French air stewardesses are refusing to fly to Tehran beginning later this month rather than submit to a new order to wear headscarves.
It was reported Saturday that female members of flight crews and staff on Air France flights have been ordered to don the Islam-mandated headgear upon arrival in Tehran when Air France resumes flights to the Iranian capital on April 17. Unions are demanding that working the flights be made voluntary.
While women in Iran have been legally compelled to wear hijab since the 1979 revolution, in France headscarves have been banned in State offices and schools, and it is illegal to wear Muslim face-coverings in public.
According to the head of the UNAC flight crews’ union, Flore Arrighi
“It is not our role to pass judgement on the wearing of headscarves or veils in Iran. What we are denouncing is that it is being made compulsory. Stewardesses must be given the right to refuse these flights.”
She added that female staff were entitled to exercise “individual freedoms”.
The deputy head of the SNPNC flight crews’ union, Christophe Pillet, concurred:
“Female staff do not wish to have dress regulations imposed on them, especially the obligation to wear an Air France scarf that completely covers their hair as soon as they leave the plane.”
Laurence Rossignol, the French Minister for Women’s Rights and Families, who describes herself as a feminist, likened women who wear veils or Islamic headscarves to “negroes who supported slavery”.
“Many female members of flight crews have informed us that it is out of the question that they be obliged to wear headscarves. It is not professional and they see it as an insult to their dignity.”