South Korean Flight Attendants Fight Skirt-Only Dress Code

Asiana Airlines’ female cabin crew comes one step closer to winning a long fight with the carrier over its 10-page list of appearance guidelines.

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Choi Jae-Ku / AFP / Getty Images

Stewardesses of Asiana Airlines participated in a uniform changing ceremony in Seoul on Sept. 25, 2003. The South Korean airline might change its skirt-only dress code for its female flight attendants in the future.

After a long-fought battle over the company dress code, female flight attendants at Asiana Airlines might be getting new uniforms — and, for the first time, permission to wear pants, according to Jezebel.

Since last year, the flight attendants’ labor union has been working with the country’s human rights commission to make changes to the airline’s appearance guidelines. The 10-page form, with which all of Asiana’s 3,400 female flight attendants at are expected to comply, governs everything from how many hairpins flight attendants can wear to the length of their earrings, reported the New York Times.  In contrast, a similar set of guidelines for Asiana’s 200 male flight attendants runs only to two pages.

Among these guidelines — which also tell women how much eyeliner and makeup they’re required to wear — is a rule stipulating that flight attendants may not wear trousers. The airline agreed to consider changing that rule in the next uniform redesign, although it didn’t specify when that would happen.

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Asiana, South Korea’s second-largest carrier, is the only airline in the country with a no-trouser rule, the Washington Post reported.  The company instated the policy as a means to emphasize the brand’s “high-class Korean beauty” and give it a competitive edge in the Asian market, according to Jezebel.

Although it’s only a partial victory for the union, they are pleased that the airline is considering changing their uniforms.  “I hope the decision would help change similar discriminatory rules that govern how women in service industries, such as hotels, dress and do their hair and makeup,” union head Kweon Soo-joung said.

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