Girl Power

An interesting news item found its way to my desk last week. Its title: “1943 Guide to Hiring Women.” Its purpose: to make me laugh. Its result: some laughter, a lot of irony and… well… this column.

The “1943 Guide to Hiring Women” originally appeared in the July 1943 issue of “Mass Transportation Magazine” when women were entering the workforce during World War II. It was reprinted (tongue in cheek), in the Fall 2007 issue of “Savvy and Sage.”

The article was passed from desk to desk at the Dickinson County News office, making its way from our (female) advertising manager to two (female) sales reps, myself, our (female) office manager, a (female) reporter, two (female) graphic artists, and finally to the desk of the lone male in the office, our sports editor who did the only thing he could do – laugh.

The guide claims to provide 11 tips to help in selecting the most efficient women available and to help use these women to the best advantage.

It suggests things such as choos- ing “husky” girls because they are “more even tempered and efficient.” Organizations are told to retain a physician who will do a special physical examination “covering female conditions.” The guide also asserts that men should never ridicule a women because “it breaks her spirit and cuts off her efficiency.” My personal favorite was #8. “Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods… 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.”

The guide made me laugh out loud several times, although it also opened my eyes to how lucky we are to live in a decade when females – and female managers are commonplace in the workforce.

At the Dickinson County News, seven of the full time employees are women. Then we have our advertising manager and publisher in Spencer, who are also women. And it seems to be a pretty smooth ride – well, at least until we start acting like men. (I’m kidding… well, mostly.)


Here are some excerpts from the “Guide to Hiring Women” from the magazine: July 1943 issue of “Transportation”:

  • 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. The still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Give the female employee a definite day-long 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.
  • 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 hap- pier with change.
  • 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.