Thinking 1943?

Cooking, Cleaning and Vaginas

Examples of an article in the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine addressing male supervisors of women going into the workforce during WWII:

Eleven tips on getting more efficiency out of women employees

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. […]

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. […]

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. […]

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.

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.”


Delete the word women and I would be easily convinced they are talking about a new machinery that is going to be added to a plant. Well, sure this might have applied back then. Long bygone and forgotten. Out of our minds. Isn’t it? Now, they found out that women do have a brain that functions similar to the male one. That they are driven by the same motivation and have the same ambition of making a career and to self-actualize. Chances are that men even knew it back then, but were already aware of the risk of losing power in the business world. According to a study published in the German news magazine Focus a vast majority of men would be uncomfortable with their wives being more successful. Two third even think that women are too egoistic these days. Well, yes, demanding the same pay as a man for performing the same job looks quite greedy to me, too.


The fact is that German practices are outdated if we look at the discussion about quotas for example. Norway got a 40% quota on women in supervisory boards in 2008, France submitted the draft about the same quota in January this year, Denmark has 30% in both supervisory and management boards and even India introduced a quota of 33% seats in parliament. Although, I am not yet convinced if a quota is really what we need or if the result is that female managers are just being branded as quota women. However, this would be a first step to get them up there. Over time it will finally turn out whether or not those stereotypes and prejudices (e.g. women are less productive) apply. Since, in my opinion this is a major reason for keeping them out of top management positions. The alternative (or an extra step) would be to make promotion processes transparent. Excuses like “there are no suitable women for the position” or “men tend to hire men unconsciously, proven patterns are repeated” are not acceptable anymore. Eventually, we need to move on from 1943 and overcome this ridiculed stubbornness.

3 Responses to “Thinking 1943?”
  1. Mary says:

    Nice one, your instructions made me laugh, thanks for that! 😀
    Regarding the stereotype you mentioned, “e.g. women are less productive”, take a look at my recent post!

  2. diiasg says:

    Very amusing. I like the humor in it. I believe there have been a couple of posts that go in this direction.
    Check out what Thomas wrote a while back:

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] from almost all perspectives and tried out some varieties of writing styles. With my first post “Thinking 1943?” I aimed at starting with a rather sarcastic and funny view on the historical beliefs about women. […]

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