January 19, 2013

According To This Memo, We Have Come A Long Way Baby...

I found this article, which was originally printed in 1943. A time when our country was at war and reeling from the substantial loss of men in the American workforce. It was a time when a woman, who once had been relegated to caring for children, the home, and minding the needs of her spouse, had no choice but to step up and replace the empty chairs that were left behind by World War II soldiers.

Over the next several decades, we have continued to make strides. Mostly due to the independent and courageous women who forged a path for the rest of us to be competitive in a male dominated society. We like to think we have, as they say, "come a long way, baby." Although, sometimes I'm not so sure. The article makes absurd references to a woman's emotional state, her physical size, her level of confidence, and whether she is intellectually competent. While the article is blatantly insulting and highly condescending, I still hear similar references today. Women have clearly smacked down the barriers that have continued to plague the status quo, but I remain frustrated by the attitudes that are still perpetuated about women in general. I hear negative dialogue in the media, in the political arena, but more importantly by each other. Frankly, if women don't support other women, who will?  Because, here's the deal...men will always support other men. And if the women are too busy tearing each other down, then how can we continue to compete in a society that has historically been monopolized by our male counterparts.

My hope for the young women of today is that you seek out female influences that will propel you to be your best and most authentic self.  After all, what do you want the women in 70 years to say about the way women were portrayed in 2014...          

1943 Guide to Hiring Women

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was serious and written for male supervisors of women in the workforce during World War II.
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. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, they're less likely to be flirtatious, they need the work or they wouldn't be doing it, 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. 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.
3. General experience indicates that "husky" girls - those who are just a little on the heavy side - are 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 reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
5. 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 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 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 less nervous and happier with change.
8. 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.
9. Be tactful when issuing instructions or in making criticisms. 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 off 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's uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can't be stressed too much in keeping women happy.


  1. I really like what you wrote in the beginning and am going to recommend your blog to a couple of women I know who would appreciate it. As for the recommendations, they were kind of "cute" and funny in a very old fashioned way, but harmful to the overall cause of equality of women in the workforce. I can see my grandpas saying things like that!

  2. Sara~ Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the fact that you are passing my blog along to others. Jules

  3. I love this because it is exactly what my Mom experienced as a very young widow in the 40's. In her own sweet, but determined way she clawed herself to the top of her career choice. This was not only for my brother & me...but for her own self worth! Good for Grandma!!!!

  4. I am going to repost this on FB and Twitter, Julie. Excellent. I have a book about women and running that is absurd as well. And that was written in recent history (as in, my lifetime). Laughable! Excuse me while I go have a good cry while eating chocolate and read my fashion magazines because well, you know, I just can't handle the stress of it all....I need a man to tell me what to do today! Help!