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
Most people know
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 while restoring my
1941 Crosley Model 03CB console radio.
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
Certainly, 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
b. Clerical work and filing
c. Small part assembly
d. 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 natural aptitudes.
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
Seek Necessary Qualifications
Bear in mind when selecting women to replace men, that "beauty" is the poorest
of all measures of ability. Very 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.
It's 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
Women should be tested and fitted to their jobs by the same standards as
That 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 for them.
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
Women 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
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 are involved
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
Not Permanent Prospects
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,
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.
To expect 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 February 9, 2021
(updated from original post on July 23, 2013)