Girls given stickers saying “Future TUI cabin crew”, while boys handed ones calling them a captain
TUI Airways has become embroiled in a row over gender after it handed out “deeply sexist” stickers to children on a flight to Bristol from Paphos, Cyprus.
The stickers, which said “Future TUI cabin crew” and “Future TUI captain”, were given to children along gendered lines according to Dame Gillian Morgan, chair of NHS providers in the United Kingdom, a doctor and a scientist.
TUI has apologised for any upset caused by the stickers. A spokesperson told the Independent that it was “a simple mix-up”. The stickers were designed to be gender neutral, and to be given out to all children regardless of their gender, they continued.
Morgan, 65, told Metro that she had seen the stickers being given to children on a flight from Paphos, Cyprus to Bristol on 15 August.
“The stickers were gender neutral but it’s the way that they were handed out that makes it complicated,” she said.
“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 actually stops us as a country, getting the best out of our workforce.
“In 30 years’ time it might be likely that the majority of pilots will still be men but we should not be turning off the girls who are going to be the ones to walk on Mars.”
A spokesperson for TUI Airways – formerly known as Thomson Airways – told the Independent: “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.
“The feedback we’ve had so far this summer has been overwhelmingly positive. Children fall in love with flying when they go on their holidays with us and we want to encourage their dreams of becoming future pilots and crew members.”
Morgan said that she thought TUI had probably had good intentions when they had the idea for the stickers. However, she considers the company to be responsible for its employees actions.
“I was with my great-niece and my great-nephew and of the two of them, she’s going to be the pilot, he’s going to be the cabin crew,” she said.
“I just think it’s a shame. TUI were trying, I think, to do the right thing but fundamentally missed the point.
“There must have been a way of doing it with a bit more thought. I was quite upset by it really.”
Morgan was not the only person upset by the incident.
The Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality and women’s rights, tweeted: “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.”
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. https://t.co/3eqo8G7hmJ
— Fawcett Society (@fawcettsociety) August 22, 2018
Clementine Stewart wrote: “Seriously @TUIUK ? I know some amazing scientists, engineers, mathematicians and physicists who would make great pilots. AND they happen to be girls. Can we fast forward our thinking please?”
Seriously @TUIUK ? I know some amazing scientists, engineers, mathematicians and physicists who would make great pilots. AND they happen to be girls. Can we fast forward our thinking please? #gender #equality #STEM #Education #atleasttheyarenotpink @Louwatson1908 @alstewitn pic.twitter.com/TUIOaALBSS
— Clementine Stewart (@CStewartSHS) August 23, 2018