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On my way to Europe, I Noticed The Changing Face of Air Travel

GEM Creative Writing Intern, Mishal Dar, travelled to Europe this summer with her family. In this week’s blog she investigated first hand if the air travel industry is still stuck in stereotypical gender roles, or is it changing?

Summer travelling. That special vacation time when everything imaginable goes into the suitcase and anticipation of hotel room service and warm beach sand becomes unbearable. The destination is all well and good, but the airport in between caught my attention as well.

The last time I travelled on an airplane I noticed that there were far more female flight attendants than male. I’m pleased to report that this time around I not only noticed a more even split, but was able to chat with a female flight attendant to get a firsthand account of the situation.

Stella Vantendelo, a bubbly and sweet blonde, told me that she had always wanted to become a flight attendant because, as a child, she had admired the pretty uniforms. When asked whether she thought there were more female flight attendants than male she responded that her airline has made recent changes to encourage more gender equality, and that she has noticed an increase in male flight attendants since. Looking around, I could verify that statement as the cabin crew in my plane were an even split between female and male attendants.

GEM Creative Writing Intern Mishal Dar with flight attendant Stella Vantendelo. (photo: Mishal Dar)
GEM Creative Writing Intern Mishal Dar with flight attendant Stella Vantendelo. (photo: Mishal Dar)

It feels good knowing that certain airlines have finally awoken to the realization that they had been perpetuating the stereotype of being served by a woman. Opening up the job of flight attendant to males not only helps to eradicate this stereotype but it also creates gender equality in the workplace. With this promising discovery at the airport, I was able to start my vacation with a little hope for the future.

Design Your Life: How to beat laziness this summer!

Two months of no school means no homework to complete, no tests to study for, and no group projects to stress over. However, summer can also be the reason we become lazy. I was worried that I might slip into laziness this summer, so I made a great plan to live my summer to the fullest! Here are my tips to beat   summer laziness and make the most of summer!

Apply for a job – I applied for a job in the spring and I’m working with Toronto Youth Leadership at a Summer Camp for 3-5 year olds. I find that having a job helps improve my time-management, communication and leadership skills. It’s also encouraging me to be social.

Earn volunteer hours – Volunteering at small or big events helps you meet new people and learn new things. My fellow GEM intern Vanessa Mugoa is volunteering all over the city at local events like Luminato, The Fringe Festival and the PanAm Games, she’s learning and having new experiences that are contributing to a fabulous memory filled summer. So check for events happening around your neighbourhood to volunteer at. I’m volunteering with both GEM and FranqGirl as a Creative Writer, and it’s keeping me on my toes.

Make plans with friends – I have made lots of plans with my friends this summer to help get me outside and go to places without the worry of having to go to school the next day. There is so much happing in Toronto this summer, so making plans to go to events together that are happening around the city and in your neighbourhood is turning out to be one of the best parts of summer.

Take a trip –  Travelling opens your mind and gives you the opportunity to explore a new place with new people. Whether you go to Quebec City or Australia, there is always something to see.

Be Fearless! – I’m not going to let the next two months off go to waste by not learning something new about myself. Whether it’s through my job, my volunteer work or the travel I’m planning. The only way to grow is to put yourself out there, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.
I hope sharing my plan to beat laziness helps you to have an extraordinary summer of growth and happiness! Do you have any tips on how to get the most out of summer? All of us here at GEM would love to hear them!

Selina McCallum is a GEMgirl in the 2014/15 cohort,  student at Marc Garneau C.I. and a Digital Journalism Intern for GEM.


According to the World Health Organization, food security exists “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. This summer, I had a life changing opportunity to travel to rural India with Me to We. My trip was funded through the Potashcorp Food Security Youth scholarship.

What I saw in India was like nothing I had ever imagined; from the cows in the streets to the hollering rickshaw drivers, it was quite an experience! The bustling streets of the city Udaipur did not move me, but I was definitely changed by the children and community in the village of Kalthana. Our work in this village included planting a school garden, repairing existing infrastructure on school grounds, visiting farmers, and learning the impact of Free the Children’s work in the area. Although there was a language barrier, there was one phrase I learned very well – “dhanya wad” which means “thank you”.

From a traditional prayer ceremony before we began working on a build site, to visiting one of the biggest Jain temples around, experiencing the culture was one of the highlights of my trip.

Going to India has not only opened my eyes to a new culture, it has made me more passionate about global activism. If I could give advice to anybody considering volunteering abroad, I would say, “do not hesitate for a second” it has truly changed the way I see the world.

Interested in food security? Find out more about the PotashCorp Food Security Youth Trip:  PotashCorp Youth Trip Scholarship 

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