Rss

SEX DISCRIMINATION EMPLOYMENT LETTER from 1939 shows workplace sexism

It was a few weeks before the Second World War broke out and across the Atlantic Josephine Calavetta was working at a photography studio in New York.

The 22-year-old was impressing her superiors with her skill and work ethic and asked to be transferred to a different studio- Studio #60- in Brooklyn.

She was denied the opportunity. While the vice-president of Grant Photo Corporation admitted he “would be only too glad” for her to take up the position because they knew she was up to the job, he could not allow it “due to the fact that we have to have a man manager in New York City”.

Her story was published on Women You Should Know as part of Women’s History Month.

One of Josephine’s jobs at the studio was to colourblack and white portraits.

“At that time, hand-colouring was a prestigious job, involving meticulous work that required immense skill. Josephine would apply watercolours, coloured oils, crayons or pastels, over a black and white image’s surface using brushes, her fingers, or cotton swabs.”

A year after the initial rejection, the company received a letter from a client, Mrs Kimball, praising Calavetta’s work.

In his reply, the vice-president agreed with Mrs Kimball’s assessment, noting “we have difficulty in discovering girls deserving promotions”.

Calavetta left the company in 1941 and married Antonio Maneri “who did, in fact, have the utmost admiration and respect for the incredible woman she was”.

At 94-years-old, the remarkable women graduated Valedictorian of her class at the assisted living home she lived at until passing away in 2012.

OOO

Henry Sapiecha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *