“Women Are Teachable”: This 1940s Booklet to Assist Male Bosses in Supervising Their New Female Employees

In a re-discovered 1940s guide for how male bosses should treat female employees, men were amusingly told that “women are teachable.” The guide shows just how much the work place has changed since World War II.

By 1944, over half of American adult women were employed outside the home, making invaluable contributions to the war effort. As women went about their duties, supervisors often worried about effectively assimilating them into the workforce. This publication from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) awkwardly attempted to assist supervisors with managing their new female employees.

But many of America’s supervisors had never had to deal with women in the workplace and many felt women not only belonged in the home, but were simply unable to learn how to work in a man’s world. So, RCA thought this guide would be helpful in order to keep America on its war footing.

The implications in the text are somewhat amusing in that it seems to have been assumed that men were tougher of spirit, could take criticism better, didn’t take things personally, and perhaps were easier to keep working in unclean and unsafe working conditions.

After all, many of these lines of advice seem like a good way to treat any employee; as opposed to just women!

Following the image of each page of the booklet with the text below (please click on the images to view them larger):

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