1965 September 14

Stewardesses Win Grievance on Airline No Marriage Policy


Stewardesses for Braniff Airlines (now defunct but at the time a major airlines) won their grievance case on this day regarding the airlines No Marriage Rule for stewardesses. The referee in the grievance action cited Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (July 2, 1964), which banned employment discrimination against women.

The case was one of a number of protests and legal challenges to the traditional practices in the airlines industries, which involved restricting the job of stewardess to women, requiring they were single, and also requiring them to “retire” at age 32 or 25 (depending on the airlines). The job became relabeled “Flight Attendant” in the 1970s, and is open to men and women, with no age or marriage restrictions. For earlier challenges to job discrimination against stewardesses, see April 17, 1963; February 26, 1965; and March 10, 1973.

A 1966 New York Times want-ad (courtesy of Wikipedia): “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration). 5’2″ but no more than 5’9″, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.”

Learn more: Kathleen Barry, Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants (2007)

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