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Flight Attendant Anniversary Highlights Evolution Of Profession

AFA Honors First Flight Attendant Ellen Church

Eight-two years ago, on May 15th, 1930, Ellen Church became the first flight attendant to be hired by an airline. In recognition of the event, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) International President Veda Shook issued a statement honoring the first "skygirl."

"On May 15, 1930, Ellen Church, a young registered nurse, first suggested the idea of 'skygirls' to executives at Boeing airlines and became the world's first flight attendant. Those skygirls, who later would be called flight attendants, had to be registered nurses, retire at the age of 32, remain single and adhere to a strict set of limitations regarding weight and appearance.

"Today, over 80 years later, we stand on the shoulders of the profession Ellen Church created. Our occupation has evolved into a valued and respected career. From the glamour girl image to our struggle for equality and recognition of our responsibilities as first responders and safety professionals, the flight attendant profession led the charge for advancing equality issues and breaking through the stereotypes traditionally attached to the definition of femininity. The history of theflight attendant profession is dynamic, colorful and compelling.

"Just as Ellen Church paved the way for the hundreds of thousands of flight attendants across the globe who followed in her footsteps, AFA led the charge for the advancement of our profession. AFA has worked to defend flight attendants' interests by adding their voice to those of government and industry in the regulatory and legislative processes and by negotiating collective bargaining agreements that improve compensation and working conditions.

"In a demanding industry that presents continuous challenges to the flight attendant profession, AFA's work is far from over. Today we remain focused on improving conditions for flight attendants and as we have for over six decades, we will continue to evolve according to the needs of our members."

FMI: www.afacwa.org

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