Monday, February 21, 2005

You've come a long way, baby!

My daughter-unit sent me this email, which was forwarded from a friend who forwarded it to a friend who forwarded it to a friend. My, oh my, how time's have changed.



I immediately did some research on the topic of working women. When the United States entered the Second World War, "Rosie the Riveter" became the symbol for women workers in the American defense industries. The diversion of men from the labor pool into the military, as well as the increased production needed to support the war effort, prompted the federal War Manpower Commission and the Office of War Information to undertake a nationwide campaign to recruit women into the labor force.

From 1940 to 1945, the number of female workers rose by 50 percent, from 12 million to 18 million. In 1940, women constituted 8 percent of total workers employed in the production of durable goods. By 1945, this number increased to 25 percent.

During the war years, women became streetcar conductors, taxicab drivers, business managers, commercial airline checkers, aerodynamic engineers, and railroad workers. Women operated machinery, streetcars, buses, cranes, and tractors. They unloaded freight, built dirigibles and gliders, worked in lumber mills and steel mills, and made munitions. In essence, women occupied almost every aspect of industry.

Is it any wonder then that this new workforce had different needs?

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. It is a guide for hiring women. This was serious and written for male supervisors of women in the workforce during World War II - a mere 62 years ago! Obviously, the intent was not to be funny but, by today's standards, this is pretty hilarious! For those of you with efficiency issues, scroll down to #8.

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 know 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 also 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.


Wait, isn't this still true? I better get a memo out to our HR department right away, after all, if it's good enough for the war effort, it's good enough for me. I just have to make sure that my compatriot, code name: Desdemona, doesn't have any issues with #2. Mrs. Stomps With Foot will probably make a remark or two to me about this posting, but I think it deserves to be promoted reprinted, for old time's sake.