It took until 2016, but Qantas has finally debuted a pilot uniform tailored specifically for women.
Qantas held a runway debut of the new uniforms on Friday, drawing attention to the fact that it was the first uniform designed specifically with the airline’s growing number of women pilots in mind. Previously, women flying for Qantas wore flight attendant trousers and shirts and hats made for men.
The new uniforms, designed by Australian designer Martin Grant, are very similar to the men’s — except that they were actually designed with the female form in mind.
“It’s the first time their uniform has been addressed, because up until now they has been sort of squeezed into men’s uniforms,” Grant told Vogue Australia.
“It is a really big change,” Qantas pilot Debbie Slade told Brisbane Times. “Especially for the females, it has got a little bit of shape and it is made to fit girls rather than girls wearing a boy’s uniform.”
“I hope one day we get to 50% of our pilots being female so we will have a lot more of them,” chief executive Alan Joyce said at the uniforms’ runway debut. “We are still waiting on that but I think it is a great start.”
Qantas did not immediately respond to Mashable’s request for information on the gender make-up of their pilot force, but a figure from 2014 stated that 4.5% of Qantas’s pilots were female.
The International Society of Women Airline Pilots estimates that out of 130,000 pilots worldwide, only 4,000 are female — or about 3%.
Fittings for Qantas’ new uniform will begin in July, and all pilots will be wearing the new design by the end of the year.
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