight Attendants Association.

She said many female colleagues had expressed concern over wearing short skirts while working, especially when putting passengers' luggage into overhead compartments and also when taking public transport off duty.

"It not only provides us one more option, but also provides us with protection," Ms Mak added.

The #Metoo movement on social media has empowered women to stand up against sexual harassment and encourage them to ask for proper protection in the workplace and everyday life.

Ms Mak said the change would take place during the next uniform refresh, which is expected to be in three years' time at the soonest. The airline said it would re-evaluate the uniforms for Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon.

"Just as we recognise it is important to provide our customers with more choice, the same is also true for our colleagues," the airline added. In 2014, Cathay Pacific flight attendants requested a redesign of their uniforms because they said they were too revealing and may provoke sexual harassment.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2018, with the headline 'Cathay Pacific ends skirts-only rule for female staff'. Print Edition | Subscribe