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Labor] Baetjer, Anna M.

Women in Industry.


[Labor]. Baetjer, Anna M., Sc.D. Women in Industry, Their Health and Efficiency. Issued under the auspices of the Division of Medical Sciences and the Division of Engineering and Industrial Research of the National Research Council. Prepared in the Army Industrial Hygiene Library. Philadelphia and London: W.B. Saunders Company, 1946.
8vo.; dark red cloth, stamped in gilt; light wear to extremities.
First edition. With a foreword by Raymond Hussey, a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel and Director of the Army Industrial Hygiene Laboratory. Hussey states that it is not the intention of the study to ideologically justify the employment of women in industrial fields, but rather to make "available valuable information for the proper placement of women when their service is required"-namely, during times of war.
Baetjer's in-depth comparison of men and women in the workplace covers many areas of potential concern such as physique, occupational injury rates, gynecological considerations, and mortality rates. The results of the study range from the expected (women tend to be smaller and possess less physical strength than men) to the somewhat surprising (while women get sick more often than men, their illness-related periods of absence often are shorter). Significantly, Baetjer does note that for many of the categories in which comparisons were made, there was relatively no difference between men and women-they are both, for example, equally susceptible to occupational disease and equally prone to on-the-job accidents.  Also, Baetjer concludes that there is no evidence to support that the work output for women is at all related to or effected by their menstrual cycles, and that while women who are employed tend to have fewer children, this is most likely by choice and not a suggestion of decreased fertility from the industrial environment.
With appendices containing statistical data about the breakdown of men and women in certain occupations, the training period for women in various jobs (suggesting which are more "suitable" for women), and a list of state-by-state labor laws.
Anna Medora Baetjer (1899-1984) received a B.A. from Wellesley College in 1920, and her Sc.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1924. After earning her doctoral degree, she joined the faculty of the school of hygiene and public health and focused her work on studying occupational hazards and health concerns in the workplace. Described by peers as a "petite, wiry woman with the energy of a dynamo," Baetjer was approached by the Army during WWII and asked to complete a study assessing women's ability to work in occupations previously dominated by men.  Women in Industry, Their Health and Efficiency won her national attention, due to the strong scientific basis of her findings and her suggestions for how certain types of machinery and equipment could be modified to compensate for the physical capabilities of women.
Baetjer, however, is best known for her discovery of the link between chromium and cancer. Her studies were published by the World Health Organization, alerting corporations worldwide of the dangers of chromium exposure. In 1951, Anna Baetjer had the honor of becoming the first female elected president of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. She taught for many years at Johns Hopkins University, and in 1963 set up at Hopkins one of the first research and training programs in environmental toxicology.  Adored by students and scientists alike, she remained active in her research up until her death in 1984, and her legacy lives on today in the form of the scholarships and lecture halls at Johns Hopkins that bear her name.

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