Employment: Caution: Women at Work

  • Share
  • Read Later

Norwegian merchant ships have long carried women radio operators, but last week a radically different distaff arrangement was added to the fleet. For the first time, two girls shipped out not in the radio shack but as deck hands or, so to speak, as ordinary seawomen. Other women have been qualified in France and Britain to fly commercial airplanes, and SAS may soon hire its first woman pilot. As women become more emancipated and labor shortages give them a suitable entree, females around the world are turning up in every kind of job from aircraft mechanic to road-construction crew women.

The list of jobs that women are doing is almost endless. In Canada, lumberjacks have been joined by lumber-Jills. In the U.S. this summer, the Good Humor man may as often as not be a Good Humor woman. In Europe, women have turned into bricklayers, painters, welders, cabinetmakers, watch repairmen, goldsmiths, pharmacists, chimney sweeps and even traveling saleswomen. No less than 85% of Finland's dentists are female, and so are a quarter of the physicians. In both Japan and France, there are women firemen. Norway, like the U.S. and other countries, has hired femailmen to carry letters, and around the world the gentler sex is tending bar, driving forklift trucks, giving golf lessons, servicing automobiles and running heavy machinery in factories.

Blue & White. The feminine invasion is most noticeable in blue-collar jobs. Falling birth rates after World War II in many countries created a shortage of the manpower necessary to keep up with the demands of rising economies. Womanpower was a logical solution. Moreover, tests have shown that in such areas as manual dexterity, eye-hand coordination and depth perception, women generally excel men.

White-collar women are moving ahead at a slower pace. In the U.S., where 41% of all women work, the proportion of working women classified as professional and technical has dropped from 45% in 1940 to 37% today because G.I. Bill-educated ex-servicemen have moved into these fields in larger numbers. Women as a percentage of the total work force, in the same period, increased from 26% to 36% as more blue-collar women moved into the jobs such men might have held. Determined women are still finding new opportunities. Since women buy 45% of the liquor purchased in the U.S., Schenley Industries Inc. last fall hired blonde Marsha Lane, 39, for the newly created executive position of "women's marketing consultant." Other women are making their marks in other fields. Among them:

∙INVESTMENTS: Julia Montgomery Walsh, 45, of Washington, D.C., spends part of her day as a senior partner at the investment firm of Ferris & Co., spends the rest in "yours, mine and ours" domesticity with four sons from her first marriage, seven more children who arrived with her second husband, Real Estate Broker Thomas B. Walsh, and a three-year-old son since born to them. Her salary is $200,000 a year.

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2
  4. 3