'Supervising Women Workers': Management Techniques From 1944

By Rebecca Greenfield

From Coronet Instructional Films, advice on how to handle the influx of women working in factories in the latter years of World War II ...

The men are off fighting the Axis leaving the women in charge of industry back home. But male managers don't quite know how to handle female workers. "Women scare me, at least they do in the factory," laments Joe, a factory manager. His boss comforts him, telling him not to worry: "There are thousands of others facing the same problems. We can say that the broad principles involved in the supervision of men apply equally well in the case of women." But Joe disagrees, "That ain't what I learned about women."

Fortunately the film is able to take Joe, and us, through various ways men and women act and react differently to situations at work. After learning a few tricks, like avoiding using complicated trade terms, Joe gets the hang of things, coming away with four important lessons:

  • Don't mix pleasure with business
  • Women can be awfully jealous of each other
  • Avoid undue familiarity
  • And, finally, women are more sensitive than men

Sounds like good advice for Joe, and the thousands of others facing this same problem -- that is, until all the men return.




Watch more instructional films.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/02/supervising-women-workers-management-techniques-from-1944/71127/