OCTOBER 20, 1942
NEW YORK, Monday—Yesterday we took the children, who are guests at the White House, to the top of the Washington Monument and to the Zoo. We had guests at lunch and at supper and then I took the night train to New York City, for I had a number of things to do today, which I had meant to do last Friday.
I have just had a letter from a British woman, who tells me she thinks in some ways they managed their employment of women rather badly at first. They did not make it clear that women with young children should stay in their homes as long as possible, since they were more important there until all other manpower needed for general services was exhausted.
This woman warned me that it had meant a rather indiscriminate rushing into different war services, when communities were inadequately organized to take care of home needs.
Of course, the alternative is to employ older women first, married women without children, and people who are handicapped in various ways but who are useable for special activities. Really to do a good job of placing people, not only in the places where they should be, but in the order in which they should enter new services, it seems to me that we shall find it necessary to register all women.
They will have to fill out rather complete questionnaires, so that it will be possible to recognize their skills and capacities, to know their backgrounds and experience and the present conditions in which they and their families live.
I was told some time ago it would be quite unwise to register women, because, if that were done, they would immediately expect to obtain jobs when they were not available. I think it could be made quite clear that this was being done entirely for efficiency in the future, not because any particular woman may obtain a job tomorrow.
I still receive letters from older men and women, some of whom are actually in need of jobs and do not seem to be able to find them. Others are simply tremendously anxious to make a contribution to the country's welfare at this time and can not find a place where they can be really useful.
In either case, it seems to me that registration and then coordination of the information, so that different parts of the country would be made cognizant of supply and demand, would mean a great deal at the present time.