In 2022, the fight is continuing for more equality in the workplace between men and women.
Although a lot of work is still to be done in terms of eradicating old-fashioned attitudes and closing the difference in pay for men and women who do the same job, things seem to be moving in the right direction.
A number of hugely powerful and rich companies have female CEOs and there are hundreds of massively successful women running their own very successful businesses.
However, in the past, the role of women in the workplace has been very different, with archaic rules in place about what they can and can’t do, specific jobs only aimed at women and strict rules about “appearance” that don’t apply to their male colleagues.
From rules around working while pregnant to dress codes, women have faced many restrictions on what they can and can’t do for decades and across nearly every sector.
Some rules on this list are no longer in play, but some still are.
Try not to talk about yourself
If you were a female secretary living in Texas in the 1960s, you weren’t allowed to talk about yourself.
This was just one rule of many.
You needed to control any urge to intervene in other people’s business or make comments.
If you could grasp it, you would be well on becoming a top-class secretary.
No female mining students in China
Today, females living in China aren’t allowed to study mining engineering at China Mining and Technology University.
This is a course that no matter what, after graduation, you are guaranteed to go to work.
This rule is in place because they believe women cannot carry heavy machinery or get away as quickly in an emergency.
A tutor at the University told the BBC: “China’s labor law suggests mining work is unsuitable for women, so we ask women to refrain from applying to our major.”
If you’re married, you had better quit your job
From the 1800s to the 1970s, there was a rule against hiring married women
If they were already working, you had to force them to quit after the wedding, known as a “marriage bar.”
This was typical for public service jobs in the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands.
Some job roles in which this was mandatory were; teachers, nurses, the army, and public broadcasting.
This was rescinded in the United Kingdom in 1935 but was in place in Ireland in 1973.
Female cabin crew in the 1960s
If you were a female flight attendant living in the US, you had to live up to very high expectations.
This is a job advert for Eastern Airlines in 1966: “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration). 5’2″ but no more than 5’9″, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.”
Different airlines have different rules, but one that was similar for all was only to hire “slender, well-proportioned” women between 5’2″ and 5’9.”
You were expected to go into early retirement with United Airlines, at the grand old age of 32 or 35, at a push.
Airline bosses had a common belief that having the textbook type of stewardess, slim and young, was the key to their success.