Seen and Heard
How Women Were Hired in 1943
Were pre-war HR policies totally sexist or spot-on?
I recently received an e-mail forward containing the 1943 Guide to Hiring Women. Upon reading it, I immediately thought, This is ridiculous! How archaic! I deemed it unworthy of further attention.
But when I took a second look at the guide, I realized some of the ideas – when applied to both sexes – are not so outdated, and perhaps they were even ahead of their time.
Marital status, appearance and age still matter in the hiring of women and men, particularly in determining their sense of responsibility – depending, of course, on the nature of the work. For example, some companies prefer attractive young people in sales. Others might eschew hiring an overtly attractive person for fear of sexual harassment suits or even just ruining office dynamics.
And women do need “special” physicians. We certainly don’t require them to check our pulse on the hour, but how great would it be if “women’s benefits” included massage therapists and personal trainers, as well ob-gyn care and cancer screenings? And wouldn’t it be lovely if there really were company-prescribed rest periods? Even uniforms – think how that would simplify your morning routine!
And then there are varied responsibilities, being tactful when giving instructions, working in a timely manner and watching harsh language – how I would LOVE that in today’s working world.
What do you think of the 1943 guidelines?