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Old 07-18-2019, 11:43 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
79,069 posts, read 70,937,721 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
First response beat me to the answer.

Young boys were rude, lazy, restless and had other qualities that made them unsuited (so everyone thought) to being telephone operators.

Females were seen as docile, easily trained and also had better dexterity and coordination needed for the often repetitive tasks involved in being a telephone operator.

Clerks, secretaries and other office workers were first largely a male occupation. But with the arrival of typewriter things changed. Females on average excelled in typing (for same qualities mentioned above, dexterity, etc....), and soon virtually all secretaries were females.
Sounds like a recipe for carpal tunnel.

So, phone operator only paid enough to hire children, is that why "young boys" were the first recruits? Why not hire young girls, then? How were they able to hire kids at all, with compulsory school attendance laws?
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:44 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
79,069 posts, read 70,937,721 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddm2k View Post
Thank goodness for the unions that made even operators' jobs pay a living wage.

I had a coworkers whose mother worked directory assistance at AT&T for 27 years. Their average handle time was 12 seconds from answer to releasing the call. That's over a million calls in a lifetime.
Yes. This was regarded as a very good job that didn't require a college education. I knew a woman who was able to pay private school tuition for her child, with her phone company job.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:52 AM
 
20,955 posts, read 13,877,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
Many women only worked until they had their first child and only went back to work when that child went to college. You couldn't really blame an employer for not putting a young woman in a position of responsibility when they weren't going to be there long. In my life everyone's mom went back to work about the same time from about 1965 to 1968.

There were some benefits to "women's jobs." The overwhelming percentage of women that went to college became a teacher. Many nurses at that time went to nursing school. They were RNs but did not have a BSN. So the best and brightest women were teaching the kids. But in later years that junior high science teacher could now be a physicist and that math teacher could be a CPA. Again, in my life this change started about 1977. Everything is location, not just real estate.

I knew several women that got an operator job in the early 70's. But for them it was until they found something better. It wasn't a lifetime job like earlier generations.
Until anti-discrimination/equal rights laws changed things one reason many high school chemistry teachers were females was due to discrimination.

Drug companies, research, colleges/universities, etc... all the big players and employers of those with degrees in chemistry largely didn't hire women. If they did those women often were stuck in support/assistant roles (up to and including fetching coffee and other secretarial for for the guys). So the only other main option was secondary schools, who were happy to get chemistry teachers often cheaply.

Post 1970's equal rights/anti-discrimination laws female chemists could get those university/pharma jobs that allowed them to do their own research and get published, they left/avoided secondary school teaching in great numbers. This as one stated upthread caused effects we still are seeing today; a shortage of chemistry teachers in at high school level.

Even with male chemists entering secondary teaching it hasn't been enough in many instances.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:02 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
79,069 posts, read 70,937,721 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
More jobs became available to women during WWII. It's not that the job was particularly suited to women.
Women were hired for the job en masse long before WWII. They were considered well-suited for it, because of their voice quality and patience with the public. Also, the fact that they would work for less pay than men made them instantly popular with employers.

More info from Wiki:

Quote:
To be an operator, a woman had to be unmarried and between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six. She had to look prim and proper, and have arms long enough to reach the top of the tall telephone switchboard. Like many other American businesses at the turn of the century, telephone companies discriminated against people from certain ethnic groups and races. For instance, African-American and Jewish women were not allowed to become operators
I wonder how employers would know an applicant was Jewish.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:05 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
79,069 posts, read 70,937,721 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkalot View Post
Many women only worked until they had their first child and only went back to work when that child went to college. You couldn't really blame an employer for not putting a young woman in a position of responsibility when they weren't going to be there long. In my life everyone's mom went back to work about the same time from about 1965 to 1968.

There were some benefits to "women's jobs." The overwhelming percentage of women that went to college became a teacher. Many nurses at that time went to nursing school. They were RNs but did not have a BSN. So the best and brightest women were teaching the kids. But in later years that junior high science teacher could now be a physicist and that math teacher could be a CPA. Again, in my life this change started about 1977. Everything is location, not just real estate.

I knew several women that got an operator job in the early 70's. But for them it was until they found something better. It wasn't a lifetime job like earlier generations.
The problem with that, though, was that employers discriminated against all women because of their belief that all women would marry and become mothers. Women who remained single, or who married but were child-free couldn't get the jobs they wanted.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:19 PM
 
20,955 posts, read 13,877,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Sounds like a recipe for carpal tunnel.

So, phone operator only paid enough to hire children, is that why "young boys" were the first recruits? Why not hire young girls, then? How were they able to hire kids at all, with compulsory school attendance laws?

At the time there was a considerable bias against "young girls" being let out of the house period, much less working in offices. Far too much risk of "bad things" happening. We know young females even just as teenagers (or younger) long had been put into domestic service and other "child labor" including the new factories and other jobs resulting from the industrial revolution. But as things usually go young girls were preyed upon/abused by everyone from their employers to male co-workers.

As alluded to previously many places had almost convent like laws/rules regarding female employees. This was much about their protection than anything else. Many males then (as still today) viewed pools of young women (or girls) as fresh meat ripe for the taking. This is where all those supervisors (often older matronly women) came into play. One of their jobs was to keep an eye on their charges and or act as someone they could go to with "problems".

Until anti-discrimination/harassment laws were passed what actions a supervisor could take to "protect" a girl/female might be limited to moving her away from some guy with hand problems. But if the "guy" was an executive or even the owner/boss of the place, then things got complicated.

Child labor laws at least in USA didn't really get going until around 1920's: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_..._United_States

Compulsory education had been around in one form or another for ages, but the modern form got its star in Prussia in 1700's

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compul...ducation#1900s

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compul..._United_States

It is important to remember even with compulsory education state laws are all over the place in how long/far it should go. To about 15 or 17 seems pretty common, and often their were lower ages for females (again that presumption of marriage and children).

Biggest push in mandatory education actually came from WWI time. In both Europe (such as Great Britain), and USA military and other government officials were shocked at the state of recruits in both their state of health and education. For many being drafted/going into the military was the first time they'd seen a physician in their lives.

On the education front to say many of those young men were "ignorant" would be putting it mildly. Post WWI it was deemed best way to bring about a better educated and healthy population was to deal with things from the beginning. That is to better educate the persons primarily responsible for children, their mothers.

If females were taught to read, write, do sums, etc... at least to say a high school level they in turn would be able to teach/assist their children with their lessons. They would also be better prepared to absorb the volumes of printed and other matter put out on child rearing, children's health, homemaking,etc...
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:07 PM
 
237 posts, read 40,885 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PriscillaVanilla View Post
More jobs became available to women during WWII. It's not that the job was particularly suited to women.
The opportunity to yap on the phone all day and listen in on other people's conversation? Sign me up (said every gossip in town)
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:20 PM
 
20,955 posts, read 13,877,373 times
Reputation: 14591
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annandale_Man View Post
The opportunity to yap on the phone all day and listen in on other people's conversation? Sign me up (said every gossip in town)

You could do that with a party line from comfort of your own home.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:43 PM
 
6,713 posts, read 3,783,842 times
Reputation: 13835
Quote:
Originally Posted by Azureth View Post
Type in switchboard operator and it's always just rows of women. Why was that? Obviously it seems as if that was a job particularly suited for women.
It was a low paid, unskilled job that didn't require physical strength, and having a nice voice and good manners was desirable. Ergo: women. There may have also been flexibility in work schedules, since it was a clock-in, clock-out thing, not tied to the needs of a boss, meaning you could pick the kids up at school and such.
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Old 07-18-2019, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Elysium
6,617 posts, read 3,665,019 times
Reputation: 4605
Quote:
Originally Posted by See If This Works View Post
What's even more interesting is why are board and care workers Filipino?
Because nursing schools in the Philippines pumped out excess English speaking "nurses" before RN became an in demand job. With nursing industry raising stock and pay home grown nurses increasingly kept the available, now higher status jobs and the Filipinos moved a step down on the paramedical scale

Quote:
What are nail ladies Vietnamese?
After the fall of Saigon tough business minded refugees, while fluent in French and Vietnamese were not able to handle the English language hair care test in California. Nail technicians on the other hand did not demand a state license so there was a business opportunity filled and a market created.
Quote:
Why were gardeners Japanese (now Mexican)?
In 1913 a law was passed where people unqualified for citizenship could not buy land. Asians could not naturalize back then. Japanese farm hands hoping for their own business thus went into gardening. After WWII emotions still ran high and those returning from interment camps went back to the old family business. As part of the servant class.
Quote:
Why are 7-11 workers middle eastern? Why are massage workers Chinese? Why are Art History majors mostly female? Why are Engineer majors mostly male? Why are medical office workers female? Why are construction workers, roofers, fishermen, lumberjacks almost always male?
The Middle Eastern or South Asian convenience store and motel staffs, like the Vietnamese Nail Salons and Cambodian doughnut shop owners followed the lead of a community pathfinder and followed a countryman into a business that he made profitable. The Asian massage worker was often human trafficking victim perform sexual acts to pay off the gangs they were indentured servants to.
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