Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Sunday 26 April 2009

More Rubbish

It is reported today in the Daily Telegraph that a former BMI (British Midland Airways) stewardess, one Miss Lisa Ashton, has been sacked by the airline.

She lost her job because, outrageously in my view, she was required by her employer to wear a demeaning garment called an abaya (in plain black too) and walk behind all men regardless of their rank, when on duty in Saudi Arabia. An abaya in this case is a robe that covers the entire body except the face, so at least it is not as absurd as a "burkha," however there are abayas that cover the face, leaving only the eyes visible.  When I lived in West London, I used to see women dressed in these - enough to give one nightmares frankly.  In my search for the image reproduced below, I found that there are abayas whose appearance is improved by decorative embroidery.  Perhaps BMI should issue them decorated with the airline's logo?!

An abaya.  Image source: The Muslim Boutique

There are two points here. First, it is awful I think that such orders be issued by an employer; second, there is no law in Saudi Arabia that requires the wearing of this bizarre costume and neither is there a regulation requiring women to walk behind men.

Even more depressing, a British employment tribunal has upheld the company's decision.  The Telegraph article reports: It ruled there was no evidence that women would regard BMI's requirements on wearing the abaya, or walking behind men, as "placing them under any disadvantage."

The article quotes Miss Ashton as saying: "It's not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I'm not going to be treated as a second-class citizen," she said.  "It's outrageous. I'm a proud Englishwoman and I don't want these restrictions placed on myself." 

Miss Ashton has contacted the human rights organisation, Liberty and may also seek a judicial review.

I for one, wish her the best of luck.

Until the next time.

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