In the 1950s, most single, white middle-class women were expected to marry and raise a family — much like their mothers before them.

But becoming a flight attendant, or a "stewardess" as they were referred to then, offered another kind of life for young women — a life of adventure.

From GBH’s "American Experience" program, the new documentary "Fly with Me" showcases the firsthand accounts of the pioneering women, who historians argue, transformed the workplace — both in the air and on the ground.

Co-director Sarah Colt describes the stewardesses featured in the film as women filled with "wanderlust," who were "interesting and engaged with pushing boundaries.

These young women were drawn to an independent life of travel and glamor. But the airlines also imposed women-only job restrictions like weigh-ins, and deliberately excluded Black women.

Under the Radar host Callie Crossley spoke with Sarah Colt, co-director of the film and Julia Cooke, author and historian, about the film and the role flight attendants played in the movement for gender equity in the workplace.


Sarah Colt, writer and co-director of "Fly With Me," an "American Experience" documentary and GBH production

Julia Cooke, author and historian featured in "Fly With Me"