By Amelia Harris
November 5, 2009
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Can you pick up my phone if it rings? I’m off to fix my lippy so I can be more efficient.
Don’t laugh, that’s the advice bosses gave staff in 1943 to ensure female employees were primed for work.
Allowing time for women to wash their hands and fix their hair was also vital for “feminine psychology”.
The handy hints to hiring women first appeared in a 1943 edition of Transportation Magazine, but have been resurrected in a recent email being forwarded among friends.
The guide, which was written for male supervisors of working women during World War II, also recommended a rigorous interview process for women.
Frumpy females were frowned upon and “husky” or larger girls were more even-tempered and efficient than their “underweight sisters”.
The guide also revealed that having a doctor examine new employees for “female conditions” not only helped protect companies against a lawsuit, but highlighted any “female weaknesses” that would make her unfit for the job.
Sex and gender expert Dr Lauren Rosewarne, from the University of Melbourne, said she expected the guide to draw mixed reactions.
“On one hand it’s funny to laugh about what things were like in the ’40s,'” she said. “But then we realise some of these points are still held by some people in society.
“Contemporary research talks about hiring bigger people and how they have a more difficult time getting a job.”