The Housewife-Engineer

Here’s some “engineering” information I found while doing random reading on Wikipedia.

Mary Wright was a designer/author/business woman. In 1950 she and her husband, Russel, wrote a best-selling book, Guide to Easier Living. Its goal, per Wikipedia, was to “increase leisure time and reduce housework through efficient design and time management”. You can still find it on Amazon.

One chapter is titled, The Housewife-Engineer. It encourages readers to (quoting the Wikipedia article again), “analyze and perform time-motion studies in ordinary household tasks”. The home is “a small industry and every housewife is its production engineer”. Lifestyle choices are like “engineering problems with scientific solutions”. It even includes an illustrated 32 step chart for “scientific bedmaking”.

Housewife-engineers? Let me ramble a bit. In the 1960s, when I started working, female engineers were very rare, more so than today. A person who did technical drawing was a draftsman, not a drafter. If I called a technical company or distributor and a woman answered I could safely assume she was not a technical person. The help wanted ads in newspaper were still divided between “Help Wanted – Male” and “Help Wanted – Female”. Now we have a daughter who is an electrical engineer – a PhD! The other is a PhD equivalent, a nurse practitioner. How the world has changed – much for the better!

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