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This article appeared in the winter issue of Best of Times, a magazine for senior citizens and was reprinted from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. It made me laugh, but I’m really glad that times have changed!
This is the advice given to the male supervisors who were in charge of women in the workforce during the second world war.
1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters, and they’re less likely to be flirtatious.
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.
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 possibilities of lawsuit but reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses that would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job.
5. Stress at the outset the importance of time – a minute or two lost here and there makes a serious inroad on schedules.
6. Give the female employee a definite schedule of duties so they’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them, but they lack initiative in finding work themselves.
7. Whenever possible, let the employee change from one job to another 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 operators’ uniforms so that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too much in keeping women happy.
I bet the male author of these tips never once considered that New Zealand might have a female prime minister one day. We’ve actually had two different female prime ministers and have many women members of parliament. Women can rule the world!