people agree that World War II marked the point at which a
large percentage of American women made a major move from the role
of homemaker to the roles of factory and trades workers. The societal
shift was made necessary because a large percentage of American
men were off fighting the war in Europe and the South Pacific, and
therefore were not available to do those tasks. This article appeared
in the September 1942 edition of Radio Retailing Today
magazine less than a year into America's involvement in the War.
Even a militant feminist would probably conclude that, given the
state of the world at the time, it is a very fair assessment and
generally exceedingly complimentary. Note this observation regarding
use of women for manufacturing, "Women have made more radio tubes
and radio sets than men ever will." I thought about that recently
while preparing for the restoration of my
1941 Crosley Model 03CB console radio.
September 1942 Radio Retailing Today
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early
electronics. See articles from
Radio & Television News, published 1919-1959. All copyrights hereby
Side note: The only ground gained by America
during WWII - or any battle since the Revolutionary War for that
matter - was a 172-acre plot of land for
American Cemetery and Memorial in Normandy, which was gifted
to us by France.
Do You Understand Women?
Replacing Manpower, They Often Do a Good Job at Radio Counter
- Do you know how to select them for radio sales?
- Can you give them the proper store training?
- Have you figured out which jobs they can do?
Day by day, more and more men are giving up their peacetime
pursuits to "join the colors" and take an active part in fighting
to preserve our way of life.
Yet business and industry,
must go on. It must go on to provide the civil population with the
necessities of life and of living.
Men must do our fighting
on the battle fronts, and women must do their full share in business,
in production and in taking a man's job on the home front.
Women are taking the places of more fighting men in the Army.
The WAACs will make a real contribution to Army administration.
The WAVES are soon to take their places in the shore establishment
of the Navy.
Women are taking the places of men in industry,
in manufacturing everything from zippers to airplanes, and doing
a fine job.
Women have made more radio tubes and radio sets
than men ever will.
Women can and will, take their place
in your business, selling, servicing and maintaining your records.
Many business men still harbor some prejudices against women
in some jobs, but these are fast disappearing in the light of their
performance. Light work, hard work, hand work, head work, machine
work, office work, all now are women's work.
you have to train them, thoroughly and carefully. But first you
have to select them.
Most women have a high degree of hand dexterity, and fine coordination
of hand and eye. But some are clumsy and awkward. Most women have
infinite patience, and excel at detail and repetitive work.
Women have long been experts at selling records, and their
performance there may be used to guide dealers in wartime
hiring to replace men.
But many do not.
You'll run into just as much trouble
putting the wrong woman on a job as you would in putting the wrong
man on the same job.
With some careful selection, you will
find most women will equal or excel men on:
b. Clerical work and filing
c. Small part assembly
Detail and fast repetitive work
e. Fine production work.
Because most women have not had the experience, you must be
prepared to train them to bring out the full advantage of their
In the selection of personnel there is
no good reason why sex should be any more important a factor than
nationality, or religion, given equal education and intelligence.
Seek Necessary Qualifications
in mind when selecting women to replace men, that "beauty" is the
poorest of all measures of ability. V erv often. you will find,
that ''beauty and brains" are like "oil and water." Neatness is
highly desirable in any employee.
Women must be selected
for their jobs as workers, not as women and they must be trained,
disciplined and supervised on the same basis.
true, of course, that the female psychology is somewhat different
from that of the male. And so the methods of discipline and supervision
must be adjusted accordingly.
Women should be tested and
fitted to their jobs by the same standards as men.
is, the same qualities are necessary to fit a woman for a particular
job as for a man. You may find that quality more frequently in women
than in men. But they may not always be present. So you must look
Salespeople, whether men or women, should have
a pleasing personality, a sincere friendliness, an easy smile and
a knowledge of the products they sell. Women who have these qualities
have been very successful selling records, radio, home furnishings,
home appliances. Do not expect more from women than you do from
in business expect to be treated like the workers and humans they
are, with respect and impersonally. Preferences to some are quickly
resented by others and in a way which can quickly cause trouble
and confusion. Rules, regulations, privileges must be uniform.
Most women do not have as high a sense of safety as do men;
they short-cut the safety rules, have more minor accidents, fewer
really serious ones, than do men.
Thus they create the necessity
for more constant and careful supervision on machine or productive
work. And this supervision presents a different problem where women
They are more sensitive, more nervous than
men. Sharp criticism for an error may produce hysterics which lasts
for 10 minutes, "nerves" which lasts for 10 days and resentment
lasts for 10 weeks. A woman is always to be preferred to a man,
as a supervisor of women.
More women are working today than
ever before, and their number is fast increasing. Women have tackled
every job within their physical ability, and their records of performance
are outstanding, in every line of endeavor.
These records are uniformly better in the
larger organizations than in the smaller ones. This is true because
in the larger organizations women are more carefully selected, their
individual abilities more accurately measured, their assignment
to jobs more scientifically done, their training more thoroughly
And this boils down to the fact that in most jobs,
the factors of intelligence, education, training, are far more important
than sex in fitting a worker to a job.
But women are women - for all that, and
differ from men in viewpoint, and in emotional equilibrium. These
factors must always be kept in mind.
Business, or industry
to most women is a temporary thing. For nature has endowed women
with the maternal instinct, which must look upon home, and mate,
and family, as the permanent state to which they aspire. There are
some exceptions, of course.
And so, in employing women,
do not make the mistake of placing too much dependence upon anyone,
so far as certainty of continuity of service is concerned.
A woman seldom ceases
looking for "her man." And this factor must be watched in business,
for it can cause waste and inefficiency when "boy meets girl" in
the same business, to a degree that is surprising.
the impossible from women is foolish. But women have '''made good"
in every job they've tackled, and they will make good in yours,
too, if you try them, under fair conditions and handle them with
intelligence and understanding.
Posted July 23, 2013