Saturday, March 15, 2008

how to hire a woman, 1943


Unlike the Good Wife's Guide which circulated a few years ago, but proved fabricated using a 1957 cover of John Bull magazine (cut & paster unwittingly left in the Advertising Archives legend, identifying its source) this testament to outdated societal attitudes towards women is real. It's an article that ran in a magazine with the catchy title Mass Transportation, July 1943 issue. It addressed male supervisors suddenly faced with a female workforce after men were recruited for World War II. I especially love the last bit of advice which suggests working women are happiest in tight-fitting uniforms. (Thanks, TKR, for the find.)

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 employee 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 employee 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.


5 comments:

dearjanesample said...

you know I bet you they still have "memos" like this, with titles like
"How to hire an Asian" or
"How to hire an new immigrant" or some such shit.

Auntie Christ said...

Damn, this is pure Gold. That's why I've always had so much trouble with female coworkers, they weren't beefy enough to be even-tempered (No. 3).

Remember that this was only 50 or so years after women went to the doctor to be masturbated to alleviate their nervousness.

Ad Broad, oldest working writer in advertising said...

You mean like this one, Jane?

Oh, the miracles of modern medicine men, Auntie.

Auntie Christ said...

I don't know if Cobra would cover this:

http://victoriansexmachine.blogspot.com/2007/04/female-hysteria.html

joker said...

There are a few that I think were left out.

12. Pay women in food and detergents. If you cut down the time it takes for her to get the household items she'd probably spend the money on any way, you get a more efficient worker.

13. Do not beat a female worker with something larger than an average male arm or lesser than the average measurement from the palm to the tip of the index finger.

14. Have menstruating women do strenuous demolition work. They are perfectly capable of this type of work and respond well to occasional offerings of Cacao.

15. Have all female employees work braless with white shirts during peak heat hours.


You gotta love men right? Oh wait, you don't? I didn't think so. I'm so glad I'm not gay. Seriously, I'd go straight with the variety of assholes one comes in contact with on a daily basis.