Employing women in 1943
Yesterday a new starter commenced in our section at work - a lovely lady. Selecting a woman these days is normal, no special treatment is require when she starts. So when I came across instructions concerning the employment of women in 1943 I was very amused!
- Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters. They are less likely to be flirtatious - they need to work or they wouldn't be doing it.
- When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some point in their lives. Older women who have never contacted the public have a hard time adapting themselves and are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It's always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
- General expereince indicates the "husky" girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are more even tempered and efficient then their under weight sisters.
- Stress at the outset the importance of time the fact that a minutes or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
- Given the female employee a definite day-long schedule of duties so that they'll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut our for them but they they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
- Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at sometime during the day. Women are inclined to be less nervous and happier with change.
- Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. You have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
- Be tactful when issuing instructions or making criticism. Women are often sensitive, they can't shrug off harsh words the way men do. Never ridicule a woman - it breaks her spirit and cuts of her efficiency.
- Be reasonable considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl's husband or father may swear vociferously, she'll grow to dislike a place of business swhere she hears too much of this.
- Retain a physician to give each woman you a hire a special physical examination - one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit, but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
What can I say - I doubt these male employers who wrote this really understood women at all. How did women run households and bring up children if they "lacked initiative in finding work themselves". And as for the last point, well, I doubt any man would have had a special male examination to see if they suffered from "mentally or physical" conditions.
I did show this to my boss and pointed out the need for "adequate number of rest periods" so I could powder my nose, he laughed at me.
By the end of the war I think most male employers knew that women were highly capable of working hard.