« ПретходнаНастави »
and so unskilled that she consequently commands a low wage. A survey of the wage earning women of the United States reveals the fact that nearly one-third of these are under voting age. The right of the industrial woman to organization for collective bargaining is recognized. No vote of woman was necessary to give her this equality with the working man. The right of woman to protection in the courts, the right of our women to claim the protection as citizens under the United States flag, is established on an absolute equality with man's similar right, without woman's political activities. The married woman has the right to hold property separately; to make contracts and to control her wages. Equality would demand that a husband should have a right to his own earnings, but society demands that his earnings shall be liable for the support and maintenance of his family while, except in some woman suffrage states, the wife's earnings are exempt from such liability. Even in those states where equal guardianship laws are not written on the statute books the practice of the courts, in those unfortunate instances where the family is disrupted, gives the guardianship of minor children to the mother provided she is a fit person and can provide means for their support. The divorce courts certainly reveal no inequalities in the granting of divorce to men and women, while the courts grant to men no provision corresponding to the woman's alimony.
The first commission to investigate a minimum wage for women was appointed in the male suffrage state of Massachusetts. The fundamental basis of a standard law for woman in industry is acknowledged to be the prohibition of night work, because of the damaged health of the working woman who is engaged in industrial pursuits by night and undertakes woman's work in the home by day. Nebraska, Massachusetts and Indiana blazed the path for this legislation. Within the last year, the great industrial states of New York and Pennsylvania have followed. In none of these states do women vote, but in all of these states public opinion has demanded that woman should not be handicapped in the offering of her highest efficiency. The state cannot permit the creation of the efficient worker at the cost of the efficient woman. Equal suffrage would demand that woman should enter into competition with man in a fair field with favor to none, but woman's welfare demands protection under the laws.
The best child labor laws are found in male suffrage states. Industrial and economic conditions have revealed the necessity of these laws. Public opinion in which the work of women played a noble part has urged their enactment and the votes of women have not been necessary to further the release of the child from the burden of industrial life.
The hideous white slave traffic and the dread social evil must be corrected by education rather than by political propaganda. Laws must follow as the knowledge of the extent of the evil awakens the public conscience and the moral sense of the people is aroused. Woman will find her work as the educator who develops a trained and scientific opinion, not as the politician who must control votes.
Women have a right to demand political responsibility if thereby the existing electorate would be improved "in its average moral tone, its intelligence, its political discrimination, its patriotism and attention to political duties." The burden of proving that the enlarged electorate would be an improved electorate rests on those who demand the change. Many women are more intelligent, more moral than many men, but the morality and intelligence of women and men of the same opportunities and environment strike about the same average and it has yet to be shown that the doubling of the electorate, the wise, the foolish, the patriotic, the self-seeking, would improve the electorate. The enfranchised woman seems to give even less attention than man to political duties, if we are to trust election returns. If woman suffrage is to increase the danger which confronts us today in the indifferent and stay-at-home voter, the patriotic women have the right to protest against the imposition upon women of responsibilities which would not be fulfilled. The right to vote carries with it a moral responsibility of exercising the franchise, therefore the majority of women who do not believe in woman suffrage have the right to protest against this obligation.
The life of the average woman is not so ordered as to give her first hand knowledge of those things which are the essentials of sound government. Clean streets and pure milk are sure to come as the knowledge of sanitary living increases Tariff reform, fiscal policies, international relations, those large endeavors which men now determine, are foreign to the concerns and pursuits of the average woman. She is worthily employed in other departments of life, and the vote will not help her to fulfill her obligations therein.
The exceptional woman, who by some combination of circumstances is released from these obligations of the average woman, is today rendering public service which is distinctive because it is removed from personal, political ambitions. She has the right to serve the state and serves well in proportion to her freedom from party strife; she does not divert her efforts for the solution of social problems to the machinery of political organization. Herein lies the exceptional woman's distinctive contribution, not as a politician but as a disinterested factor working to render public service uncolored by political motives. Our exceptional American women are rapidly entering the ranks of those who thus serve the state. The patriotic women of England have been conspicuous in this sort of public service. One of the greatest of these was Octavia Hill, who more than any other one person helped to solve the problem of the housing of the poor. Out of her real experience she wrote:
I believe that men and women help one another because they are different, have different gifts and different spheres and that the world is made on the principle of mutual help. A serious loss to our country would arise if women entered into the arena of party struggle and political life. So far from raising the standard, I believe they would lose the power of helping to keep it up by their influence on the men who know and respect them. Political power would militate against their usefulness in the large field of public work in which so many are now doing noble and helpful service. This service is far more valuable than any voting power could possibly be. You can double the number of voters and achieve nothing, but have used up, in achieving nothing, whatever thought and time your women voters have given to such duties.
Let the woman be set on finding her duties, not her rights—there is enough of struggle for place and power, enough of watching what is popular and will win votes, enough of effort to secure majorities: if woman would temper this wild struggle, let her seek to do her own work steadily and earnestly.
It is woman's right to be exempt from political responsibility in order that she may be free to render her best service to the state. The state has surrounded her with protective legislation in order that she may attain her highest efficiency in those departments of the world's work for which her nature and her training fit her.
THE SOCIALIZING INFLUENCE OF THE BALLOT UPON
BY EMILIE J. HUTCHINSON,
Instructor in Economics, Barnard College, New York City.
The reaction of enfranchisement upon women's status in society and upon women themselves is one of the most interesting phases of the suffrage movement, but one which, for very good reasons, has been comparatively neglected. The philosophy of the movement and its social significance are too abstract to be generally useful in controversy and persuasion. The average person wants to know what women would do with the vote if they had it, what effect their vote has had upon legislation in the equal suffrage states and countries. His practical sense is appealed to when the relation of the vote to the work of looking after the home is indicated. His reason and sense of justice respond to such arguments as that of women being taxed without direct representation in the taxing authorities, of women forced to obey laws which they have had no direct voice in making. But when it comes to the subjective influence that the ballot may have upon women, the question moves out of the field of concrete and familiar interests, and of the simpler canons of justice and right. It becomes, instead, a question of social philosophy and psychology. It is for that reason, however, no less important as an argument for enfranchisement, and the present paper is given over to its consideration.
In approaching this phase of the question, we shall take as our fundamental premise that the development of human life has been conditioned by social relationships. In its most primitive forms, the advantage in the struggle for existence rested with the individuals who had the capacity for coöperation for purposes of aggression or defense. Mental and spiritual life had their origin and stimulus in the associated activity of play, festival and ceremony. Literature, art, and religion-all the higher activities of mind and spirit— owe their debt to the interchange of thought and feeling between man and his companions. Those. we call the social virtues-sympathy, toleration, justice, unselfishness, self-control-all had their development in the association of human beings.
In the exercise of the social impulse and the growth of the social nature, the experience of women has been strikingly different from that of men. Such data as we have of their history reveal them as a group rigidly denied an opportunity for the development that comes from the establishment of wide and varied relations with their fellows. A review of the factors that have operated to exclude women from sharing as equals in the business of the common life would go far beyond the limits of this paper. Speaking generally their social and economic interests, and indeed the primary question of survival itself, have been promoted chiefly through influence with a particular individual-father, husband, or other male relativerather than through direct coöperation with other women or with other men and women. Custom and tradition, built upon this fact, created an environment that kept them as a class apart and emphasized a fancied difference between their interests and capacities and those of men.
No serious attack was made upon the underpinning of this point of view until late in the eighteenth century. It was then, for the first time, that the condition of earning a livelihood for large numbers of women was offered on terms that did not imply personal service for their own families. A new way of carrying on their ordinary occupaticns was inaugurated with the invention of the spinning machine and the rise of the factory system-a way that was destined finally to drive the old household methods out of existence, except in remote places untouched by the new industrial order. Under the influence of an aggressive capitalism, women were drawn rapidly into an employ where their rôle as producers was divorced from their personal family relations. Never before had they worked in daily contact with each other as wage-earners. Never before had the occasion been offered for social impersonal relationships in the serious business of earning a living.
A new knowledge of each other, a new sense of comradeship, awakened under its influence. In defiance of the popular belief that there was something in the nature of women so different from that of men that it precluded the possibility of coöperation with other women, they have shown again and again their ability to stand by each other, to subordinate personal interests to the interest of the group. They have displayed courage and fortitude when it was necessary to face hardship and defeat. The progress of labor organ