‘The Great Stewardess Rebellion’ and air travel today

(photo credit, Emillie Krause)

(photo credit, Emillie Krause)

If you wanted to be an airline stewardess in the 1960s, you had to meet very strict requirements – you had to be a single, childless woman and fit certain weight, height and beauty standards. And the sexism didn’t stop once you were hired — here were mandatory weigh-ins, “girdle checks,” and forced retirement at 32. But things finally changed when a group of female stewardesses organized against these policies and fought for gender equality in the workplace.

Journalist NELL MCSHANE WULFHART tells that history of how stewardesses became flight attendants and their influence on the labor movement in her new book The Great Stewardess Rebellion: How Women Launched a Workplace Revolution at 30,000 Feet. We’ll also talk with flight attendant CHRISTA GIFFORD about what it’s been like flying through the pandemic.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal