No, this is not a joke. Well, it is, but this story is actually real. This was on the evening news just now …
One of the Norwegian airports, Sola, had the brilliant idea to add a “men only” queue at the security checkpoint. Why? Well, obviously, men carry less stuff. So why have all these women slow down the queue for them? No, let’s try a more Saudi Arabian approach: one queue for each gender!
This airport has often struggled with hours long queues according to the airport management. They are therefore looking for ways to make the security check more efficient. So they had this brilliant idea.
They only separate men and women at the queue near to, and through the checkpoint. They actually had a security guy just doing that. Very efficient. The queue leading up to this area was apparently the same for all. Still, both the security guy and the men interviewed said the “men only” queue was faster. Which, as far as I can figure out, means that the women’s queue would be slower as there are only women in it. Assuming that the women-are-slower-than-men argument holds in the first place. But hey, who cares if women have to wait even longer? Make things better for the men, and the problem is as good as solved really. Right?
One of the men in the queue said to the reporter:
I feel very privileged. It’s great that we can have something that is for men only too. *
Ooo, good one …
Another one said:
This is brilliant. It’s a lot faster. *
Naturally, a lot of women didn’t find this idea quite as “brilliant”. The ones interviewed were not amused, and the airport have received numerous complaints throughout the day. What’s even more mind boggling than the idea itself is that both the airport manager, and the majority of male commenters on the online article about this, seem baffled that there was a problem with this idea at all. My favourite comment is the one starting with “Hysterical women …”.
Another argument used by the airport management was that male passengers needed to be checked by male security officers, and female passengers by female security officers. That’s fine, but there is absolutely no need for two queues for that. I’ve been through numerous security checks in the US. They are much more thorough and time consuming than over here, and they manage to have men check the men and women check the women just fine. The management says they have fewer female security officers than male ones, which is another reason why it takes women longer to pass through. Yeah, well, then look into fixing that perhaps?
In any case, this practice lasted no longer than its first day. The Department of Equality and Anti-discrimination received a number of complaints, and consequently contacted the airport management. They are stating on their website that this practice is most likely illegal according to Norwegian equality laws. The airport manager in charge, Stig Jone Nevland, has now announced that the new system has been dropped as of 7pm tonight. He continues:
I still claim that our intentions were good, but then there was all this negative focus on this. We at Avinor don’t want people to think we’re discriminating, that’s not what we want to be known for. *
I hear yah! This was really a good idea, but since all these uppity women put a negative spin on it, Avinor, the company running the airports, was in danger of getting accused of discrimination. Yeah, it’s not like it was something you guys did … not at all. If these women in the queues had kept their mouths shut, there wouldn’t have been a problem. Geez …
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* All quotes are translated from Norwegian to English as accurately as possible. The source article and news report can be found here.
Warning: This post may contain traces of sarcasm. Not recommended for the sarcasm-impaired.