Part 2 out of 3
Sirloin steak 30c.
Small steak 20c.
Ham and eggs 20c.
Ham omelet 20c.
Dessert, coffee 25c.
Rice pudding 5c.
Banana or orange 5c.
The canteen is open every hour of the twenty-four, and the women
conductors at the end of each run usually take a bite, and then have a
substantial meal during the long break of an hour and a half in the
middle of the ten-hour day.
Another problem brought to us by women in industry is, how can we house
them? The war industries have drawn large numbers to new centers. The
haphazard accommodation which men win put up with, won't satisfy women.
They demand more, and get more. To attract the best type of women the
munition plants are putting up dormitories to accommodate hundreds of
workers, and are making their plants more attractive, with rest rooms
and hospital accommodation. Take, for instance, the Briggs and Stratton
Company, which in order to draw high grade workers built its new factory
in one of the best sections of Milwaukee. The workrooms are as clean as
the proverbial Dutch woman's doorstep. From the top of the benches to
the ceiling the walls are glass to ensure daylight in every corner, and
by night the system of indirect lighting gives such perfectly diffused
light that not a heavy shadow falls anywhere. And the hospital room and
nurse--well, one would rejoice to have an accident daily!
The factory may become the exemplar for the home. The professional
woman is going over the top, and with a good opinion of herself. "I can
do this work better than any man," was the announcement made by a young
woman from the Pacific Coast as she descended upon the city hall in an
eastern town, credentials in her hand, and asked for the position of
city chemist. There was not a microbe she did not know to its undoing,
or a deadly poison she could not bring from its hiding place. The town
had suffered from graft, and the mayor, thinking a woman might scare the
thieves as well as the bacteria, appointed the chemist who believed in
herself. And she is just one of many who have been taking up such work.
Formerly two-thirds of the positions filled by the New York
Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations were secretarial or teaching
positions; now three-fourths of its applicants have been placed as
physicists, chemists, office managers, sanitary experts, exhibit
secretaries, and the like. The temporary positions used to outnumber the
permanent placements; at present the reverse is true. Of the women
placed, four times as many as formerly get salaries ranging above
eighteen hundred dollars a year.
The story told at the employment bureaus in connection with professional
societies and clubs such as the Chemists' Club is the same. Women are
being placed not merely as teachers of chemistry or as routine
laboratory workers in hospitals, but also as experimental and control
chemists in industrial plants. In the great rolling mills they are
testing steel, at the copper smelters they are found in the
laboratories. The government has thrown doors wide open to
college-trained women. They are physicists and chemists in the United
States Bureaus of Standards, Mines, and Soils, sanitary experts in
military camps, research chemists in animal nutrition and fertilizers at
state experiment stations.
But the industrial barrier is the one most recently scaled. Women are
now found as analytical, research or control chemists in the canneries,
in dye and electrical works, in flour and paper mills, in insecticide
companies, and cement works. They test the steel that will carry us
safely on our journeys, they pass upon the chemical composition of the
flavor in our cake, as heads of departments in metal refining companies
they determine the kind of copper battery we shall use, and they have a
finger in our liquid glues, household oils and polishes.
And the awakened spirit of social responsibility has opened new
callings. The college woman not only is beginning to fill welfare
positions inside the factory, but is acting as protective officer in
towns near military camps. Perhaps one of the newest and most
interesting positions is that of "employment secretary." The losing of
employees has become so serious and general that big industries have
engaged women who devote their time to looking up absentees and finding
out why each worker left.
And so we see on all hands women breaking through the old accustomed
Not only as workers but as voters, the war has called women over the
top. Since that fateful August, 1914, four provinces of Canada and the
Dominion itself have raised the banner of votes for women. Nevada and
Montana declared for suffrage before the war was four months old, and
Denmark enfranchised its women before the year was out. And when America
went forth to fight for democracy abroad, Arkansas, Michigan, Vermont,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, began to lay the foundations of
freedom at home, and New York in no faltering voice proclaimed full
liberty for all its people. Lastly Great Britain has enfranchised its
women, and surely the Congress of the United States will not lag behind
the Mother of Parliaments!
The world is facing changes as great as the breaking up of the feudal
system. Causes as fundamental, more wide-spread, and more cataclysmic
are at work than at the end of the Middle Ages. Among the changes none
is more marked than the intensified development in what one may call,
for lack of a better term, the woman movement. The advance in political
freedom has moved steadily forward during the past quarter of a century,
but in the last three years progress has been intense and striking.
The peculiarity in attainment of political democracy for women has lain
in the fact that while for men economic freedom invariably preceded
political enfranchisement, in the case of women the conferring of the
vote in no single case was related to the stage which the enfranchised
group had attained in the matter of economic independence. Nowhere were
even those women who were entirely lacking in economic freedom, excluded
on that account from any extension of suffrage. Even in discussions of
the right of suffrage no reference has ever been made, in dealing with
women's claim, to the relation, universally recognized in the case of
men, of political enfranchisement to economic status. Serfdom gave way
to the wage system before democracy developed for men, and the colored
man was emancipated before he was enfranchised. For this reason the
coming of women as paid workers over the top may be regarded as
In any case, self-determination is certainly a strong element in
attaining any real political freedom.
Complete service to their country in this crisis may lead women to that
economic freedom which will change a political possession into a
political power. But the requirement is readiness to do, and to do well,
the task which offers. Man-power must give itself unreservedly at the
front. Women must show not only eagerness but fitness to substitute for
man-power. It will hearten the nation, help to make the path clear, if
individual women declare that though the call to them has not yet come
for a definite service, the time of waiting will not be spent in
complaint, nor yet in foolish busy-ness, but in careful and
conscientious training for useful work.
Each woman must prepare so that when the nation's need arises, she can
stand at salute and say, "Here is your servant, trained and ready."
Women are not driven over the top. Through self-discipline, they go over
it of their own accord.
EVE'S PAY ENVELOPE
No woman is a cross between an angel and a goose. She is a very human
creature. She has many of man's sins and some virtues of her own.
Moving up from slavery through all the various forms of
serfdom--attachment to the soil, confinement to a given trade, exclusion
from citizenship, payment in kind, on to full economic freedom, men have
shown definite reactions at each step. Women respond to the
The free man is a better worker than slave or serf. So is the free
woman. All the old gibes at her ineptitudes have broken their points
against the actualities of her ability as a wage worker. The free man is
more alert to obligation, more conscientious in performance, than the
bond servant. So is the free woman. With pay envelope, or pension, Eve
is a better helpmate and mother than ever before.
The free man carries a lighter heart than the villain. So does the free
woman. Men have always borne personal grief more easily than women;
observers remarked the fact. The reason is the same. An absorbing
occupation, ordered and regarded as important, which brings a return
allowing the recipient to patronize what he or she thinks wise, that
brings happiness, not boisterous, but dignified. It may be a holocaust
through which Eve gains that pay envelope, but the material possession
brings gratification nevertheless. It is a tiny straw showing the set of
the wind that leisure class British women, however large their unearned
bank account, show no reluctance to accept pay for their work, and full
responsibility in their new position of employee.
Women are supposed to have liked to serve for mere love of service, for
love of child, love of husband. There is, of course, many a subtle
relation which can't be weighed and paid for; but toil, even for one's
very own hearthstone, can be valued in hard cash. The daughters of Eve,
no less than the sons of Adam, react happily to a recognition that
expresses itself in a fair wage.
The verdict comes from all sides that women were never more content. Of
course they are content. The weight of suppression is being lifted. For
many their drudgery is for the first time paid for. Is not that
invigorating? The pay envelope is equal to that of men. Is not that a
new experience giving self-respect? Eve often finds her pay envelope
heavier than that of the man working at her side. Right there in her
hand, then, she holds proof that the old prejudice against her as an
inferior worker is ill-founded.
Women are finding themselves. Even America's Eve discovers that pains
and aches are not "woman's lot." She is under no curse in the twentieth
century. With eighteen dollars a week for ringing up fares, and a
possible thirty-five for "facing" fuse-parts, nothing can persuade her
to be poor-spirited. She radiates the atmosphere, "I am needed!" Doors
fly open to her. She is welcome everywhere. No one seems to be able to
get too many of her kind. Politicians compete for her favor, employers
quarrel over her. It makes her breathe deep to have the Secretary of the
Navy summon her to the United States arsenals, pay her for her work, and
call her a patriot.
[Illustration: In the well-lighted factory of the Briggs and Stratton
Company, Milwaukee, the girls are comfortably and becomingly garbed
And with the pay envelope women remain clearly human. Their purchases
often reflect past denials, rather than present needs or even tastes.
When set free one always buys what the days of dependence deprived one
of. One of Boston's leading merchants told me that Selfridge in London
was selling more jaunty ready-to-wear dresses than ever before. It was
part of John Bull's discipline in ante-bellum dependent days to keep his
women folk dowdy. The Lancashire lass with head shawl and pattens, the
wearer of the universal sailor hat, in these days of independence and
pounds, shillings and pence, are taking note of the shop windows. And
John is not turning his eyes away from his women folk in their day of
But it is not to be concluded that it is all beer and skittles for Eve.
With a pay envelope and a vote come responsibilities. Public sympathy
has backed up laws cutting down long hours of work for women. The trade
unions, with a thought to possible competitors, have favored protecting
them from night work. Has Eve been a bit spoiled? Has she let herself
too easily be classed with children and allowed a line to be drawn
between men and women in industry? Is it a bit of woman's proverbial
logic to demand special protection, and at the same time insist upon
"equal pay for equal work"?
The hopelessness of attaining the promise of the slogan is well
illustrated in the case of a gray haired woman I once met in a London
printing shop. In her early days she had been one of the women taken on
by the famous printing firm of McCorquodale. That was before protective
legislation applied to women. She became a highly skilled printer,
earning more than any man in the shop. When there was pressure of work
she was always one of the group of experts chosen to carry through the
rush order. That meant on occasion overtime or night work. Then she went
on to tell me how her skill was checked in her very prime. Regulations
as to women's labor were gradually fixed in the law. All the printers in
the shop, she said, favored the laws limiting her freedom but not
theirs. Soon her wages reflected the contrast. Her employer called her
to his office one day and explained, "I cannot afford to pay you as much
as the men any longer. You are not worth as much to me, not being able
to work Saturday afternoon, at night, or overtime." She was put on lower
grade work and her pay envelope grew slight.
This woman was not discussing the value of shorter working hours, she
was pointing out that "equal pay" cannot rule for an entire group of
workers when restrictions apply to part of the group and not to the
whole body. We meet here, not a theory, but an incontrovertible fact.
Pay is not equal, and cannot be, where conditions are wholly unequal.
Protection for the woman worker means exactly what it would mean for the
alien man if by law he were forbidden to work Saturday afternoon,
overtime or at night, while the citizen worker was without restriction.
The alien would be cut off from advancement in every trade in which he
did not by overwhelming numbers dominate the situation, he would be kept
to lower grade processes, he would receive much lower pay than the
What common sense would lead us to expect in the hypothetical case of an
alien man, has happened for the woman worker. Oddly enough she has not
herself asked for this protection, but it has been urged very largely by
women not of the industrial class. Women teachers, doctors, lawyers,
women of leisure are the advocates of special legislation for industrial
women. And yet in their own case they are entirely reasonable, and ask
no favors. The woman teacher, and quite truly, insists that she works as
hard and as long hours as the man in her grade of service, and on that
sound foundation she builds her just demand for equal pay. Women doctors
and lawyers have never asked for other than a square deal in their
It would be well, perhaps, if industrial women were permitted to guide
their own ship. They have knowledge enough to reach a safe harbor. There
was a hint that they were about to assume the helm when the rank and
file of union workers voted down at the conference of the Women's Trade
Union League the resolution proposing a law to forbid women acting as
conductors. It was also suggestive when a woman rose and asked of the
speaker on dangerous trades, whether "men did not suffer from exposure
to fumes, acids and dust."
Women have so long been urging that they are people, that they have
forgotten, perchance, that men are people also. Men respond to rest and
recreation as do human beings of the opposite sex. All workers need, and
both sexes should have, protection. But if only one sex in industrial
life can have bulwarks thrown up about it, men should be the favored
ones just now. They are few, they are precious, they should be wrapped
in cotton wool.
The industrial woman should stand unqualifiedly for the exclusion of
children from gainful pursuits. Many years ago the British government
had Miss Collett, one of the Labor Correspondents of the Board of
Trade, make a special study of the influence of the employment of
married women on infant mortality. The object was to prove that there
was direct cause and effect. The investigator, after an exhaustive study
covering many industrial centers, brought back the report, "Not proven."
But the statistics showed one most interesting relation. In districts
where the prevailing custom permitted the employment of children as
early as the law allowed, infant mortality was high, and in districts
where few children were employed, infant mortality was low. No
explanation of this striking revelation was made in the report, but many
who commented on the tables, pointed out that the wide-spread employment
of the population in its early years sapped the vitality of the
community to such an extent that its offspring were weakened. In other
words, the employment of the immature child, more than the employment of
that child when grown and married, works harm to the race.
The woman with a pay envelope must not, then, be willing to swell the
family budget by turning her children into the wage market. For if she
does, she creates a dangerous competitor for herself, and puts in
certain jeopardy the virility of her nation. But in this war time women
have secured more than new and larger pay envelopes, for each
belligerent has reckoned up the woman's worth as mother in coin of the
realm. It is enough to turn Eve's head--pay and pensions accorded her
all at once.
Allowances to dependents are more, however, than financial expedients.
They are part of the psychological stage-setting of the Great War. The
fighting man must be more than well-fed, well-clothed, well-equipped,
more than assured of care if ill or wounded; he must have his mind
undisturbed by conditions at home. Governments now know that there must
be no just cause for complaint in the family at the rear, if the man at
the front is to be fully effective. In the interest of the fighting
line, governments dare not leave the home to the haphazard care
And so the great belligerents have adopted systems for an uninterrupted
flow of money aid to the hearthstone. The wife feels dependence on the
nation for which she and her man are making sacrifices, the soldier has
a sense of closer relationship with the country's cause for which he
fights. Content at home and sense of gratitude in the trenches build up
loyalty everywhere. The state allowance answers an economic want and a
It is part of our national lack of technique that we were slow to make
provision for the dependents of enlisted men, and even then were not
whole hearted. It may have been our inherited distrust of the conscript
that led us to feel that only by his volunteering something will a
precious antidote be administered to the spirit of the drafted man. To
protect his individualism from taint, the United States soldier must
bear part of the financial burden. Europe, on the other hand, is working
on a basis of reciprocity. The nation exacts service from the man and
gives complete service to his dependents. In America the man is bound to
serve the community, but the community is not bound to serve him. And
yet in our case there is peculiar need of this even exchange of
obligations. The care of parents in the United States falls directly
upon their children, while some of our allies had, even before the war,
carefully devised laws regulating pensions to the aged.
But first let us get the simple skeleton of the various allowance laws
in mind. The scale of the allowance in different countries adapts itself
to national standards and varying cost of living. The Canadian allowance
seems the most generous. At least one-half of the soldier's pay is
given directly to his dependents. The government gives an additional
twenty dollars and the donations of the Patriotic Fund bring up the
monthly allowance of a wife with three children to sixty dollars. The
allowance, as might be expected, is low in Italy. The soldier's wife
gets eight-tenths of a lira a day, each child four-tenths lira, and
either a father or mother alone eight-tenths lira, or if both are
living, one and three-tenths lire together. The British allowance is
much higher, the wife getting twelve shillings and sixpence a week. If
she has one child, the weekly allowance rises to nineteen and sixpence;
if two children, to twenty-four and sixpence; if three, to twenty-eight
shillings; and if there are four or more children, the mother receives
three shillings a week for each extra child.
Between the extremes of Italy and England stands France, the wife
receiving one franc twenty-five centimes a day, each child under sixteen
years of age twenty-five centimes, and a dependent parent seventy-five
centimes. Japan grants no government allowance. A Japanese official, in
response to my inquiry, wrote, "Relations the first and friends the next
try to help the dependents as far as possible, but if they have neither
relatives nor friends who have sufficient means to help them, then the
association consisting of ladies or the municipal officials afford
subvention to them."
Under the law passed by Congress in October, 1917, an American private
receiving thirty-three dollars a month when on service abroad must allot
fifteen dollars a month to his wife, and the government adds to this
twenty-five dollars, and if there is one child, an additional ten
dollars, with five dollars for each additional child. A man can secure
an allowance from the government of ten dollars a month to a dependent
parent, if he allots five dollars a month. Such are the bare bones of
the allowance schemes of the Allies on the western front.
In the United States the general policy of exemption boards, as
suggested by the central authorities, is most disciplinary as regards
women. Their capacity for self-support is rigidly inquired into. Our men
are definitely urging women to a position of economic independence. The
aim is, while securing soldiers for the army, to relieve the government
of the expense of dependency on the part of women. There is no doubt
that our men at least are faced toward the future. No less indicative
is it of a new world that the allowance laws of all the western
belligerents recognize common-law marriages. In our own law, marriage is
"presumed if the man and woman have lived together in the openly
acknowledged relation of husband and wife during two years immediately
preceding the date of the declaration of war." And the illegitimate
child stands equal with the legitimate provided the father acknowledges
the child or has been "judicially ordered or decreed to contribute" to
the child's support.
Men are feminists. Their hearts have softened even towards the wife's
relatives, for the word "parent" is not only broad enough to cover the
father, mother, grandparents or stepfather and mother of the man, but
"of the spouse" also. Thus passeth the curse of the mother-in-law.
One need not be endowed with the spirit of prophecy to foretell that
"allowances" in war time will broaden out into motherhood pensions in
peace times. It would be an ordinary human reaction should the woman
enjoying a pension refuse to give up, on the day peace is declared, her
quickly acquired habit of holding the purse strings. That would be
accepting international calm at the expense of domestic differences.
The social value of encouraging the mother's natural feeling of
responsibility toward her child by putting into her hands a state
pension is being, let us note, widely tested, and may demonstrate the
wisdom and economy of devoting public funds to mothers rather than to
creches and juvenile asylums.
The allowance laws may prove the charter of woman's liberties;
her pay envelope may become her contract securing the right of
"Employ them." This was the advice given to a large conference of women
met to discuss business opportunities for their sex. The advice was
vouchsafed by a young lawyer after the problem of opening wider fields
to women in the legal profession had been looked at from every angle,
only to end in the question, "What can we do to increase their
practice?" She spoke with animation, as if she had found the key to the
situation, "Employ them." Perhaps more self-accusation than
determination to mend their ways was roused by the short and
The advice has wider application. Taking thirty names of women at
random, I learned in response to an inquiry that only four had women
physicians, two had women lawyers, and only one, a woman dentist.
Twenty-five women of large real estate holdings had never even for the
most unimportant work secured the services of an architect of their own
sex. Further inquiry brought out the fact that of a long list of
women's clubs and associations which have built or altered property for
their purposes, only one had engaged a woman architect.
Perhaps it is indicative of a lack of nothing more serious than a sense
of humor, that we women unite and, apparently without embarrassment,
demand that masculine presidents, governors, mayors and legislatures
shall appoint women to office. This unabashed faith in the good will of
men seems not misplaced, for not only do public men show some confidence
in the official capacity of women, but to my inquiry as to whom was due
their opportunities to "get on," business women invariably replied,
However, the loyalty of women to women is increasing, and their
solidarity on sound lines of service is a thing of steady growth.
Thoughtful women, for instance, do not wish a woman put in a position of
responsibility simply because she is a woman, but they are even more
opposed to having a candidate of peculiar fitness overlooked merely
because she is not a man. While the conscientious and poised women are
not willing to urge any and every woman for a given office, they do
tenaciously hold that there are positions which cry aloud for women and
for which the right women should he found. In conquering a fair field,
women will have to pool their brains even more effectively than they
have in the past.
Our efforts at combination are a mere mushroom growth compared with the
generations of training our big brothers have had in pooling brains. War
and the chase gave them their first lessons in cooperation, nor has war
been a bad teacher for women.
Just as the Crimean War and our Civil War put Florence Nightingale and
Clara Barton and the trained nurse on the map, this war is bringing the
medical woman to the fore. Women surgeons and doctors, unlike many other
groups, offer themselves fully trained for service. They know they have
something to give, and they know the soldiers' need.
According to an official statement, the emergency call of the army for
men physicians and surgeons fell two thousand short of being answered.
The necessity of the soldier and the skill of the women will no doubt in
the end be brought effectively together; for although the government of
the United States, like Great Britain in the early days of the war, has
left to ever farseeing France the honor of extending hospitality to
American women doctors, their strong national organization, with a
membership of four thousand, will in time, no doubt, persuade Uncle Sam
to take his plucky women doctors over the top under the Stars and
Stripes! Organization crystallized about an unselfish desire and skilled
ability to serve is irresistible.
The pooling of the brains of women that has been going on on a
country-wide scale for more than a half-century bears analyzing. These
associations have almost invariably centered about a service to be
rendered. Even the first petition for political enfranchisement urged it
as the "duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the
elective franchise." Unselfishness draws numbers as a magnet draws steel
filings. The spirit of service lying at the heart of the great national
organizations made possible quick response to new duties immediately
upon our entrance into the war. The suffragists said, We wish to serve
and we are ready for service. The government used their wide-spread net
of local centers for purposes of registrations and war appeals.
Naturally there were many efforts more foolish than effective in the
universal rush to help. America was not peculiar in this, nor for the
matter of that, were women. War!--it does make the blood course through
the veins. Every generous citizen cries aloud, "What can I do?" Perhaps
men are a little more voluble than women, their emotions not finding
such immediate and approved vent along clicking needles and tangled
skeins of wool. On the whole, the initiative and organizing ability of
women has stood out supremely.
Of the two departments of the Red Cross which are still left in the
command of women, the Bureau of Nursing, with Miss Delano at its head,
mobilized immediately three thousand of the fourteen thousand nurses
enrolled. The first Red Cross Medical Unit with its full quota of
sixty-five nurses completely equipped stood on European soil before an
American soldier was there. Of the forty-nine units ready for service,
twelve, with from sixty-five to one hundred nurses each, are now in
France. Two of the five units organized for the navy, each with its
forty active nurses and twenty reserves, are established abroad, and two
hundred and thirty nurses are already in active naval service here. Miss
Delano holds constantly in reserve fifteen hundred nurses as emergency
detachments, a reservoir from which some eight hundred have been drawn
for cantonment hospitals. An inflow of nearly one thousand nurses each
month keeps the reservoir ready to meet the drain.
The Chapter work-rooms sprang up at a call in the night. No one can help
admiring their well-ordered functioning. There may be criticism,
grumbling, but the work-room is moving irresistibly, like a well-oiled
machine. And women are the motive power from start to finish. The
Chapters, with their five million members joined in three thousand units
over the United States, are so many monuments to the ability of women
for detail. Once mobilized, the women have thus far been able to serve
two thousand war hospitals with surgical dressings, and to send abroad
thirteen million separate articles packed carefully, boxed, labelled and
accounted for on their books.
Not only does this directing of manual work stand to the credit of the
Chapters, but they have given courses of lectures in home nursing and
dietetics to thirty-four thousand women, and in first aid; ten thousand
classes have been held and seventy-five thousand certificates issued to
the proficient. Certainly one object of the Red Cross, "to stimulate the
volunteer work of women," has been accomplished.
It is difficult to understand why, with such examples of women's
efficiency before it, the Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, places
merely two bureaus in the hands of a woman, has chosen no woman as an
officer, has put but one woman on its central and executive committee,
and not a single woman on its present controlling body, the War Council.
It may be that the protest against the centralization of all volunteer
effort in the Red Cross, in spite of President Wilson's appeal, was due
to the fact that women feared that their energies, running to other
lines than nursing and surgical dressings, would be entirely
The honor of the splendid war work of the Young Women's Christian
Association belongs to women. The War Work Council of the National Board
of Young Women's Christian Associations shows an example of how
immediately efficient an established organization can be in an
emergency. As one sees its great War Fund roll up, one exclaims, "What
money raisers women are!" The immediate demands upon the fund are for
Hostess Houses at cantonments where soldiers can meet their women
visitors, dormitories providing emergency housing for women employees at
certain army centers, the strengthening of club work among the younger
girls of the nation, profoundly affected by war conditions, and the
sending of experienced organizers to cooeperate with the women leaders
of France and Russia and to install nurses' huts at the base hospitals
of France. It makes one's heart beat high to think of women spending
millions splendidly, they who have always been told to save pennies
frugally! Well, those hard days were times of training; women learned
not to waste.
A very worthy pooling of brains, because springing up with no tradition
behind it, was the National League for Woman's Service. In six months it
drew to itself two hundred thousand members and built organizations in
thirty-nine States, established classes to train women for the new work
opening to them, opened recreation centers and canteens at which were
entertained on a single Sunday, at one center, eighteen hundred soldiers
and sailors. So excellent was its Bureau of Registration and Information
for women workers that the United States Department of Labor took over
not only the files and methods of the Woman's League for Service, but
the entire staff with Miss Obenauer at its head. If imitation is the
sincerest flattery, what shall we say of complete adoption of work and
workers, with an honorable "by your leave" and outspoken praise! And
nothing could show a finer spirit of service than this yielding up of
work initiated by a civil society and the willing passing of it into
Not only the Labor Department has established a special women's division
with a woman at its head, but the Ordnance Office of the War Department
has opened in its Industrial Service Section a woman's division, putting
Miss Mary Van Kleeck in charge.
But still our government lags behind our Allies in mobilizing woman's
power of initiative and her organizing faculty. The Woman's Committee
of the Council of National Defense, appointed soon after the outbreak of
war, still has no administrative power. As one member of the Committee
says, "We are not allowed to do anything without the consent of the
Council of National Defense. There is no appropriation for the Woman's
Committee. We are furnished with headquarters, stationery, some printing
and two stenographers, but nothing more. It is essential that we raise
money to carry on the other expenses. The great trouble is that now, as
always, men want women to do the work while they do the overseeing."
[Illustration: The women of the Motor Corps of the National League for
Woman's Service refuting the traditions that women have neither strength
Perhaps holding the helm has become second nature to men simply because
they have held the helm so long, but I am inclined to think they have a
very definite desire to have women help steer the ship. Surely the
readiness with which they are sharing their political power with women,
would seem to indicate their wish for cooperation on a plan of
In any case, it is not necessary to hang on the skirts of government.
America has always shown evidence of greater gift in private enterprise
than state action. Perhaps women will demonstrate the national
characteristic. It was farsightedness and enterprise that led the
Intercollegiate Bureaus of Occupations, societies run for women by
women, to strike out in this crisis and open up new callings for their
clients, and still better, to persuade colleges and schools to modify
curricula to meet the changed demands.
Women are often passed over because they are not prepared.
The Bureaus have found the demand for women in industrial chemistry and
physics, for instance, to be greater than the supply because the
graduates of women's colleges have not been carried far enough in
mathematics, and in chemistry have been kept too much to theoretical
text-book work. For example, the head of a certain industry was willing
to give the position of chemist at his works to a woman. He needed some
one to suggest changes in process from time to time, and to watch waste.
He set down eight simple problems such as might arise any day in his
factory for the candidates to answer. Some of the women, all college
graduates, who had specialized in chemistry, could not answer a single
problem, and none showed that grip of the science which would enable
them to give other than rule of thumb solutions. He engaged a man.
In answering the questionnaire which the New York Bureau of Occupations
sent to one hundred and twenty-five industrial plants, the manager in
almost every case replied, in regard to the possibility of employing
women in such positions as research or control chemists, that applicants
were "badly prepared." As hand workers, too, women are handicapped by
lack of knowledge of machinery. In this tool age, high school girls are
cut off from technical education, although they are destined to carry on
in large measure our skilled trades. I am told that in Germany many
factories had to close because only women were available as managers,
and they had not been fitted by business and technical schools for
If women individually are looking for a soft place, if they are afraid,
as one manager expressed it, "to put on overalls and go into a vat,"
even when their country is so in need of their service, it is futile for
them to ask collectively for equal opportunity and equal pay; if they
individually fail to prepare as for a life work, regarding themselves as
but temporarily in business or a profession, their collective demand
upon the world for a fair field and no favor will be as ineffective as
The doors stand wide open. It rests with women themselves as to whether
they shall enter in.
To the steady appeals of the employment bureaus, backed by the stern
facts of life, the colleges are yielding. On examination I found that
curricula are already being modified. None but the sorriest pessimist
could doubt the nature of the final outcome, on realizing the pooling of
brains which is going on in such associations as the Intercollegiate
Bureau of Occupations and the League for Business Opportunities. They
work to the end of having young women not only soundly prepared for the
new openings, but sensitive to the demands of a world set towards
Not only is there call for a pooling of brains to look after the timid
and unready, but there is need of combination to open the gates for the
prepared and brave. Few who cheered the Red Cross nurses as they made
their stirring march on Fifth Avenue, knew that those devoted women
would, on entering the Military Nurse Corps, find themselves the only
nurses among the Allies without a position of honor. The humiliation to
our nurses in placing them below the orderlies in the hospitals is not
only a blow to their esprit de corps, but a definite handicap to their
efficiency. A nurse who was at the head of the nursing staff in a state
hospital wrote from the front: "There is one thing the Nursing Committee
needs to work for, and work hard, too, and that is, to make for nurses
the rank of lieutenant. The Canadians have it, why not the Americans?
You will find that it will make a tremendous difference. You see, there
are no officers in our nursing personnel. One of our staff says we are
the hired extras! It is really a great mistake." Uncle Sam may merely be
waiting for a concentrated drive of public opinion against his tardy
[Illustration: Down the street they come, beginning their pilgrimage of
alleviation and succor on the battlefields of France.]
And why should it be necessary to urge that while scores of young men
are dashing to death in endeavors to learn to fly, there are women
unmobilized who know how to soar aloft in safety? They have never, it is
true, been submitted to laboratory tests in twirlings and twistings, but
they reach the zenith. Two carried off the records in long distance
flights, but both have been refused admission to the Flying Corps. Will
it need a campaign to secure for our army this efficient service? Must
women pool their brains to have Ruth Law spread her protecting wings
over our boys in France?
To any one who realizes the significance of the military situation as it
stands, and who is cognizant of the contrast between Germany's use of
her entire people in her national effort, and the slow mobilization of
woman-power among the Allies and entire lack of anything worthy the name
of mobilization of the labor-power of women in the United States, there
will come a determination to bury every jealousy between woman and
woman, all prejudice in men, to cut red tape in government, with the one
object of combining all resources.
The full power of our men must be thrown into military effort. And,
then, if as a nation we have brains to pool, we will not stand niggling,
but will throw women doctors in to render their service, grant to the
nurse corps what it needs to ensure efficiency, throw open the technical
schools to girls as well as to boys, modify the college course to meet
the facts of life. Each woman unprepared is a national handicap, each
prejudice blocking the use of woman-power is treachery to our cause.
As to the final outcome of united thought and group action among women,
no one can doubt. Contacts will rub off angles, capable service will
break down sex prejudice and overcome government opposition. But there
is not time to wait for the slow development of "final outcomes."
Women must pool their brains against their own shortcomings, and in
favor of their own ability to back up their country now and here.
"BUSINESS AS USUAL"
It is a platitude to say that America is the most extravagant nation on
earth. The whole world tells us so, and we do not deny it, being,
indeed, a bit proud of the fact. Who is there among us who does not
respond with sympathetic understanding to the defense of the bride
reprimanded for extravagance by her mother-in-law (women have
mothers-in-law), "John and I find we can do without the necessities of
life. It's the luxuries we must have." One of the obstacles to complete
mobilization of our country is extravagance. And at the center of this
national failing sits the American woman enthroned.
Europe found it could not allow old-time luxury trades to go on, if the
war was to be won. "Business as usual" is not in harmony with victory.
I remember the first time I heard the slogan, and how it carried me and
everyone else away. The Zeppelins had visited London the night before.
A house in Red Lion Mews was crushed down into its cellar, a heap of
ruins. Every pane of glass was shattered in the hospitals surrounding
Queen's Square, and ploughed deep, making a great basin in the center of
the grass, lay the remnants of the bomb that had buried itself in the
heart of England. The shops along Theobald's Road were wrecked, but in
the heaps of broken glass in each show window were improvised signs such
as, "Don't sympathize with us, buy something." The sign which was
displayed oftenest read, "Business as usual."
The first I noticed was in the window of a print shop, the owner a
woman. I talked to her through the frame of the shattered glass. She
looked very pale and her face was cut, but she and everyone else was
calm. And no one was doing business as usual more composedly than a wee
tot trudging along to school with a nasty scratch from a glass splinter
on her chubby cheek.
"Business as usual" expressed the fine spirit, the courage, the
determination of a people. As the sporting motto of an indomitable race,
it was very splendid. But war is not a sport, it is a cold, hard
science, demanding every energy of the nation for its successful
pursuit. In proportion as our indulgence in luxury has been greater
than that of any European nation, our challenge to every business must
be the more insistent. There must be a straight answer to two questions:
Does this enterprise render direct war service, or, if not, is it
essential to the well-being of our citizens?
But the discipline will not come from the gods. Nor will our government
readily turn taskmaster. The effort must come largely as
self-discipline, growing into group determination to win the war and the
conviction that it is impossible to achieve victory and conserve the
virility of our people, if any considerable part of the community
devotes its time, energy and money to creating useless things. A nation
can make good in this cataclysm only if it centers its whole power on
the two objects in view: military victory, and husbanding of life and
resources at home.
Let me hasten to add that the act of creating a thing does not include
only the processes of industry. The act of buying is creative. The riot
of luxury trades in the United States will not end so long as the
American woman remains a steady buyer of luxuries. The mobilization of
women as workers is no more essential to the triumph of our cause, than
the mobilization of women for thrift. The beginning and end of saving
in America rests almost entirely in the hands of women. They are the
buyers in the working class and in the professional class. Among the
wealthy they set the standard of living.
Practically every appeal for thrift has been addressed to the rich. I am
not referring to the supply of channels into which to pour savings, but
to appeals to make the economies which will furnish the means to buy
stamps or bonds. Those appeals are addressed almost wholly to the
well-to-do, as for example, suggestions as to reducing courses at dinner
or cutting out "that fourth meal."
Self-denial, no doubt, is supposed to be good for the millionaire soul,
but to such it is chiefly recommended, I think, as an example sure of
imitation. What the rich do, other women will follow, is the idea. But
the steady insistence that we fight in this war for democracy has put
into the minds of the people very definite demands for independence and
In such a democratic world the newly adopted habits of the wealthy will
not prove widely convincing. Economy needs other than an
[Illustration: How can business be "as usual" when in Paris there are
about 1800 of these small workshops where a woman dips Bengal Fire and
grenades into a bath of paraffin!]
I do not mean to under-estimate the value of economy in the well-to-do
class. There is no doubt that shop windows on Fifth Avenue are a severe
commentary upon our present intelligence and earnestness of purpose. No
one, I think, would deny that it would be a service if the woman of
fashion ceased to drape fur here, there and everywhere on her gowns
except where she might really need the thick pelt to keep her warm, and
instead saved the price of the garment which serves no purpose but that
of display, and gave the money in Liberty Bonds to buy a fur-lined coat
for some soldier, or food for a starving baby abroad. And overburdened
as the railways are with freight and ordinary passenger traffic, I am
sure the general public will not fail to appreciate to the full a
self-denial which leads patrons of private cars, Pullman and dining
coaches to abandon their self-indulgence.
Undoubtedly economy among the rich is of value. I presume few would
gainsay that it would have been well for America if the use of private
automobiles had long since ceased, and the labor and plants used in
their making turned to manufacturing much-needed trucks and ambulances.
But while not inclined to belittle the work of any possible saving and
self-sacrifice on the part of those of wealth, it seems to me that the
most fruitful field for war economy lies among simple people. Thrift
waits for democratization.
We of limited means hug some of the most extravagant of habits. The
average working-class family enjoys none of the fruits of cooeperation We
keep each to our isolated family group, while the richer a person is the
more does she gather under her roof representatives of other families.
Her cook may come from the Berri family, the waitress may be an
Andersen, the nurse an O'Hara.
The poor might well practice the economy of fellowship.
The better-off live in apartment houses where the economy of central
heating is practised, while the majority of the poor occupy tenements
where the extravagance of the individual stove is indulged in. The
saving of coal is urged, but the authorities do not seek to secure for
the poor the comfort of the true method of fuel saving.
The richer a family is, the more it saves by the use of skilled service.
The poor, clinging to their prejudices and refusing to trust one
another, do not profit by cooeperative buying, or by central kitchens run
by experts. Money is wasted by amateurish selection of food and
clothing, and nutritive values are squandered by poor cooking.
Unfortunately Uncle Sam does not suggest how many War Saving Stamps
could be bought as a result of economy along these lines.
The woman with the pay envelope may democratize thrift. She knows how
hard it is to earn money, and has learned to make her wages reach a long
way. Then, too, she has it brought home to her each pay day that health
is capital. She finds that it is economy to keep well, for lost time
brings a light pay envelope. Every woman who keeps herself in condition
is making a war saving. There has been no propaganda as yet appealing to
women to value dress according to durability and comfort rather than
according to its prettiness, to bow to no fashion which means the
lessening of power. To corset herself as fashion dictates, to prop
herself on high heels, means to a woman just so much lost efficiency,
and even the most thoughtless, if appealed to for national saving, might
learn to turn by preference in dress, in habits, in recreation, to the
The Japanese, I am told, make a ceremony of going out from the city to
enjoy the beauties of a moonlight night. We go to a stuffy theatre and
applaud a night "set." Nature gives her children the one, and the
producer charges his patrons for the other. A propaganda of democratic
war economy would teach us to delight in the beauties of nature.
In making the change from business as usual to economy, Europe suffered
hardship, because although the retrenchments suggested were fairly
democratic it had not created channels into which savings might be
thrown with certainty of their flowing on to safe expenditures. Europe
was not ready with its great thrift schemes, nor had the adjustments
been made which would enable a shop to turn out a needed uniform, let us
say, in place of a useless dress.
Definite use of savings has been provided for in the United States. The
government needs goods of every kind to make our military effort
successful. Camps must be built for training the soldiers, uniforms,
guns and ammunition supplied. Transportation on land and sea is called
for. The government needs money to carry on the industries essential to
winning the war.
If a plucky girl who works in a button factory refuses to buy an
ornament which she at first thought of getting to decorate her belt, and
puts that twenty-five cents into a War Saving Stamp, all in the spirit
of backing up her man at the front, she will not find herself thrown
out of employment; instead, while demands for unnecessary ornamental
fastenings will gradually cease, she will be kept busy on
Profiting by the errors of those nations who had to blaze out new paths,
the United States knit into law, a few months after the declaration of
war, not only the quick drafting of its man-power for military service,
but methods of absorbing the people's savings. If we neither waste nor
hoard, we will not suffer as did Europe from wide-spread unemployment.
There is more work to be done than our available labor-power can meet.
There is nothing to fear from the curtailment of luxury; our danger lies
in lack of a sound definition of extravagance. Uncle Sam could get more
by appeals to simple folk than by homilies preached to the rich. The
Great War is a conflict between the ideals of the peoples. 'Tis a
people's war, and with women as half the people. The savings made to
support the war must needs, then, be made by the people, for the people.
There has been no compelling propaganda to that end. The suggestion of
mere "cutting down" may be a valuable goal to set for the well-to-do,
but it is not a mark to be hit by those already down to bed rock. The
only saving possible to those living on narrow margins is by
cooeperation, civil or state.
It is a mad extravagance, for instance, to kill with autos children at
play in the streets. A saving of life could easily be achieved through
group action, by securing children's attendants, by opening play-grounds
on the roofs of churches and public buildings, by shutting off streets
dedicated to the sacred right of children to play. This would be a war
saving touching the heart and the enthusiasm of the people.
Central municipal heating is not a wild dream, but a recognized economy
in many places. Municipal kitchens are not vague surmisings, but facts
achieved in the towns of Europe. They are forms of war thrift. In
America no such converting examples of economy are as yet given, and not
an appeal has been made to women to save through solidarity.
Uncle Sam has been commendably quick and wise in offering a reservoir to
hold the tiny savings, but slow in starting a democratic propaganda
suggesting ways of saving the pennies.
If business as usual is a poor motto, so is life as usual, habits as
"AS MOTHER USED TO DO"
Man's admiration for things as mother used to do them is as great an
obstacle as business as usual in the path of winning the war and
husbanding the race. The glamour surrounding the economic feats of
mother in the past hides the shortcomings of today.
I once saw one of her old fortresses, a manor home where in bygone days
she had reigned supreme. In the court yard was the smoke house where she
cured meat and fish. In the cellar were the caldrons and vats where long
ago she tried tallow and brewed beer. And there were all the utensils
for dealing with flax. In the garret I saw the spindles for spinning
cotton and wool, and the hand looms for weaving the homespun. In her
day, mother was a great creator of wealth.
But then an economic earthquake came. Foundations were shaken, the roof
was torn off her domestic workshop. Steam and machinery, like cyclones,
carried away her industries, and nothing was left to her but odds and
ends of occupations.
Toiling in the family circle from the days of the cave dwellers, mother
had become so intimately associated in the tribal mind with the
hearthstone that the home was called her sphere. Around this segregation
accumulated accretions of opinion, layer on layer emanating from the
mind of her mate. Let us call the accretions the Adamistic Theory. Its
authors happened to be the government and could use the public treasury
in furtherance of publicity for their ideas set forth in hieroglyphics
cut in stone, or written in plain English and printed on the front page
of an American daily.
One of the few occupations left to mother after the disruption of her
sphere at the end of the eighteenth century was the preparation of food.
In the minds of men, food, from its seed sowing up to its mastication,
has always been associated with woman. Mention food and the average man
thinks of mother. That is the Adam in him. And so, quite naturally, one
must first consider this relation of women to food in the
[Illustration: Countess de Berkaim and her canteen in the Gare de St.
When the world under war conditions asked to be fed, Adam, running true
to his theory, pointed to mother as the source of supply, and declared
with an emphasis that came of implicit faith, that the universe need
want for nothing, if each woman would eliminate waste in her kitchen and
become a voluntary and obedient reflector of the decisions of state and
national food authorities. This solution presupposed a highly developed
sense of community devotion in women running hand in hand with entire
lack of gift for community action. Woman, it was expected, would display
more than her proverbial lack of logic by embracing with enthusiasm
state direction and at the same time remain an exemplar of
individualistic performance. The Adamistic scheme seems still further to
demand for its smooth working that the feminine group show
self-abnegation and agree that it is not itself suited to reason out
It is within the range of possibility, however, that no comprehensive
scheme of food conservation or effective saving in any line can be
imposed on women without consulting them. The negro who agreed "dat de
colored folk should keep in dar places," touched a fundamental note in
human nature, over-running sex as well as racial boundaries, when he
added, "and de colored folk must do de placin'." It might seem to run
counter to this bit of wisdom for women to be told that the welfare of
the world depends upon them, and then for no woman to be given
administrative power to mobilize the group.
But the contest between man's devotion to the habits of his ancestry in
the female line, and the ideas of his very living women folk, is as
trying to him as it is interesting to the outside observer. The
conflicting forces illustrate a universal fact. It is always true that
the ruling class, when a discipline and a sacrifice are recognized as
necessary, endeavors to make it appear that the new obligation should be
shouldered by the less powerful. For instance, to take an illustration
quite outside the domestic circle, when America first became convinced
that military preparation was incumbent upon us, the ruling class would
scarcely discuss conscription, much less adopt universal service. That
is, it vetoed self-discipline. In many States, laws were passed putting
off upon children in the schools the training which the voting adults
knew the nation needed.
In the same way, when food falls short and the victualing of the world
becomes a pressing duty, the governing class adopts a thesis that a
politically less-favored group can, by saving in small and painful ways,
accumulate the extra food necessary to keep the world from starving.
The ruling class seeks cover in primitive ideas, accuses Eve of
introducing sin into the world, and calls upon her to mend her
Men, of course, know intellectually that much food is a factory product
in these days, but emotionally they have a picture of mother, still
supplying the family in a complete, secret, and silent manner.
This Adamistic emotion takes command at the crisis, for when human
beings are suddenly faced with a new and agitating situation, primitive
ideas seize them. Mother, it is true, did create the goods for immediate
consumption, and so the sons of Adam, in a spirit of admiration, doffing
their helmets, so to speak, to the primitive woman, turn in this time of
stress and call confidently upon Eve's daughters to create and save. The
confidence is touching, but perhaps the feminine reaction will not be,
and perchance ought not to be just such as Adam expects.
Women have passed in aspiration, and to some extent in action, out of
the ultra-individualistic stage of civilization.
The food propaganda reflects the hiatus in Adam's thought. I have looked
over hundreds of publications issued by the agricultural departments
and colleges of the various States. They tell housewives what to "put
into the garbage pail," what to "keep out of the garbage pail," what to
substitute for wheat, how to make soap, but, with a single exception,
not a word issued suggests to women any saving through group action.
This exception, which stood out as a beacon light in an ocean of
literature worthy of the Stone Age, was a small pamphlet issued by the
Michigan Agricultural College on luncheons in rural schools. Sound
doctrine was preached on the need of the children for substantial and
warm noon meals, and the comparative ease and economy with which such
luncheons could be provided at the school house. Children can of course
be better and more cheaply fed as a group than as isolated units
supplied with a cold home-prepared lunch box. And yet with the whole
machinery of the state in his hands, Adam's commissions, backed by the
people's money, goad mother on to isolated endeavor. She plants and
weeds and harvests. She dries and cans, preserves and pickles. Then she
calculates and perchance finds that her finished product is not always
of the best and has often cost more than if purchased in the
It may be the truest devotion to our Allies to challenge the
individualistic role recommended by Adam to mother, for it will hinder,
not help, the feeding of the world to put women back under eighteenth
century conditions. Food is short and expensive because labor is short.
And even when the harvest is ripe, the saving of food cannot be set as a
separate and commendable goal, and the choice as to where labor shall be
expended as negligible. It is a prejudiced devotion to mother and her
ways which leads Adam in his food pamphlets to advise that a woman shall
sit in her chimney corner and spend time peeling a peach "very thin,"
when hundreds of bushels of peaches rot in the orchards for lack of
hands to pick them.
Just how wide Adam's Eve has opened the gate of Eden and looked out into
the big world is not entirely clear, but probably wide enough to glimpse
the fact that all the advice Adam has recently given to her runs counter
to man's method of achievement. Men have preached to one another for a
hundred years and more and practiced so successfully the concentration
in industry of unlimited machinery with a few hands, that even mother
knows some of the truths in regard to the creation of wealth in the
business world, and she is probably not incapable of drawing a
conclusion from her own experience in the transfer of work from the
home to the factory.
If they are city dwellers, women have seen bread and preserves
transferred; if farm dwellers, they have seen the curing of meat and
fish transferred, the making of butter and cheese. They know that
because of this transfer the home is cleaner and quieter, more people
better fed and clothed, and the hours of the factory worker made shorter
than those "mother used to work." With half an eye women cannot fail to
note that the labor which used to be occupied in the home in
interminable hours of spinning, baking and preserving, has come to
occupy itself for regulated periods in the school, in business, in
factory or cannery. And lo, Eve finds herself with a pay envelope able
to help support the quieter, cleaner home!
All this is a commonplace to the business man, who knows that the
evolution has gone so far that ten percent of the married women of
America are in gainful pursuits, and that capital ventured on apartment
hotels brings a tempting return.
But the Adamistic theory is based on the dream that women are
contentedly and efficiently conducting in their flats many occupations,
and longing to receive back into the life around the gas-log all those
industries which in years gone by were drawn from the fireside and
established as money making projects in mill or work-shop. And so Adam
addresses an exhortation to his Eve: "Don't buy bread, bake it; don't
buy flour, grind your own; don't buy soap, make it; don't buy canned,
preserved, or dried food, carry on the processes yourself; don't buy
fruits and vegetables, raise them."
Not a doubt seems to exist in Adam's mind as to the efficiency of
functioning woman-power in this way. According to the Adamistic theory,
work as mother used to do it is unqualifiedly perfect. This flattering
faith is naturally balm to women's hearts, and yet there are skeptics
among them. When quite by themselves women speculate as to how much of
the fruit and vegetables now put up in the home will "work."
They smile when the hope is expressed that the quality will rise above
the old-time domestic standard. The home of the past was a beehive in
which women drudged, and little children were weary toilers, and the
result was not of a high grade. Statistics have shown that seventy-five
percent of the home-made bread of America was a poor product. I lived as
a child in the days of home-made bread. Once in so often the batch of
bread "went sour," and there seemed to be an unfailing supply of stale
bread which "must be eaten first." Those who cry out against a city of
bakers' bread, have never lived in a country of the home-made loaf. It
is the Adamistic philosophy, so complimentary to Eve, that leads us to
expect that all housewives can turn out a product as good as that of an
expert who has specialized to the one end of making bread, and who is
supplied with expensive equipment beyond the reach of the individual to
possess. But there are rebellious consumers who point out that the baker
is under the law, while the housewife is a law unto herself. Against the
baker's shortcomings such brave doubters assure us we have redress, we
can refuse to patronize him; against the housewife there is no appeal,
her family must swallow her product to the detriment of digestion.
It may be the brutal truth, taking bread as the index, that only a
quarter of the processes carried on in the home turn out satisfactorily,
while of the other three-quarters, a just verdict may show that mother
gets a "little too much lye" in the soap, cooks the preserves a "little
too hard," "candies the fruit just a little bit," and grinds the flour
in the mill "not quite fine enough."
But perhaps even more than the quality of the product does the question
of the economical disposition of labor-power agitate some women. They
are asking, since labor is very scarce, whether the extreme
individualistic direction of their labor-power is permissible. The vast
majority of American homes are without servants. In those homes are the
women working such short hours that they can, without dropping important
obligations, take over preserving, canning, dehydrating, the making of
bread, soap, and butter substitute? Has the tenement-house dweller
accommodation suitable for introducing these industrial processes into
her home? Would the woman in the small menage in the country be wise in
cutting down time given, for instance, to the care of her baby and to
reading to the older children, and using the precious moments
laboriously to grind wheat to flour? My observation convinces me that
conscientious housewives in servantless or one-servant households, with
work adjusted to a given end, with relative values already determined
upon, are not prepared by acceptance of the Adamistic theory to return
to primitive occupations.
But even if business and home life could respond to the change without
strain, even if both could easily turn back on the road they have come
during the last hundred years, commerce yielding up and the home
re-adopting certain occupations, we should carefully weigh the economic
value of a reversion to primitive methods.
The Adamistic attitude is influenced, perhaps unconsciously but no less
certainly, by the fact that the housewife is an unpaid worker. If an
unpaid person volunteers to do a thing, it is readily assumed that the
particular effort is worth while. "We get the labor for nothing" puts to
rout all thought of valuation. No doubt Adam will have to give over
thinking in this loose way. Labor-power, whether it is paid for or not,
must be used wisely or we shall not be able to maintain the structure of
Then, too, the Adamistic theory weighs and values the housewife's time
as little as it questions the quality of the home product. Any careful
reader of the various "Hints to Housewives" which have appeared, will
note that the "simplifying of meals" recommended would require nearly
double the time to prepare. The simplification takes into consideration
only the question of food substitutions, price and waste. Mother is
supposed to be wholly or largely unemployed and longing for unpaid
toil. Should any housewife conscientiously follow the advice given her
by state and municipal authorities she would be the drudge at the center
of a home quite medieval in development.
Let us take a concrete example:--In a recently published and widely
applauded cookbook put out by a whole committee of Adamistic
philosophers, it is stated that the object of the book is to give
practical hints as to the various ways in which "economies can be
effected and waste saved;" and yet no saving of the woman's time, nerves
and muscles is referred to from cover to cover. The housewife is told,
for instance, to "insist upon getting the meat trimmings." The fat "can
be rendered." And then follows the process in soap-making. Mother is to
place the scraps of fat on the back of the stove. If she "watches it
carefully" and does not allow it to get hot enough to smoke there will
be no odor. No doubt if she removes her watchful eye and turns to bathe
her baby, her tenement will reek with smoking fat. She is to pursue this
trying of fat and nerves day by day until she has six pounds of grease.
Next, she is to "stir it well," cool it, melt it again; she is then to
pour in the lye, "slowly stirring all the time." Add ammonia. Then
"stir the mixture constantly for twenty minutes or half an hour."
In contrast to all this primeval elaboration is the simple, common-sense
rule: Do not buy the trimmings, make the butcher trim meat before
weighing, insist that soap-making shall not be brought back to defile
the home, but remain where it belongs, a trade in which the workers can
be protected by law, and its malodorousness brought under regulation.
In the same spirit the Adamistic suggestion to Eve to save coal by a
"heatless day" is met by the cold challenge of the riotous extravagance
of cooking in twelve separate tenements, twelve separate potatoes, on
twelve separate fires.
The Adamistic theory, through its emphasis on the relation of food to
Eve, and the almost religious necessity of its manipulation at the altar
of the home cook-stove, has drawn thought away from the nutritive side
of what we eat. While the child in the streets is tossing about such
words as calories and carbohydrates with a glibness that comes of much
hearing, physiology and food values are destined to remain as far away
as ever from the average family breakfast table. Segregating a sex in
the home, it is true, centralizes it in a given place, but it does not
necessarily train the individual to function efficiently. Mother, as she
"used to do," cooks by rule of thumb; in fact, how could she do
otherwise, since she must keep one eye on her approving Adam while the
other eye glances at the oven. The Adamistic theory requires
individualistic action, and disapproves specialization in Eve.
The theory also demands economic dependence in the home builder.
Mother's labor is not her own, she lives under the truck system, so to
speak. She is paid in kind for her work. Influenced by the Adamistic
theory, the human animal is the only species in which sex and economic
relations are closely linked, the only one in which the female depends
upon the male for sustenance. Mother must give personal service to those
about her, and in return the law ensures her keep according to the
station of her husband, that is, not according to her ability or
usefulness, but according to the man's earning capacity.
The close association of mother with home in the philosophy of her mate,
has circumscribed her most natural and modest attempts at relaxation.
Mother's holiday is a thing to draw tears from those who contemplate it.
The summer outing means carrying the family from one spot to another,
and making the best of new surroundings for the old group. The "day off"
means a concentration of the usual toil into a few hours, followed by a
hazy passing show that she is too weary to enjoy. The kindly farmer
takes his wife this year to the county fair. She's up at four to "get
on" with the work. She serves breakfast, gives the children an extra
polish in honor of the day, puts on the clean frocks and suits with an
admonition "not to get all mussed up" before the start. The farmer
cheerily counsels haste in order that "we may have a good long day of
it." He does not say what "it" is, but the wife knows. At last the house
is ready to be left, and the wife and her brood are ready to settle down
in the farm wagon.
The fair grounds are reached. Adam has prepared the setting. It has no
relation to mother's needs. It was a most thrilling innovation when in
the summer of 1914 the Women's Political Union first set up big tents at
county fairs, fitted with comfortable chairs for mother, and cots and
toys, nurses and companions for the children. The farmer's wife for the
first time was relieved of care, and could go off to see the sights with
her mind at rest, if she desired anything more active than rocking
lazily with the delicious sensation of having nothing to do.
Women must not blame Adam for lack of thoughtfulness. He cannot put
himself in mother's place. She must do her own thinking or let women who
are capable of thought do it for her.
Men are relieved when mother is independent and happy. The farmer
approved the creche tent at the county fairs. It convinced him that
women have ideas to contribute to the well-being of the community. The
venture proved the greatest of vote getters for the suffrage referendum.
In fact, men themselves are the chief opponents of the Adamistic theory
to-day. The majority want women to organize the home and it is only a
small minority who place obstacles in the way of the wider functioning
of women. It is Eve herself who likes to exaggerate the necessity of her
personal service. I have seen many a primitive housewife grow hot at the
suggestion that her methods need modifying. It seemed like severing the
silken cords by which she held her mate, to challenge her pumpkin pie.
But women are slowly overcoming Eve. Take the item of the care of
children in city parks. The old way is for fifty women to look after
fifty separate children, and thus waste the time of some thirty of them
in keeping fifty miserable children in segregation. The new way, now
successfully initiated, is to form play groups of happy children under
the leadership of capable young women trained for such work.
Salvaging New York City's food waste was a very splendid bit of
cooeperative action on the part of women. Mrs. William H. Lough of the
Women's University Club found on investigation that thousands of tons of
good food are lost by a condemnation, necessarily rough and ready, by
the Board of Health. She secured permission to have the sound and
unsound fruits and vegetables separated and with a large committee of
women saved the food for consumption by the community by dehydrating and
other preserving processes.
This was not as mother used to do.
Mother's ways are being investigated and discarded the whole world
round. At last accounts half the population of Hamburg was being fed
through municipal kitchens and in Great Britain an order has been issued
by Lord Rhondda, the Food Controller, authorizing local authorities to
open kitchens as food distributing centers. The central government is to
bear twenty-five percent of the cost of equipment and lend another
twenty-five percent to start the enterprise.
Mother's cook stove cannot bear the strain of war economies.
Dropping their old segregation, women are going forth in fellowship with
men to meet in new ways the pressing problems of a new world.
A LAND ARMY
Great Britain, France and Germany have mobilized a land army of women;
will the United States do less? Not if the farmer can be brought to have
as much faith in American women as the women have in themselves. And why
should they not have faith; the farm has already tested them out, and
they have not been found wanting. In face of this fine accomplishment
the minds of some men still entertain doubt, or worse, obliviousness, to
the possible contribution of women to land service.
The farmer knows his need and has made clear statement of the national
dilemma in the form of a memorial to the President of the United States.
In part, it is as follows:
"If food is to win the war, as we are assured on every side, the farmers
of America must produce more food in 1918 than they did in 1917. Under
existing conditions we cannot equal the production of 1917, much less
surpass it, and this for reasons over which the farmers have no control.
"The chief causes which will inevitably bring about a smaller crop next
year, unless promptly removed by national action, are six in number, of
which the first is the shortage of farm labor.
"Since the war began in 1914 and before the first draft was made there
is reason to believe that more farm workers had left farms than there
are men in our army and navy together. Those men were drawn away by the
high wages paid in munition plants and other war industries, and their
places remain unfilled. In spite of the new classification, future
drafts will still further reduce the farm labor supply."
With a million and a half men drawn out of the country and ten billion
dollars to be expended on war material, making every ammunition factory
a labor magnet, it seems like the smooth deceptions of prestidigitation
to answer the cry of the farmer with suggestion that men rejected by the
draft or high school boys be paroled to meet the exigency. The farm
can't be run with decrepit men or larking boys, nor the war won with
less than its full quota of soldiers. Legislators, government officials
and farm associations by sudden shifting of labor battalions cannot
camouflage the fact that the front line trenches of the fighting army
and labor force are undermanned.
Women can and will be the substitutes if the experiments already made
are signs of the times.
Groups of women from colleges and seasonal trades have ploughed and
harrowed, sowed and planted, weeded and cultivated, mowed and harvested,
milked and churned, at Vassar, Bryn Mawr and Mount Holyoke, at Newburg
and Milton, at Bedford Hills and Mahwah. It has been demonstrated that
our girls from college and city trade can do farm work, and do it with a
will. And still better, at the end of the season their health wins high
approval from the doctors and their work golden opinions from
Twelve crusaders were chosen from the thirty-three students who
volunteered for dangerous service during a summer vacation on the Vassar
College farm. The twelve ventured out on a new enterprise that meant
aching muscles, sunburn and blisters, but not one of the twelve "ever
lost a day" in their eight hours at hard labor, beginning at four-thirty
each morning for eight weeks during one of our hottest summers. They
ploughed with horses, they ploughed with tractors, they sowed the seed,
they thinned and weeded the plants, they reaped, they raked, they
pitched the hay, they did fencing and milking. The Vassar farm had
bumper crops on its seven hundred and forty acres, and its
superintendent, Mr. Louis P. Gillespie, said, "A very great amount of
the work necessary for the large production was done by our students.
They hoed and cultivated sixteen acres of field corn, ten acres of
ensilage corn, five acres of beans, five acres of potatoes; carried
sheaves of rye and wheat to the shocks and shocked them; and two of the
students milked seven cows at each milking time. In the garden they laid
out a strawberry bed of two thousand plants, helped to plant corn and
beans, picked beans and other vegetables. They took great interest in
the work and did the work just as well as the average man and made good
far beyond the most sanguine expectations."
At first the students were paid twenty-five cents an hour, the same rate
as the male farm hands. The men objected, saying that the young women
were beginners, but by the end of the summer the critics realized that
"brains tell" and said the girls were worth the higher wage, though they
had only been getting, in order to appease the masculine prejudice,
seventeen and a half cents an hour. There is no pleasing some people! If
women are paid less, they are unfair competitors, if they are paid
equally they are being petted--in short, fair competitors.
Mt. Holyoke and Bryn Mawr have made experiments, and, like Vassar,
demonstrated not only that women can, and that satisfactorily, work on
the land, but that they will, and that cheerfully. The groups were happy
and they comprehended that they were doing transcendently important
work, were rendering a patriotic service by filling up the places left
vacant by the drafted men.
The Women's Agricultural Camp, known popularly as the "Bedford Unit,"
proved an experiment rich in practical suggestion. Barnard students,
graduates of the Manhattan Trade School, and girls from seasonal trades
formed the backbone of the group. They were housed in an old farmhouse,
chaperoned by one of the Barnard professors, fed by student dietitians
from the Household Arts Department of Teachers College, transported from
farm to farm by seven chauffeurs, and coached in the arts of Ceres by an
agricultural expert. The "day laborers" as well as the experts were
[Illustration: An agricultural unit, in the uniform approved by the Woman's
Land Army of America.]
In founding the camp Mrs. Charles W. Short, Jr., had three definite
ideas in mind. First, she was convinced that young women could without
ill-effect on their health, and should as a patriotic service, do all
sorts of agricultural work. Second, that in the present crisis the
opening up of new land with women as farm managers is not called for,
but rather the supply of the labor-power on farms already under
cultivation is the need. Third, that the women laborers must, in groups,
have comfortable living conditions without being a burden on the
farmer's wife, must have adequate pay, and must have regulated hours
With these sound ideas as its foundation the camp opened at Mt. Kisco,
backed by the Committee on Agriculture of the Mayor's Committee of Women
on National Defense of New York City, under the chairmanship of Virginia
Gildersleeve, Dean of Barnard College.
At its greatest enrolment the unit had seventy-three members. When the
prejudice of the fanners was overcome, the demand for workers was
greater than the camp could supply. Practically the same processes were
carried through as at Vassar, and the verdict of the farmer on his new
helpers was that "while less strong than men, they more than made up for
this by superior conscientiousness and quickness." Proof of the
genuineness of his estimate was shown in his willingness to pay the
management of the camp the regulation two dollars for an eight hour
working day. And it indicated entire satisfaction with the experiment,
rather than abstract faith in woman, that each farmer anxiously urged
the captain of the group at the end of his first trial to "please bring
the same young ladies tomorrow." He was sure no others so good existed.
The unit plan seems a heaven-born solution of many of the knotty
problems of the farm. In the first place, the farmer gets cheerful and
handy helpers, and his over-worked wife does not find her domestic cares
added to in the hot summer season. The new hands house and feed
themselves. From the point of view of the worker, the advantage is that
her food at the camp is prepared by trained hands and the proverbial
farm isolation gives way to congenial companionship.
These separate experiments growing out of the need of food production
and the shortage of labor have brought new blood to the farm, have
turned the college girl on vacation and, what is more important, being a
solution of an industrial problem, the unemployed in seasonal trades,
into recruits for an agricultural army. And by concentrating workers in
well-run camps there has been attracted to the land a higher order
One obstacle in the way of the immediate success of putting such women
on the land is a wholly mistaken idea in the minds of many persons of
influence in agricultural matters that the new labor can be diverted to
domestic work in the farm house. This view is urged in the following
letter to me from the head of one of our best agricultural colleges:
"The farm labor shortage is much more acute than is generally understood
and I have much confidence in the possibility of a great amount of
useful work in food production being done by women who are physically
strong enough and who can secure sufficient preliminary training to do
this with some degree of efficiency. Probably the larger measure of
service could be done by relieving women now on the farms of this State
from the double burden of indoor work and the attempt to assist in farm
operations and chores. If farm women would get satisfactory domestic
assistance within the house they could add much to the success of field
husbandry. Women who know farm conditions and who could largely take the
place of men in the management of outdoor affairs can accomplish much
more than will ever be possible by drafting city-bred women directly
into garden or other forms of field work."
The opinions expressed in this letter are as generally held as they are
mistaken. In the first place, the theory that the country-bred woman in
America is stronger and healthier than the city-bred has long since been
exploded. The assumption cannot stand up under the facts. Statistics
show that the death rate in the United States is lower in city than in
farm communities, and if any added proof were needed to indicate that
the stamina of city populations overbalances the country it was
furnished by the draft records. Any group of college and Manhattan Trade
School girls could be pitted against a group of women from the farms and
win the laurels in staying powers. Nor must it be overlooked that we are
not dealing here with uncertainties; the mettle of the girls has
In any case the fact must be faced that these agricultural units will
not do domestic work. Nine-tenths of the farm houses in America are
without modern conveniences. The well-appointed barn may have running
water, but the house has not. To undertake work as a domestic helper on
the average farm is to step back into quite primitive conditions. The
farmer's wife can attract no one from city life, where so much
cooperation is enjoyed, to her extreme individualistic surroundings.
A second obstacle to the employment of this new labor-force is due to
the government's failure to see the possibility of saving most valuable
labor-power and achieving an economic gain by dovetailing the idle
months of young women in industrial life into the rush time of
One department suggests excusing farm labor from the draft, as if we had
already fulfilled our obligation in man-power to the battlefront of our
Allies. The United States Senate discusses bringing in coolie and
contract labor, as if we had not demonstrated our unfitness to deal with
less advanced peoples, and as if a republic could live comfortably with
a class of disfranchised workers. The Labor Department declares it will
mobilize for the farm an army of a million boys, as if the wise saw,
"boys will be boys," did not apply with peculiar sharpness of flavor to
the American vintage, God bless them, and as if it were not our plain
duty at this world crisis to spur up rather than check civilizing
agencies and keep our boys in school for the full term.
Refusing to be in the least crushed by government neglect, far-seeing
women determined to organize widely and carefully their solution of the
farm-labor problem. To this end the Women's National Farm and Garden
Association, the Garden Clubs of America, the Young Women's Christian
Association, the Woman's Suffrage Party, the New York Women's University
Club, and the Committee of the Women's Agricultural Camp, met with
representatives of the Grange, of the Cornell Agricultural College, and
of the Farmingdale State School of Agriculture, and formed an advisory
council, the object of which is to "stimulate the formation of a Land
Army of Women to take the places on the farms of the men who are being
drafted for active service." This is to be on a nationwide scale.
The Council has put lecturers in the Granges to bring to the farmer by
the spoken word and lantern slides the value of the labor of women, and
is appealing to colleges, seasonal trades and village communities to
form units for the Land Army. It is asking the cooeperation of the labor
bureaus to act as media through which units may be placed where labor is
This mobilization of woman-power is not yet large or striking. The
effort is entirely civil. But all the more is it praiseworthy. It shows
on the part of women, clear-eyed recognition of facts as they exist and
vision as to the future.
The mobilization of this fresh labor-power should of course be taken in
hand by the government. Not only that, it should be led by women as in
Great Britain and Germany. But the spirit in America today is the same
as in England the first year of the war,--a disposition to exclude women
from full service.
But facts remain facts in spite of prejudice, and the Woman's Land Army,
with faith and enthusiasm in lieu of a national treasury, are
endeavoring to bring woman-power and the untilled fields together. The
proved achievement of the individual worker will win the employer, the
unit plan with its solution of housing conditions and dreary isolation
will overcome not only the opposition of the farmer's wife, but that of
the intelligent worker. When the seed time of the movement has been
lived through by anxious and inspired women, the government may step in
to reap the harvest of a nation's gratitude.
The mobilization of woman-power on the farm is the need of the hour, and
the wise and devoted women who are trying to answer the need, deserve an
all-hail from the people of the United States and her Allies.
WOMAN'S PART IN SAVING CIVILIZATION
Men have played--all honor to them--the major part in the actual
conflict of the war. Women will mobilize for the major part of binding
up the wounds and conserving civilization.
The spirit of the world might almost be supposed to have been looking
forward to this day and clearly seeing its needs, so well are women
being prepared to receive and carry steadily the burden which will be
laid on their shoulders. For three-quarters of a century schools and
colleges have given to women what they had to confer in the way of
discipline. Gainful pursuits were opened up to them, adding training in
ordered occupation and self-support. Lastly has come the Great War, with
its drill in sacrifice and economy, its larger opportunities to function
and achieve, its ideals of democracy which have directly and quickly led
to the political enfranchisement of women in countries widely separated.
Fate has prepared women to share fully in the saving of civilization.
Whether victory be ours in the immediate future, or whether the dangers
rising so clearly on the horizon develop into fresh alignments leading
to years of war, civilization stands in jeopardy. Political ideals and
ultimate social aims may remain intact, but the immediate, practical
maintenance of those standards of life which are necessary to ensure
strong and fruitful reactions are in danger of being swept away.
We have been destroying the life, the wealth and beauty of the world.
The nobility of our aim in the war must not blind us to the awfulness
and the magnitude of the destruction. In the fighting forces there are
at least thirty-eight million men involved in international or civil
conflict. Over four million men have fallen, and three million have been
maimed for life. Disease has taken its toll of fighting strength and
economic power. In addition to all this human depletion, we have the
loss of life and the destruction of health and initiative in harried
peoples madly flying across their borders from invading armies.
Starvation has swept across wide areas, and steady underfeeding rules in
every country in Europe and in the cities of America, letting loose
malnutrition, that hidden enemy whose ambushes are more serious than the
attacks of an open foe. The world is sick.
And the world is poor. The nations have spent over a hundred billions on
the war, and that is but part of the wealth which has gone down in the
catastrophe. Thousands of square miles are plowed so deep with shot and
shell and trench that the fertile soil lies buried beneath unyielding
clay. Orchards and forests are gone. Villages are wiped out, cities are
but skeletons of themselves. In the face of all the need of
reconstruction we must admit, however much we would wish to cover the
fact,--the world is poor.
[Illustration: A useful blending of Allied women. Miss Kathleen Burke
(Scotch) exhibiting the X-ray ambulance equipped by Mrs. Ayrlon
(English) and Madame Curie (French).]
And still, as in no other war, the will to guard human welfare has
remained dominant. The country rose to a woman in most spirited fashion
to combat the plan to lower the standards of labor conditions in the
supposed interest of war needs. With but few exceptions the States have
strengthened their labor laws. In its summary the American Association
for Labor Legislation says:
"Eleven States strengthened their child labor laws, by raising age
limits, extending restrictions to new employments, or shortening hours.
Texas passed a new general statute setting a fifteen-year minimum age
for factories and Vermont provided for regulations in conformity with
those of the Federal Child Labor Act. Kansas and New Hampshire
legislated on factory safeguards, Texas on fire escapes, New Jersey on
scaffolds, Montana on electrical apparatus, Delaware on sanitary
equipment, and West Virginia on mines. New Jersey forbade the
manufacture of articles of food or children's wear in tenements.
"Workmen's compensation laws were enacted in Delaware, Idaho, New
Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah, making forty States and Territories
which now have such laws, in addition to the Federal Government's
compensation law, for its own half-million civilian employees. In more
than twenty additional States existing acts were amended, the changes
being marked by a tendency to extend the scope, shorten the working
period, and increase provision for medical care."
The Great War, far from checking the movement for social welfare, has
quickened the public sense of responsibility. That fact opens the widest
field to women for work in which they are best prepared by nature
Many keen thinkers are concerned over the question of population. One of
our most distinguished professors has thrown out a hint of a possibility
that considering the greater proportion of women to men some form of
plurality of wives may become necessary. The disturbed balance of the
sexes is a thing that will right itself in one generation. Need of
population will be best answered by efforts to salvage the race. The
United States loses each year five hundred thousand babies under twelve
months of age from preventable causes. An effort to save them would seem
more reasonable than a demand for more children to neglect. Life will be
so full of drive and interest, that the woman who has given no hostages
to fortune will find ample scope for her powers outside of motherhood.
The "old maid" of tomorrow will have a mission more honored and
important than was hers in the past.
But whatever the conclusions as to the wisest method of building up
population, there is no doubt that government and individuals will make
strict valuation of the essentials and non-essentials in national life.
In our poverty we will test all things in the light of their benefit to
the race and hold fast that which is good.
The opinions of women will weigh in this national accounting. There will
be no money to squander, and women to a unit will stand behind those men
who think a recreation field is of more value than a race track. It will
be the woman's view, there being but one choice, that it is better to
encourage fleetness and skill in boys and girls than in horses. If we
have just so much money to spend and the question arises as to whether
there shall be corner saloons or municipal kitchens, public sentiment,
made in good measure by women, will eschew the saloon.
The things that lend themselves to the husbanding of the race will draw
as a magnet those who have borne the race. The tired world will need for
its rejuvenation a broadened and deepened medical science. Women are too
wise to permit sanitation and research to fall to a low level. On the
contrary, they will wish them to be more thorough. There will be economy
along the less essential lines to meet the cost.
The flagging spirit needs the inspiration of art and music. To secure
them in the future, state and municipal effort will be demanded. Women
are born economizers. They have been trained to pinch each penny. With
their advent into political life, roads and public buildings will cost
less. Through careful saving, funds will be made available for the
things of the spirit.
One of the men conductors on the New York street railways somewhat
reproachfully remarked to me, "No one ever came to look at the
recreation room and restaurant at the car barns until women were taken
on. Men don't seem to count." Is the reproach deserved? Have women been
narrow in sympathy? Perhaps we have assumed that men can look out for
themselves. They could, but in private life they never do. Women have to
do the mothering. A trade-unionist is ready enough to regulate wages and
hours, but he gives not a thought to surroundings in factory
An act of protection generally starts with solicitude about a woman or
child. Factory legislation took root in their needs. There was no mercy
for the man worker. His only chance of getting better conditions was
when women entered his occupation, and the regulation meant for her
benefit indirectly served his interest.
"Men suffer more than women in certain dangerous trades, but I did not
suppose you were generous enough to care anything about them," came in
answer to an inquiry at a labor conference at the end of a most
admirable paper on women in dangerous trades, given by one of the
doctors in the New York City Department of Health. He was speaking to an
audience of working women. I doubt if his hearers had given a thought to
Perhaps this is natural, since there has been going on at the same time
with the development of factory legislation in America a strong
propaganda directed especially at political freedom for women. We have
been laying stress on the wrongs of woman and demanding very
persistently and convincingly her rights. The industrial needs and
rights of the man have been overlooked.
With increasing numbers of women entering the industrial world, with
ever widening extension of the vote to women, and the consequent
quickening of public responsibility, together with the recent experience
of Europe demonstrating the importance of care for all workers, both men
and women, there is ground for hope that even the United States, where
protective legislation is so retarded in development, will enter upon
wide and fundamental plans for conservation of all our human resources.
Protection of the worker, housing conditions, the feeding of factory
employees and school children, play grounds and recreation centers, will
challenge the world for first consideration. These are the social
processes which command most surely the hearts and minds of women. The
churning which the war has given humanity has roused in women a
realization that upon them rests at least half the burden of saving
civilization from wreck. Here is the world, with such and such needs
for food, clothing, shelter, with such and such needs for sanitation,
hospitals, and above all, for education, for science, for the arts, if
it is not to fall back into the conditions of the Middle Ages. How can
women aid in making secure the national position? Certainly not by
idleness, inefficiency, an easy policy of laissez faire. They must
labor, economize, and pool their brains.
Women can save civilization only by the broadest cooeperative action, by
daring to think, by daring to be themselves. The world is entering an
heroic age calling for heroic women.
DOCUMENTS USED IN WOMEN'S WAR-WORK IN
ENGLAND AND FRANCE
CONFIDENTIAL. Reference No: J.W. 21 [o.]
Joint Woman's V.A.D. Department.
DEVONSHIRE HOUSE. PICCADILLY, LONDON. W.I.
_Return to Secretary,
Territorial Force Associations,
British Red Cross Society.
Order of St. John of Jerusalem.
Telephone Mayfair 4707
_B.R.C.S. or Order of St. John ..._
Will you kindly fill up the following form of Medical Certificate,
returning it to the address given above.
Your communication will be received as strictly confidential.
It is urgently requested that Members'
names and detachment numbers should
be filled in legibly.
2. County No. of Detachment
3. How long have you been acquainted with her?
4. Have you attended her professionally?
5. For what complaint?
6. Is she intelligent and of active habits?
7. General health?
8. Has she flat feet, hammer-toe, or any other defect?
9. Is her vision good in each eye?
10. Is her hearing perfect?
11. Has she sound teeth, and if not, have they been properly
attended to by a Dentist lately?
12. Has she shown any tendency to Rheumatism, Anaemia,
Tuberculosis, or other illness?
15. Has she ever had influenza?
16. Does she suffer from headaches?
17. Any form of fits?
18. Heart disease or varicose veins?
19. Is she subject to any functional disturbance?
* * * * *
I have on the day of 191 seen and
hereby certify that she is apparently in good health, that she
is not labouring under any deformity, and is, in my opinion,
both physically and mentally competent to undertake duty in
a Military Hospital, and is [*]A. Fit for General Service.
B. Fit for Home Service only.
[Footnote *: Kindly delete categories which do not apply.]
* * * * *
Reference No.: J.W. 19c.
JOINT WOMEN'S V.A.D. DEPARTMENT.
Territorial Forces Association. British Red Cross Society. Order of St.
John of Jerusalem.
DEVONSHIRE HOUSE, PICCADILLY, LONDON. W1.
* * * * *
of Members of Women's Voluntary Aid Detachments for Nursing Service or
* * * * *
1. (a) Name in full (_Mrs. or Miss_).
(b) If Married state Maiden Name.
2. Permanent Postal Address.
Present Postal Address.
3. Telephone No.
4. Telegraphic Address.
5. Detachment County and No.
St. John Brigade.
St. John Association.
6. Name and Address of Commandant of Detachment.
7. Rank in Detachment.
8. Time of Service in Detachment.
9. Age and Date of Birth.
10. Place and Country of Birth.
11. Nationality at Birth.
12. Present Nationality.
15. Where Educated.
16. At what age did you leave school?
17. Whether Single, Married, or Widow.
18. If not Single, state Nationality of Husband.
19. Name and Address of Next-of-Kin or Nearest Relation
residing in the British Isles.
20. Father's Nationality at Birth.
21. Mother's Nationality at Birth.
22. Father's Profession.
24. (a) If you volunteer for nursing duties state what experience
you have had in wards.
(b) Name and address of hospital.
25. Certificates held.
26. (a) Nursing. (f) Motor Driver.
(b) Kitchen. (g) Laboratory Attendant.
(c) Clerical. (h) X-Ray Attendant.
(d) Storekeeping. (i) House Work.
(e) Dispenser. (j) Pantry Work.
27. State what experience and qualifications you have had
for Categories in No. 26.
28. Have you been inoculated against Enteric Fever?
If so, what date?
If not, are you willing to be?
Have you been vaccinated?
It so, what date?
If not, are you willing to be?
29. Your usual Occupation or Profession?
Your present Occupation or Profession?