For the first time in its 53-year history, the Seoul air carrier has changed the terminology of flight attendants based on gender. This was reported by the second most popular Internet portal of South Korea, Daum News.
The names of “stewardess” and “steward” were widely used in the early days of commercial aviation, but the terminology began to fall out of fashion in the 1970s and 1980s as female flight attendants began to fight for equal rights.
The word “stewardess” became synonymous with lopsided airline policies that prohibited female flight attendants from marrying or having children. In the 1960s and 1970s, flight attendants in the United States organized resistance, and in 1986 they sued United Airlines for $33 million in a class-action lawsuit due to disagreement with the ban on marriage.
For decades, flight attendants unions encouraged the general public to use gender-neutral terms to describe their profession. In the United States, the term flight attendant is widely used, while in Europe and the Middle East, the term cabin crew is preferred.
Many Spanish-speaking countries use the equally gender-neutral term tripulación de cabina.
Earlier this month, Singapore Airlines reversed its longstanding practice of firing female flight attendants who become pregnant. The airline is now allowing pregnant flight attendants to apply for temporary ground jobs before returning to flying after giving birth.