On 15 July 2022, Singapore Airlines decided to let go of “virgin stewardesses”.
According to an article by The Straits Times, the world’s best airline published a circular announcing a change to longstanding policy which would allow expectant cabin crew to remain employed during and after pregnancy. Previously, pregnant flight attendants would be placed on unpaid leave and forced to quit once the child’s birth was registered.
Whether the decision is a progressive policy shift or a reflection of tough labour conditions is not clear. But the policy change has generated discussion around the place of the iconic “Singapore girl” in the modern world.
It provides a fascinating insight into the clash of cultures that Singapore so vividly represents: a modern Western approach to education and work, combined with traditional family values around the roles of women and mothers. It’s a clash many young Asian Australians know well.
This is a story about children and choice. This is a story about modern problems in an old world.