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February 12, 2008

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. As you read through them, try to honestly think if these suggestions are all that far off…

Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees

Transportation Magazine

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.

Women in Ammunition Plant

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.

The article quoted above is indeed real. It was written by one L.H. Sanders and appeared under the title “Eleven Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees” in the July 1943 edition of Mass Transportation magazine.

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3 comments

  • At 9:37 am on February 13, 2008, Ani commented:

    Well, I’m not married OR “husky” which makes me a bad bet as far as hiring women in the work force goes! Makes me want to “vociferously” complain!!!!

    [Reply]

  • At 12:12 pm on February 14, 2008, DinkyInky commented:

    It’s way off…at least where my circle of friends are concerned.

    We gave up swearing with childbirth, but before then…

    We generally gave the bosses a list of things we found to do to keep busy after their jobs ran out…

    We were all very slim in our youth, outperformed most of the football players that they hired for the same jobs…

    They still don’t get the right sizes in uniforms(usually two sizes too big)…

    The married women were more flirtatious than we were–and didn’t care who knew it.

    The heavier women were “bitchy” 9 out of 10 times(there were a few wonderful ones, but most of the time…*shudder*)…

    We’d much rather have frequent bathroom breaks for “that time”, and frequent water cooler breaks(to keep hydrated and fit), both sorely lacking in most of the modern employers of today…

    [Reply]

  • At 4:37 pm on February 15, 2008, Kristi commented:

    Speaking as a “husky” girl, I am NOT even-tempered…not after reading this anyway! LOL

    We’ve come a long way baby!

    [Reply]

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