We’ve come a long way, baby. When I say we, I mean you, men.
Transportation Magazine published an article in 1943 titled “Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees.”
The throes of WWII caused a shortage of males and companies needed to backfill their work force with the dreaded female of the species. Some Neanderthal wrote the article in the Dark Ages. I know, I know . . . Neanderthals didn’t live in the Dark Ages.
I canceled my subscription to the magazine after I read the article.
In short, the ever-so-helpful advice on how to manage female employees is thusly:
Pick young married women. They are less flirtatious and still have the pep and energy to work hard.
When you have to use older women, hire ones who have worked outside the home. Older women who haven’t been in contact with the public are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy.
“Husky” girls – those who are on the heavy side – are more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
Retain a doctor to give women “special” examinations to reveal whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses that would make her physically or mentally unfit for the job.
In breaking in women who haven’t done outside work, stress the importance of time. Until this point is made, service will be slowed up.
Give female employees a definite schedule of duties for the day so they will keep busy without bothering management every few minutes. Women make excellent workers when the job is spelled out for them, but lack initiative in finding work themselves.
When possible, let the female employee change from one job to another during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and are happy with change.
Give every girl adequate rest periods during the day. She will have more confidence and consequently be more efficient if she has time to tidy her hair, freshen her lipstick, and wash her hands several times a day.
Be tactful in issuing instructions or criticisms. Women can’t shrug off harsh words like men do. Never ridicule. It breaks their spirit and makes them less efficient.
Be considerate about using strong language around women. Their husbands and fathers may swear vociferously, but she will dislike the company if she hears too much of this.
Get enough size variety when ordering uniforms. This can’t be stressed enough in keeping women happy.
Are you freaking kidding me? I didn’t make this up. Head over to Snopes to check it out.
Since I haven’t had time to tidy my hair, freshen my lipstick, and wash my hands several times today, I feel cantankerous and fussy. I’d like to sic Rosie the Riveter on the numbskull who wrote the article.
Fast forward to 1951, IBM, that bastion of women’s lib, the right to vote, and bra burning, issued this memo:
The forward-thinking execs at IBM had the sense to make it a “temporary modification” to their employment policies. Yeah . . . married women on the staff might not work out and IBM was smart to give themselves the opportunity to renege.