In a move that has sparked widespread controversy, Hainan Airlines, one of the largest carriers in China, recently implemented a policy aimed at regulating the weight of its female flight attendants. The policy requires female flight attendants to undergo regular weight monitoring, and those who exceed the specified weight limit will face consequences.
The Weight Monitoring System
Hainan Airlines’ weight monitoring system entails on-site weigh-ins for female flight attendants. The standard weight is determined based on height, with a calculation of height in centimeters minus 110. For instance, a flight attendant with a height of 158 centimeters would be expected to maintain a maximum weight of 48 kilograms.
Those who are found to be 10% or more over the standard weight will be immediately suspended and enrolled in the company’s “weight-reduction plan.”
On the other hand, attendants who are less than 5% over the standard weight will have their weight tracked on a monthly basis and undergo a review.
Backlash and Criticisms
The implementation of this weight monitoring policy has sparked significant backlash, particularly on Chinese social media platforms. Many commenters have criticized the policy as sexist, arguing that it places undue importance on physical appearance rather than focusing on more critical attributes such as knowledge, skills, and the ability to handle emergency situations.
A popular comment on social media read, “I just need the flight attendant to be fully qualified in professional knowledge, well-practiced in safety procedures, and wear the most suitable shoes and clothes for emergencies. Her weight is none of my business.” This sentiment was echoed by flight attendant management employee Huang, who stated, “If airlines deprive overweight flight attendants of the right to work normally purely because of visual aesthetic considerations, this is definitely employment discrimination.”
Hainan Airlines’ Response
In response to the mounting criticism, Hainan Airlines issued a statement clarifying its stance. The airline emphasized that the weight requirements apply to all flight attendants, regardless of gender, and they aim to evaluate and manage their overall health, physical shape, and posture. Hainan Airlines asserts that the policy is not intended as a simple criterion for suspending attendants but rather as a means to advocate healthy living habits and maintain a good professional image and physique. The carrier argues that by anchoring the reference target, they can proactively address any significant changes in the physical condition of their crew members that may potentially affect safety service work.
Hainan Airlines’ decision to implement a weight monitoring policy for its female flight attendants has generated considerable controversy and critics argue that the policy places an excessive focus on appearance rather than essential job qualifications. However, the airline maintains that the policy is intended to ensure the health and physical well-being of their flight attendants, contributing to an overall positive professional image.
As the debate surrounding this policy continues, it remains to be seen how Hainan Airlines will address the concerns raised by employees and the public. The implications of this controversial decision go beyond the airline industry and touch on larger issues such as employment discrimination and societal expectations regarding physical appearance.