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This airline issued sexist stickers on a flight – and Twitter responded accordingly

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Susan Devaney
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Multiple passengers have complained after Tui Airways gave out ‘future pilot’ stickers to boys, and ‘future cabin crew’ stickers to girls. 

The past 12 months have been an incredible feat for women – from the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative to the gender pay gap – places across the planet have addressed everyday sexism like never before.

However, it would seem some companies have yet to catch up – especially Tui Airways.

While aboard a flight from Bristol to Cyprus, Dame Gillian Morgan says that the airline allegedly handed out stickers that read “future pilot” to boys and “future cabin crew” to girls (yeah, you read that correctly).

Morgan, who is both a scientist and doctor, called out the act for being “deeply sexist” and is certain it was not “an accident”.

“The stickers were gender neutral but it’s the way that they were handed out that makes it complicated,” she told Metro. “It happens implicitly all the time. The boys can have the Lego, the space rocket going to the moon, and the girls can have a little pony.

“We desperately need more women to do science, maths and engineering but little things like this take us backwards by providing restricting roles.”

“It happens implicitly all the time. The boys can have the Lego, the space rocket going to the moon, and the girls can have a little pony”

Morgan is not the first passenger to complain about Tui’s sticker initiative: just last month, Linzi Williams took to Twitter to criticise the airline, too.

“Lovely touch by @TUIUK flying out to Corfu Friday by giving children TUI stickers and activity sheet,” Williams tweeted.

“Not so lovely that all the boys were given ‘future pilot’ stickers and the girls ‘future cabin crew’?! Sexist much?

And another tweeted in a similar vein in May: “@TUIUK your cabin crew today chose ‘future Tui cabin crew’ stickers for the girls and ‘future pilot’ for the boys, no female pilots then?”

Responding to the backlash, a spokesperson for Tui has since issued a statement to the Guardian:

It reads: “We’re sorry to hear a small number of customers have been upset by this. We think it has just been a simple mix-up since our future pilot and cabin crew stickers are designed for use for any child regardless of gender.

“The stickers are part of our activity packs which are intended to be used by crew to interact, engage with and create special moments for our customers on their holiday.”

Tui’s statement finishes by saying: “The feedback we’ve had so far this summer has been overwhelmingly positive.”

However, it seems the statement has not gone down as well as Tui might have hoped. Indeed, many people have since taken to Twitter to share some statistics regarding female pilots and their own sexist encounters.

“We are speechless @TUIUK. Are you aware it is 2018? Only 6% of pilots in the UK are women. And we wonder why numbers are so shockingly low when young girls are being fed sexist messaging such as this,” Fawcett Society tweeted. 

Another person tweeted: “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a pilot. Had sexism not been thrown in my face, maybe I would have been one today.”

Earlier this year, the airline came under fire for having one of the largest gender pay gap reports by a major UK company – with women earning an average 56.9% less in hourly pay than men, while Tui’s median pay gap is 47.3%.

In the meantime, you can read more about “hero” female pilot Tammie Jo Shults here.

Images: Unsplash / Twitter  

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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