EgyptAir stewardesses begin wearing hijab

Women working in television and at EgyptAir had campaigned for permission to wear the hijab. Photo / AFP
Women working in television and at EgyptAir had campaigned for permission to wear the hijab. Photo / AFP

EgyptAir stewardesses who campaigned to wear the Muslim headscarf have begun donning the hijab for the first time since the national carrier was founded in 1932, a company official says.

The first flight attendants dressed in the hijab, which mainstream clerics say is mandatory, worked on flights to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Under president Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in an uprising in early 2011, the hijab was taboo for women in some state institutions such as public television and the national carrier.

But after the election of the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in June, women in television and EgyptAir campaigned for permission to wear the hijab, like most Muslim women in Egypt.

The company had agreed to allow the stewardesses to wear the hijab after a strike by cabin crew in September that also demanded better pay.

An EgyptAir official said a foreign company has been contracted to design a cap and headscarf for the estimated 250 stewardesses who want to wear the hijab, out of 900 women working for EgyptAir.

In September, an anchorwoman was the first woman to appear on state television wearing the scarf, which traditionally covers the hair and neck. Some more liberal women wear the hijab to cover only their hair.

- AFP

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