In Moscow on Tuesday, two men on the public council of Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, turned what should have been a mundane press conference into an odd commentary on women’s bodies, with one man asserting that “the appearance of its employees” is a selling point for Aeroflot’s passengers.
The press conference was called by two Aeroflot flight attendants who sued the company for age and sex discrimination. Evgeniya Magurina and Irina Ierusalimskaya said they’d been barred from working on international flights because of their larger clothing sizes, a move that cost them a significant portion of their pay.
Magurina claimed that all Aeroflot flight attendants were photographed, measured, and, in some cases, weighed last year. The 600 or so women whose bodies didn’t meet the requirements—allegedly equivalent to a U.S. size 14—were yanked from international routes.
Magurina and Ierusalimskaya lost their case against the airline and on Tuesday vowed to appeal.
Aeroflot has stated that it never discriminates on the basis of appearance, age, or weight.
But the two members of Aeroflot’s public council seemed to undercut that argument when they interrupted the news conference on Tuesday.
Pavel Danilin said one reason Aeroflot sells tickets “is the appearance of its employees,” referring to a passenger survey that showed “92% want to see stewardesses who fit into the clothes sizes we are talking about here.”
Another member of Aeroflot’s public council, Nikita Krichevsky—who at one point referenced Magurina’s “large breasts”—said that the requirements are an incentive to get healthy, not a penalty.
Aeroflot, 51%-owned by the Russian government, distanced itself from Danilin and Krichevsky on Tuesday, stating that they took part in the press conference “on their own initiative” and were “expressing their personal opinions.”
The Guardian reports that Aeroflot’s public council—five women and 20 men—is intended is to “[explain] Aeroflot’s positions to a wide audience.”
Aeroflot’s 11-person management board and its 11-person board of directors are made up entirely of men, which is—shockingly—quite common in Russia. A 2013 PwC survey of female business leaders there found that 49% of their companies had zero female board members.
Once the Soviet national airline, Aeroflot has recently taken steps to modernize by acquiring new planes and improving its customer service, but Tuesday’s press conference sent it speeding backward in time.
Gina Miller, the financier who successfully brought the U.K. government to court over Article 50, yesterday launched a new campaign called Best for Britain to support candidates of all parties who would resist a “hard” Brexit. The effort is one of several tactical voting initiatives that have emerged to push back against Theresa May’s Conservative majority government. But with just six weeks until the vote, the campaigns are still evaluating which candidates to back.
Ambush in Amiens
French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron yesterday visited with union bosses of a Whirlpool factory in Amiens, France to talk about retraining workers. The facility is set to cut nearly 290 jobs. Sensing an opportunity, rival Marine Le Pen made an unscheduled visit to the factory gate to tell workers that free trade was to blame for France’s de-industrialization. Hours later, Macron showed up at the gate to engage with workers, and—it seems—to ensure he wasn’t upstaged by his opponent.
The wait for water
While Kenya is one of the more developed nations in Africa, only 63% of Kenyans live in areas with easy access to water. In rural areas, where men are often occupied tending to livestock, women and girls ensure their communities can survive by walking an average of six hours to collect water. A new initiative from NGO World Vision has installed boreholes and pipelines in the area, drastically reducing the time and labor women put into fetching water, and creating opportunities for them to channel their attention toward education and community projects.
Departing from dad
Ivanka Trump broke with her father on the topic of the refugee crisis in an interview with NBC News. Asked whether solving the crisis meant opening America’s doors to Syrian refugees, Trump replied: “That has to be part of the discussion, but that’s not going to be enough in and of itself.” Trump spoke from Germany, which she visited on the invitation of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has a more welcoming refugee policy.
Out of the OAS
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez announced that her country would begin a two-year process of withdrawing from the Organization of American States, the world’s oldest regional diplomatic body. Rodriguez said President Nicolás Maduro had decided to leave the organization after a majority of its members agreed on a resolution regarding Venezeula’s collapsing economy and civil unrest. “Behind this coalition of countries is a sight set on our sovereignty and the pretension to intervene, and that can never be allowed to happen,” Rodriguez said.
Elle Magazine‘s Linda Tirado is spending the rest of 2017 traveling around the U.S. to understand why women voted for Trump. In her first dispatch, she reports on her conversations with women from Nevada, Georgia, and Oregon, writing, “I’d expected to find anger and status anxiety driving their votes. What I found instead was fear and misinformation… We have to grapple with the flow of information in our society. We aren’t all starting with the same facts, and if there is any one thing that will kill this nation, it’s refusing to recognize and remedy that.”
Coming home again
Phan Phan-Gillis, an American businesswoman detained during a work trip to China in 2015, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to three and a half years in prison by a Chinese court on Tuesday. Authorities have reportedly issued a deportation order that should allow Phan-Gillis to return to the U.S. “very soon,” according to her lawyer.
Hundreds of female activists sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to defuse military tensions on the Korean peninsula. The women leaders hail from over 40 nations, including North and South Korea. In their letter, they call on Trump to negotiate a peace treaty to formally end the Korean War, which has technically remained an active conflict even though fighting stopped after the 1953 ceasefire.
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