In 2005 airlines such as Air New Zealand and Qantas were found to have a policy that children and teenagers who are unaccompanied by parents or caregivers cannot sit next to men. Air New Zealand spokesman David Jamieson said the company had no intention of reviewing the policy and admitted that it had been in place for many years.British Airways also has the same policy which was revealed in 2001.
Ex Feminist leader of the Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro stated “children’s safety is paramount and she commends the airline for putting thought into how it can keep children safe.” Interestingly, her feminist ideology states that men cannot be trusted with children and they should not be encouraged to have a position of trust around children.
In return a number of men spoke up against the policy including politicians.
Michael Irwin, a former school principal and now senior lecturer at Massey University’s College of Education, says the policy adopted by Air New Zealand and Qantas sent a “misleading message” that men were uncaring when it came to young children.
“It’s saying to society that it’s not men’s role to be involved with their children or any children and that’s ridiculous,” he said.
Mr Irwin said such policies could cause men to feel alienated from schools, childcare centres and nursing, and were also harmful to the wider society, which would miss out on male involvement.
“If a child falls down and hurts themselves. . . is a man supposed to stand around until a woman can be found to help?
“I believe it sends a signal to children: ‘don’t trust a man’.”
The director of the Centre for Public Policy at Massey University, Stuart Birks, said the ban was “a clear case of discrimination with no obvious rational basis”.
It was as “pointless and ridiculous” as discriminating against passengers on grounds of race, religious belief, or appearance, he said.
“Would they have a policy of not seating children next to Maori passengers, or skinheads or Muslims? or only male Maori, skinheads and Muslims?”
The story also featured on TV One Close Up. Susan Wood read out part of an e-mail by MRA Darryl Ward:
“Several months ago, I was sitting on the train on the way home from work. A schoolgirl had been bullied by another girl, and was now sitting in the stairwell crying.
As the father of two daughters, I instinctively wanted to go and comfort her and make sure that she was alright. Looking around the carriage, I could see that many other men, who were obviously fathers, wanted to do the same.
However we knew we could not publicly follow our natural instinct that we had as fathers to protect children.
Much like those few remaining male primary school teachers who are afraid to close their classroom doors, we knew we couldn’t go near her, because of the reprehensible belief of a few that men in general are a danger to children”.
Last year I wrote a complaint to the Human Rights Commission where Air New Zealand came back with the answer that they would only be interested in dealing with me if I had been affected personally on one of their flights. Not much chance of that since I am not a male. The policy doesn’t affect women (yet).
Anyways, at present one man in the UK is suing British Airlines for discrimination while he was on a flight. I hope he wins.
Mr Fischer, a 33-year-old hedge fund manager, became aware of the policy while he was flying from Gatwick with his wife Stephanie, 30.
His wife, who was six months pregnant, had booked a window seat which she thought would be more spacious. Mr Fischer was in the middle seat between her and a 12-year-old boy.
Shortly after all passengers had sat down, having stowed their bags in the overhead lockers, a male steward asked Mr Fischer to change his seat.
Mr Fischer refused, explaining that his wife was pregnant, at which point the steward raised his voice, causing several passengers to turn round in alarm. He warned that the aircraft could not take off unless Mr Fischer obeyed.
Mr Fischer eventually moved seats but felt so humiliated by his treatment that he is taking the airline to court on the grounds of sex discrimination-He is paying all his own legal
If he wins at the hearing next month at Slough County Court, BA will have to change its policy.
He has promised to donate any compensation to the NSPCC.
One of the comments made was from another man, Rigger, from Western Australia, who experienced the same discrimination.
I normally disapprove of people who sue at the drop of a hat for being ‘offended’ but I truly hope that Mirko Fischer wins his case and drags the airline through the mire.
On boarding an internal flight in Australia just before Christmas I was settled into my window seat in a row of 3 seats. The adjacent seats were empty and a family boarded. They were having trouble finding seats together for the children. A steward was about to usher two of the children into the vacant seats next to me, then noticed me sitting there and changed his mind as if he’d realised that he was about to make a ‘mistake’ and horror of horrors seat the children next to A MAN !!!
The irony is that some of the worst cases of child abuse that have occurred in recent months have been committed by women. But that fact doesn’t suit the agenda here.
Wikipedia History is worth a read.