By Amanda Riley
Over the weekend, a friend of mine shared a ‘jaw dropping’ advert from the 1930’s with me.
Entitled: ‘They Mustn’t Marry. Hefty Girls Wanted For Police Force’, the short article was an appeal for intelligent, unmarried women of ‘good physique’ to sign up for the Women’s Branch of the Metropolitan Police.
With a closing paragraph that reads: ‘They must be hefty enough to stand a ‘rough and tumble’ and must be fairly good looking’ the blatantness of the attitude towards women and the sexism of the era is truly shocking and amusing at the same time.
Thankfully, both recruitment advertising standards and society’s view of a woman’s contribution to the workplace have shifted light years since then.
However, what is also interesting, having dug further into the article is the reference to ‘Miss Peto’. Dorothy Peto OBE was a pioneer of women policing in the UK and the first woman Superintendent in London’s Metropolitan Police. Without the brave souls like her pushing against the prejudice and chauvinism of the time, our world could be a very different place.