Qatar Airways under fire over ‘short skirt’ drive

Employment expert says airline’s dress code for women in job ads is ‘ethically and morally wrong’

Paul Crompton
Paul Crompton - Al Arabiya News
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Qatar Airways this week came under fire from Norway’s anti-discrimination ombudsman after it posted an advert telling women to wear short skirts to a cabin-crew recruitment day in the capital, Oslo.

In the same advert, men were asked to come wearing “business suits,” according to Norwegian news website The Local.

The advert was later changed to state that both men and women to attend wearing “business wear.”

“We believe that it is contrary to law that there should be different clothing requirements for men and women,” Carl Fredrik Riise, an advisor for the country’s anti-discrimination group, told Norway's DN newspaper.

David Mackenzie, managing director of Dubai-based recruitment consultants Mackenzie Jones, said the ad was “ethically and morally wrong.”

“There’s no way you should discriminate on how short a person’s skirt is,” he added.

However, the blame may be due to the Doha-based carrier’s job requirements being misinterpreted by an external agency, he said.

However, “for them to have released this, or even to have allowed an agency to release this, is astounding,” said Mackenzie.

A previous listing in Dubai in January, posted on the carrier's website, specified that women should wear a “business suit, kneelength skirt without any tights or stockings or skin colored tights/stockings and a short sleeved blouse. Hair neatly tied back with appropriate make up.”

A similar recruitment event for cabin crew in Bangkok, Thailand in October, had the same requirements – although the type of stockings (or lack thereof) was not specified.

Qatar Airways could not be reached for comment.

The airline sparked controversy in September last year after the International Transport Workers’ Federation claimed that the airline forced its female workers to seek permission from the company if they wish to marry.

The trade federation also said that the carrier’s hiring contract for female workers states that employees must contact a supervisor if they become pregnant – and can be fired if they fail to do so.

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