Friday, February 15, 2008

It could be worse...

It's been a helluva week. I have been trying to get things to a point where I can leave work for a week in order to concentrate on my MBA final project. Doing my own job and that of my boss has meant this has been some task. It's been somewhat hectic. The hours have been somewhat long. It has been somewhat stressful and now I am somewhat tired. Still, it could be worse. It could be 1943.

I got the following sent to me at work. A male colleague thought it was hilarious, as did I. How silly that men were so blind and stupid for so long that they ignored the value of half the world's population! Equality has come a long way. It still has far to go but let's not get into that right now.

The following is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine. This was very serious at the time of publication and written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II, a mere 64 years ago!

There is 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:

1. Pick young married women. They usually have more of a sense of responsibility than their unmarried sisters. They are less likely to be flirtatious. They need the work, or they would not 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 is 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 that 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 daylong schedule of duties so that they will 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 cannot 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 will 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 cannot be stressed too much in keeping women happy.


WendyWings said...

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.

Too bleeding right mate !!
Michele sent me to say hello today, I am glad she did.

craziequeen said...

I sent that to my boss - no news yet on whether he has ripped his stitches laughing......
but my Big Boss loved it! :-))


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Man, how far we have come....

Kristi Mantoni said...

We've come a long way, baby!

Beckie said...

Wow....WOW! We have come a long way, but I just can't get over the fact so much of this applies to men now. Some of them are such finicky bas...fellas!

kenju said...

That list is sexist! A doctor's exam of feminine parts to weed out those who are weak in that area? Good Lord, the person who wrote that would be drummed off the planet now!

craziequeen said...

"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."

[howls with laughter] "husky"!!

Michele sent me back to pick out my favouites for special attention!


Sleepypete said...

Just shows how much things have changed ...

Still waiting for the old boy dinosaur network to retire before the attitudes will really wear off.

It was a shame though in my first year in Electronic Engineering at uni, we only had about 5 girls in our class of 80 ish. It's not so much inequality that drives the ratio in certain workplaces, it can be the interest too ...

Need more recognition of individual talent, less typecasting. Typecasting puts people in pigeonholes where they're not likely to be happy with what they're doing.

Michele sent me this time :-)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL, LOL...Oh Good God! Did you realize we were such "Problems"? LOL! It is scary to think this was not that long ago....! Well, we ceretainly need to be handled with care, THAT'S for sure! And that "strong" lsnguagr...Please....This is Hilarious and sad, too! OY!

rashbre said...

You are right that things have moved on.

I noticed in WH Smiths that nowadays there is a manual from the well known and reliable Haynes (who make the massive series of car and motorcycle repair manuals) entitled "Woman", with relevant instructions within.


panthergirl said...

OMG.... sounds like instructions for dealing with cattle or something.

I'd like to say that we've come a long way, but the fact is that even though these things are not stated openly, they are still core beliefs in some people (men and women alike).

I love the part about strong language. Fucking hilarious.

(Sorry, couldn't resist!)

Here by way of michele, and I'm always delighted to visit!

Dianne said...

Wow! I didn't know John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney had collaberated on a manual!

And they were so young - well Mike and Mitt were.

Last Girl On Earth said...

We've come so far, and yet, we still have a long way to go! I'm going to pass this on to some of my hard working women friends for a giggle. Always enjoy my visits here. Thanks to Michele for sending me here today.

Carmi said...

Old-think like that scares the heck out of me - especially because in this supposed modern era, I've had the misfortune to work with some men who probably thought fecal matter like this was perfectly fine.

Michele wanted me to let you know she shares my disdain for such forms of discrimination and outright stupidity.

Roland said...

Michele sent me to consider with you, the amazingly naive, outdated & outlandish ideas corporations had back then...
Of course, I could share some equally ridiculous notions the corporation I am employed by still has, such as that calling 'mandatory overtime' 'Extended extra time' will somehow make it more palatable to the employees.

Smiler said...

Gosh, could that manual have been more patronizing toward women?? Good thing things have changed because I would definitely NOT have been okay to live in that kind of society. And to think there are still plenty of place where women are treated no better than 2nd class citizens.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the attitude was wrong BUT try to put this advice in context. There was no web, no tv, many homes in rural areas had no electricity. It was an insular world. A teaching certificate or nursing credential required 2 years of half-day highschool, (10th grade),concurrent with apprenticeship. Many girls were lucky to make it to 6th grade before they had to work or help on the farm. Superstition ran rampant. Marriage at 15 was common. Conception control did not exist. Women felt it was their lot to suffer and "go to death's door" to bear children. The role models in movies and radio drama reinforced fainting, hysteria etc---hence the term "soap opera". Doctors kept 'em quiet with barbituates or worse. Older women had grown up in an even more insular society with fewer options and more constraints related to "what people will think".

The guys didn't have it so good either. In the military, life was no bed of roses. The guys on the home front would be attacked as "4-
F" unfit for service, even tho they had no control over physical infirmities. Bullying and stereotyping made life miserable for unconventional men. Artists, intellectuals and weaklings were persecuted.

This isn't something I read or saw on tv. I was there. I was lucky and privileged, but as a lifelong peoplewatcher, I had my eyes open. Some of the Rosie the Riviter documentaries are revisionist history. It is said content is everything, but perhaps it is context that is best described that way.

Bob-kat said...

Dear Anonymous.

I get context. I do because I have studied history and because. But you seem to be missing the point of my post. The fact is that this is humorous now because the context is different, because attititudes have changed so much towards women and towards men and towards artists. The context sheds light on a past world that was more hostile to those that did not conform but it doesn't make it right.

Men who didn't go to fight in WWI in the UK were given a white feather for cowardice. Women wore corsets which were often so tight it made them faint (hence the fainting heroine), gay men and women both lived in shame and fear of being 'found out'.

My grandfather and my father were soldiers, my grandmother was a land girl, my mother was a nurse. They have all told me stories that shed much light on what it was like for them. We can learn from the past and not make the same mistakes again and if we can do that with humour, compassion and understanding then we might just make things better and not repeat those mistakes. Articles like the one I posted here help to provide that understanding.