What Women Might Accomplish with the Franchise (extract), October 21, 1911

REEL 47_0235.jpg

Miss Addams

Miss Jane Addams, in her address on Saturday night said:

"Much of the new demand for political enfranchisement arises from a passionate desire to reform the unsatisfactory and degrading social conditions which are responsible for so much wrong doing. The fate of all the unfortunate, the suffering, the criminal, are daily forced upon woman's attention in painful and intimate ways.

"Sydney Webb points out that while the wages of working men have increased from 50 to 100 [percent] during the past 60 years the wages of working women have remained stationary. The exclusion from all political right of five million working women in England is not only a source of industrial weakness and poverty to themselves, but a danger to English industry.

"Working women cannot hope to help their own in industrial matters where their interests may clash with those of their enfranchised fellow workers or employers. They must force an entrance into the ranks of responsible citizens, in whose hands lies the solution to the problems which are at present convulsing the industrial world.

"It is inevitable that humanitarian women should wish to vote concerning all the regulations of public charities which have to do with the care of dependent children and the Juvenile Courts, pensions to mothers in distress, care of the aged poor, care of the homeless conditions of jails and penitentiaries, gradual elimination of the social evil, extended care of young girls, suppression of gambling, regulation of billboard advertising and other things. Perhaps the woman who leads the domestic life is more in need of the franchise than any other.

"One could easily name the regulations of the State that define her status in the community. Among them are laws regulating marriage and divorce, laws defining the legitimacy of children, laws defining married women's property rights, exemption and homestead laws which protect her when her husband is bankrupt. Then there are the laws regulating her functions as mother to her children. Those laws I have mentioned defining her status and facilitating the functions of the domestic woman are the most obvious ones."

Item Relations


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>