By Ben Wheeler
SHOCKING footage from the 1930s, showing the sexist hiring process for new air hostesses, including male doctors touching candidates’ breasts while measuring them, has resurfaced this week.
The clip, taken from a 1936 Universal Newsreel, shows applicants flying over the Golden Gate Bridge prior to a physical examination, which includes measuring and parading women in front of all male selectors.
The narrator goes on to describe the strict age requirements for the role whilst viewers see a Doctor get hands on with the women, first holding one across her chest to steady her after she had been spun around, before taking precise chest, waist and hip measurements of another.
“The rush in air travel has caused the airlines to send out a call for hostesses,” he states at the start of the video.
“Here are applicants flying over the Golden Gate prior to taking physical examination, many are called but few are chosen in this profession.
“They not only serve meals, these girls must be registered nurses, under twenty-four, and up to rigid physical requirement.
“Take this whirling test, from this United Airlines doctors can tell what conditions the girls can stand in the air.
“The pedigree of each girl is carefully noted, when the tests are finished her batting average is figured out to the decimal point.
The period in which the video was produced saw great progress in the field of aviation, with the first ever transatlantic flights being made just a few years earlier.
It also saw one of the most successful designs of this period, the Douglas DC-3, make its maiden flight on December 17, 1935.
The DC-3 became the first airliner to be profitable carrying passengers exclusively, in what was the start of the modern era of passenger airline services.
Despite the great technological advances in aviation during the 1930s, gender discrimination has persisted in the decades since.
Originally, United Airlines policy stated that female flight attendants were required to be single upon hiring and were fired if they got married, exceeded weight regulations or reached the age of 32.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that age restrictions were eliminated in the United States following a federal trial, and even longer until the no-marriage policy was eliminated throughout the airline industry in the 1980s.