A tribunal has been told British Airways' employment policy "excludes" female pilots.
Pilot Jessica Starmer has a one-year old daughter
Pilot Jessica Starmer had asked to work 50% part-time to look after her one-year-old daughter with her pilot husband, but BA rejected her request.
She told the hearing: "BA's lack of accommodation for working mothers works to exclude females from its pilots."
BA, which offered Ms Starmer a 75% part-time arrangement, says it will fight the case.
Ms Starmer added that such practices seek "to reinforce, rather than reform, the traditional male dominance in its workforce".
Ms Starmer, a co-pilot who joined BA in May 2001, wanted to work 50% part-time.
She and her husband worked "extremely irregular" shift patterns, which meant very early starts, late finishes and overnight stays abroad which made childcare difficult.
The way the BA work roster was organised made it difficult for the couple to arrange their shifts so one of them was always free to care for their young child.
Ms Starmer told the hearing: "It was clear to me that following my daughter's birth, I would not be able to return to work full-time.
"This was due to a combination of factors, but in particular the nature of the BA shifts meant that I could not look after Beth on any other basis other than 50% part-time work."
"I have spent many years flying at every opportunity and have invested a great deal of time and effort working towards being able to earn my living through the activity I love."
She added: "I do not want to have to give up the job I have always wanted to do and worked so hard for."
The tribunal, at Watford, is expected to last most of the week.