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Air India operates (almost) all-female flights

Air India operates (almost) all-female flights

To celebrate International Women's Day the airline pulls an in-flight female empowerment punch
Air India
Female pilots, female flight attendants, female navigators ... and male guardians of alcohol on Air India.

Air India will be flying with an all-female crew on selected flights today.

The stunt is in the name of International Women's Day and includes flights to London, Newark, Singapore, Doha and Bahrain.

But it isn't quite the in-flight sorority house our juvenile minds are imagining.

Indian law ordains that flights on which alcohol will be served must have male pursers on board. These "all-female" flights will thus have two male pursers amongst the otherwise female-only crew.

“All activities for the operation of these flights would be done by women to make it a historic event,” an Air India spokesperson told The Hindustan Times.

The flight crews will meet Varsha Gaikwad, the state minister for women and child development, before take-off.

According to The Times, female pilots comprise 12 percent of Indian airlines' workforce, double the global average of six percent. Air India is one of the biggest employers of female pilots.

Female flight attendants, on the other hand, have been fighting a long battle for equal rights.

Until recent years, only men were promoted to the rank of in-flight supervisor, sometimes ranking above female flight attendants who were of higher seniority and were more experienced. 

In December 2005, Air India decided to stop the discriminatory practice, but male flight pursers took the case to court, claiming that agreements between their union and the carrier reserved the position of in-flight supervisor only for men.

After a long legal battle, the Supreme Court finally recognized in 2007 Air India's decision to designate in-flight supervisors regardless of gender.

Air India operated special all-female crew flights for the first time last year, also on International Women's Day.

After traveling around the world on a fistful of dollars, Zoe returns to Hong Kong, where she grew up, to discover and write about all the inspiring stuff that happens here on a daily basis.

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