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Senator Gene Dornink Doesn’t Know Why He Called Pilot Laura Haynor a ‘Stewardess’—Women Do

Minnesota state senator Gene Dornink doesn't know why he called pilot Laura Haynor a “stewardess” during a recent hearing in Minneapolis, but most women probably do.

Earlier this week Minnesota legislators heard testimony regarding amendments to the state's “sick and safe time” law, which provides state employees guaranteed time off for illnesses, medical treatments, and care of family members. Furthermore, the time off also covers safety leave for employees to receive help regarding sexual assault and domestic violence, issues that disproportionately affect women.

When it was time for Haynor to provide testimony on behalf of Air Line Pilots Association International, which represents 2,400 pilots, she was met with an embarrassing blunder that reeked of casual misogyny. “My name is Laura Haynor, and I’m a Minnesota resident and a Minneapolis-based pilot for Delta Airlines,” she told lawmakers, per a recording of the proceedings.

Despite her clear and concise introduction, Dornink immediately asked Haynor to describe “what a typical workweek is like for you as a stewardess.”

Was Dornink just not listening to Haynor or was the idea of a female pilot just that unfathomable to the 61-year-old politician? After all, just 5.5% of US commercial pilots identified as women in 2021, according to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots. Neither answer would surprise me.

Dornink apologized to Haynor after she corrected his error, reiterating that she is a first officer for Delta. “I'm so sorry. I apologize,” he said. “I don't know why I said that, I'm so sorry.”

The internet has an idea. “You're a woman, so you must be a stewardess,” Minnesota's own US representative Ilhan Omar translated in an X.com post. She continued, “Let's take a moment to check our own biases and assumptions.”

Many on the internet also pointed out that misidentification wasn't Dornink's only error, considering “stewardess” is an outdated term for flight attendant.

So, yeah, misogyny is probably the reason you said that, Senator Dornink. Hope that helps.


Originally Appeared on Glamour