Lawmakers in Taiwan have threatened to withhold some funding from the country’s aviation regulator until it takes action to force local airlines to allow female cabin crew to wear trousers as part of their uniform.
Until now, Taiwan’s two main international carriers – EVA Airways and China Airlines – have forced female crew members to wear skirts or dresses, along with high heels and have dismissed calls for more ‘gender neutral’ uniform options like trousers.
“While it is very common to see female flight attendants at European airlines wear pants, [most] Taiwanese airlines seem very backward as they continue to require women to wear skirts and makeup,” New Power Party Legislator Chiu Hsien-chih was quoted as saying by the English language Taipei Times.
“Taiwan recognizes same-sex marriage and is generally viewed by international community as a country that values gender equality. We should be equally progressive in this respect,” Chiu continued.
Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Administration has reportedly asked local airlines to offer wider range of uniform options for female cabin crew, but lawmakers have called on the agency to take a much tougher stance.
In response to the lack of action, the CAA has had 10% of its budget for general administrative expenditure withheld until it submits a written report on how it will make airlines adjust employment rules to comply with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
A further US$ 15,000 has been docked from the Civil Aviation Operation Fund until the CAA submits a second report on how dress codes will be included in the gender equality evaluation of airlines.
The only airline operating in Taiwan that currently allows female cabin crew to wear trousers is Tigerair Taiwan but the CAA says it will take time for other airlines to follow suit because it takes time to design a new uniform.
EVA Air didn’t even employ male cabin crew until 2019 and that only happened as part of a peace deal with the flight attendant union following a crippling strike. Up to 70% of past candidates were male but these applications were immediately rejected due to the candidate’s gender.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.