Why does airline security need to know if I’m male or female?

I’m increasingly irked at the number of times I’m asked to check boxes that say “male” or “female.” Sometimes, there’s a rationale. My university tracks this information in order to see how we’re complying with gender equity rules. This makes sense to me. Other times, such as my driver’s license, it makes no sense. Nor can I figure out why it matters to US airline security. According to CNN, “many air travelers will be asked their birth dates and genders when making airline reservations….It’s the latest “publicly visible” expansion of Secure Flight, a program that transfers responsibility for checking air passengers’ identities from the airlines to the federal government.” The full story is here.

The Glamour of a Real Stomach


I learned from Broadsheet about the above photo in Glamour Magazine, which has prompted a groundswell of positive reactions, and even prompted Glamour’s editor to say this shows a huge demand for real-looking women, which they plan to meet. Broadsheet is skeptical about whether this represents the beginning of a real change. I tend to think that change is slow, but it’s got to be a move in the right direction. Let’s hope they follow it up with women who differ in *lots* of ways from the usual models.

We knew this already but…

…the Observer provides some up to date statistics on the dismal underrepresentation of women in top FTSE 350 jobs in the UK (perhaps useful for the start of term if you want to present your feminist philosophy class with some empirical stuff on gender inequality).

I found interesting the tactic Harriet Harman is using to press for more equal representation:

A company in the grip of the old-boy network is never going to be successful in the modern world. If they can’t see half the population as worthy of a say, then they are in the grip of structural prejudice. What does it say about a company that they have an all-male board? It is backward-looking and old-fashioned.”

Bad on the gender equality front = bad PR.