Forcing Religious Headscarves on Female Flight Attendants (Obviously) Didn't Go Over Well

In Iran, women are required by law to cover their hair with scarves. That obviously sucks, but as of right now, it is what it is. But the law extends to visitors in the country, and even, apparently, to members of flight crews traveling to Iran's capital from abroad. And some of the women who work out of France (where public displays of religion are not the norm) are upset that their airline job requires them to cover up in such a provocative way

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And honestly, they should be. The law is contentious enough in Iran itself; while many women would wear a headscarf with or without the law, there are also many who wouldn't, and many more who feel that the state is messing with their personal freedoms.

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But it's not just Iranians' public freedoms -- every woman who walks on their soil is subject. So really, Air France is just telling its employees that they have to follow the law. It's the compulsory factor that's the problem.

According to Air France's rules, female staff members have to change into headscarves and loose-fitting clothes as soon as they disembark into Tehran. But since they come from a country that bans Muslim headscarves from state property and doesn't allow full-face veils like burqas and niqabs at all, it's understandable that there's some friction.

Air France is based in a secular country, and it wouldn't be fair of them to force their employees to work in a place where they're not allowed to express their religious or social beliefs. If they want to go to Iran and wear a headscarf on their own time, that's fine. But if an employee has a strong issue with these laws, she shouldn't be forced to comply solely for the sake of her job. That'd be messed up, right? And totally unfair? And not something men would ever have to deal with?

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The French unions demanded that flights to Tehran be voluntary for women, and thankfully, Air France listened. Female employees won't be forced to work anywhere that requires a change in dress if they don't want to, but isn't it still kind of sad that this is a discussion at all?

 

Image via iStock.com/Smaglov

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