This is a man's world

4 May 2007

As we prepare our women's special issue in June, we've been looking through through the  archives and came across this little gem of a discussion between T F Turner and F J White from September 1948.

Turner asked White the question “What future do you think women have in the higher ranks of purchasing profession in the country?”

White responds: “Buying is basically a woman’s job. Women inherently know material, know how to shop for values and quality and it is natural for women to develop these traits. The purchasing of machinery, chemicals and raw materials is not based on brawn or sex, it is based on ability and experience.”

So far, so enlightened. But things then take a turn for the worse.

”I have known some very competent ladies engaged in industrial purchasing, and many equally charming ones doing domestic buying.  In these days particularly, ladies at home do a marvelous purchasing job, but are we to conclude, therefore that our wives will do our jobs better than we do? I would ask how many wives bought the family car, and of those who did, were not the reasons which prompted the choice more related to the colour of the new bonnet rather than the works underneath.”

Does anybody out there (male or female) have any anecdotes or experiences on this subject they would like to share about the "more traditional" approach to female buyers, or any women procurement professionals who have some tales of conduct that wouldn't quite make the grade these days?

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