Get Shouty

Danger! Women At Work
January 31, 2008, 5:00 am
Filed under: Get Activist

1943 Guide to Hiring Women:The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II.

It’s caused quite a bit of chat in the office:

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. Here are eleven helpful tips on the subject from western properties:

1. If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it — maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.

2. When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress upon older women the importance of friendliness and courtesy.

3. While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that “husky” girls — those who are just a little on the heavy side — are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.

4. Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination — one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.

5. In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time — the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.

6. Give the female employe in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’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 out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work themselves.

7. Whenever possible, let the inside employe change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.

8. Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowances for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.

9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman — it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.

10. Be reasonably 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 where she hears too much of this.

11. Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.


11 Comments so far
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Story of my life… 🙂

Comment by Paul McEnany

This is all very strange. My girlfriend would have a fit if she saw this. Sometimes, it’s a little bit difficult to imagine a time when women were really underestimated and were deemed less capable of performing well at the office. Then again, many women all over the world still have problems concerning basic necessities like food, water and shelter. It seems that women empowerment has yet to reach full circle.

Comment by Jay, writer

i love the bit which encourages adequate rest breaks – not just as basic health, but in order to freshen up hair, make up or uniform.. 🙂

Comment by lauren

@Paul I’m sure your uniform fits you nice and snug.

@Jay I agree. I’d have to say it’s not really difficult ‘to imagine a time’.

@Lauren- there’s just so much gold there: point three is a bit of a favourite, but the “breaking in women” line on point five is pretty hard to beat.

Comment by katiechatfield

[…] Get Shouty: Danger! Women At Work! A 1943 Guide to Hiring Women, from Transportation Magazine. Scans of the original can be found at snopes [caution, pop-ups and […]

Pingback by “Older women […] are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy.” at Hoyden About Town

As with all history you have to consider the context of 1943, not the modern eyes of 2008

Comment by to days to come

[…] Via Get Shouty: Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees […]

Pingback by Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » 1943 Guide to Hiring Women, published in Transportation Magazine (UK)

[…] lesson, I’d like to direct your attention to the Transportation Magazine(1943) article “Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency out of Women’s Employees,” posted over at the blog Get […]

Pingback by Women’s history in the workplace « SchizoFrenetic

While we are frothing at the mouth take a look at the cover photo. The woman recieving instruction are being trained by a woman, some one who has be trained to do the job. This may have been the break though piont for many of your grand mothers or greatgrand mothers. There are more than enoughthing to get upset about in that time period, corpral punishment, Dr. Spock,the misshandeling of anything by govenment departments. Why not focus on getting things right now instead of things 57 years old that can not be changed.

Comment by Judso

ahhh…things my Dad says….

The image and the text were unrelated (I found the image on Flickr)

I don’t think anyone is ‘frothing’ here…but I do think it’s interesting to see how far we’ve come….

Comment by katiechatfield

Simply desired to express I’m just relieved that i stumbled on your web page.

Comment by Learn More Here

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