Sunday, November 13, 2005

Guide to Hiring Women

1943 Guide to Hiring Women:
9. Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can't shrug off harsh words the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman ? it breaks her spirit and cuts 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.
Snopes then goes on to say that the guide is legitimate, and:
The text quoted above is one such example. Although we know full well in the 1940s women in the workplace were often patronized, insulted, harassed, and treated as second-class employees in ways almost no one would find acceptable today, we have a hard time believing that even if we once held the attitudes that promoted this type of work environment, no one (even way back in 1943) could have been so crass to state them as baldly and condescendingly as in the article cited here.
I find the Snopes comment much stranger than the guide. Employers today are told much wackier things in order to avoid discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuits. Such advice frequently (and condescendingly) assume that women cannot handle situations that would be trivial for a man.