Speech to the Shawnee County League of Women Voters, January 13, 1922 (excerpts)



Europeans Take More Political Interest -- Jane Addams.

Noted Social Worker in Topeka Today Tells of Activities.


Hull House Mother Talks to the Clubs and Colleges.

She Has Spent Strenuous 24 Hours in the City.

"The women of Europe are coming into suffrage more naturally and fully than their American sisters did," said Miss Jane Addams, America's distinguished women social and suffrage worker in Topeka today. "They are holding more national offices and taking more active and greater part in government affairs than our women."

[image] Miss Jane Addams.

Miss Addams made an exceedingly interesting talk to more than 200 women at the breakfast given for her this morning at the Heron Coffee Shop by the Shawnee County League of Women Voters, taking for her subject the situation of women in Europe and the experiences which they are having as far as suffrage is concerned.

The speaker first told of the political standing of women in Europe when she was there in 1913; how in Vienna when a suffrage meeting was held it was called a literary society meeting as the government at that time had forbidden women to meet and talk suffrage.

In 1921 there were eleven women in the lower house of government in Austria, and four women in the upper house, she said. In the city council of sixty-four persons there were twenty-two women and the head of public education in Vienna was also a woman. Women are in the parliament or governing body of Czechoslovakia, one of them being a "shawled and aproned" peasant woman who very ably and intelligently represents the agricultural body. Hungary has one woman in its parliament, and there are thirty-six women in the national governing body of Germany. In Italy the women are not in the national governing body but they have various and important offices in the municipalities and cities. France and Italy, according to the speaker are the slowest to give suffrage to their women. In Switzerland the bill which was to have given the women voting rights, has just been lost.

More Vital Part in Affairs.

The women in Europe are not alone taking an intensely active interest in suffrage, but they are waking up, [through] the disastrous effects of the war, to the importance of child nutrition and education.

All in all, the women of Europe are taking a much bigger and more vital part in the affairs of their country than the women of America are just now. Miss Addams closed with an appeal to the women of our country to understand the situation of European women and to follow it closely.

Members of many of the representative clubs of Topeka were present at the meeting this morning, and greeted the guest of honor including [page 2] the Minerva, Western Sorosis, Chaldean, Council of Jewish Women, Monday Tourist, W.C.T.U. and the League of Women Voters. Preceding the talk by Miss Addams, Mrs. James Raymond Stewart played a movement from a Beethoven sonata and following Mrs. Harlowe F. Dean sang "The Pilgrim Song" by [Tschaikovsky].

Left This Afternoon.

Miss Addams remained in Topeka long enough this afternoon to make a talk before the girls of the College of the Sisters of Bethany before leaving for Iowa where she will make a series of speeches.

Last night at the Santa Fe railway station, any one observing the passengers who arrived from the west, might have failed entirely to see a motherly looking woman, of medium height, with iron gray hair, descending from a Pullman, but once one saw the woman one knew that there was an individual who has been and is, the center of many big things. That person is Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago.

Guest of the Allens.

Miss Addams was the guest overnight of Governor and Mrs. Henry J. Allen. Before arriving in Topeka last night she had been the guest for a short time at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Allen White of Emporia.

Miss Addams has spent four months since the close of the world war in Europe observing social and economic conditions and in her talk last night before the Kansas state board of agriculture she brought an intimate firsthand knowledge of the conditions in Europe.

A special chapel session was held at Washburn college this morning, that the students could hear Miss Addams.

Miss Addams also made a brief address at a special assembly of Topeka high school students at 11:45 o'clock this morning. She talked on the Russian famine and urged the students not to think of them as bolshevists but as human beings. She stated that if Americans would continue to contribute food to the Russians it would be appreciated by them greatly and would make a better world by overcoming some of the present problems. She also touched on the young people's movement in Switzerland.

In a short talk made this morning at 9 o'clock before the student body of Washburn college, Miss Addams spoke of the citizens of Europe, the Belgian and French who had felt the worst of the ill effects from the war.

One instance which the speaker gave concerned a Belgian woman who had done the hardest work for the enemy, worked in the fields and factories and yet who was now mothering several German children, giving as the reason for so doing, the fact that nations in the future must grow to love one another.