Wartime Document Found Explaining How To Treat Women In The Workplace & It's Ever So Slightly Outdated


While women contributing to the workforce was not entirely new, especially for women from poorer families, it was the first time that we saw white, middle-class females on the factory lines.

While some men were fine with their wives working, a lot of them disapproved of the change, and saw it as emasculating. It wasn't just these sexist attitudes that caused upset, either - the Depression caused such a high level of unemployment that women working was seen in society as stealing jobs from men.

World War II changed all that, and even before the United States joined the fight, the government had signed contracts to provide war equipment for the Allies, knowing that this would require a huge workforce.

The war industry caused a job boom and positions needed to be filled by every able-bodied citizen – including women.

To encourage women to join the call to work they rolled out a propaganda campaign starring “Rosie the Riveter,” who spread the now-iconic slogan “we can do it” to women across the nation.

Women answered the call en masse, and by the time the United States entered WW2, there were an estimated 12 million women in active employment. This had increased to 18 million by the time the war was over.

Of course, the efforts of these pioneering working women were a crucial part of the efforts to win the war, but it still did not change societies view of a woman’s role once it was over.

Factory or service jobs were seen as acceptable temporary contributions, but after the war, it was made clear to women that they were to return back to the home to resume the 'homemaker' role.

It's interesting how times change. There is nothing too controversial about the statements in the material that inform us how - surprise, surprise - "women are cooperative". It just seems funny to us, because things like this are so self-evident now.

In fact, a great deal of women commenting on the original post noted how the materials were actually just good workplace practice, with one woman saying "The irony is, this is better than I've ever been treated in the workplace".

Maybe we haven't come as far as we like to think.