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STATEMENT OF HON. WILLIAM T. BYRNE, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Chairman, ladies of the group, it gives me great happiness to support and favor this proposed amendment, and I sincerely trust it will be reported by the committee to give us an opportunity to vote for it in the House.
Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. Byrne. (Applause.)
Mr. REED. Now, are there present any other Members of Congress who wish to be heard at this time?
Mr. REED. I will now ask Mrs. Miller to call the other persons whom: she has in mind.
STATEMENT OF MRS. EMMA GUFFEY MILLER, CONGRESSIONAL
CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY
Mrs. MILLER. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, it is: a great honor today to appear before you and to introduce women of all ranks of life, women of both political parties, because we come to you on an issue that transcends partisanship, because justice belongs to everyone and is the goal of every political party-the goal of the two parties that now represent the people of this country.
It is with deep regret that Mrs. McCauley, the vice chairman of the Republican National Committee, cannot be with us today as she had expected to be, due of course, to the tragic death of her beloved mother.
We also pause a moment in appreciation of the great work of Congressman Robsion, your colleague, who for so many years was on this committee and its recent head. Congressman Robsion was the friend of women for almost 40 years. It was he who helped place in the Republican platform in 1916 the plank for the suffrage amendment.
It seems odd, after you have heard the Congressmen and especially the Honorable Katharine St. George who outlined the reasons for this amendment so clearly-it seems odd that we should even have a hearing. But there is opposition, as you know, and the opposition is composed of certain labor leaders, and now at least we know that it is not chivalry or the protective idea that lies at the root of the labor opposition, but it is the fear that women may take their jobs.
Women did such a magnificent job in the war and they were so needed at that time that the leaders did not dare say, we do not want women, or they are not able to do this work.
But a few months ago in Pennsylvania, Mr. James McDevitt, a leading A. L. of L. leader in Pennsylvania, went before the Governor of our great Commonwealth, and asked the Governor that he veto a bill which permitted women to work when they chose, either day or night, and he gave us his reasons, not the age-long protective idea, but he told the truth by saying, we are afraid that if this law passes,women will take our jobs.
And then we have many of the professional welfare workers against us. I know they are very sincere women. But there are a great many of them going to lose their jobs when the equal rights amendment becomes a law. We would not need so many investigators, one
to investigate women in the factory, the other to investigate men in a factory; they will all be under the same just laws.
And then there are, of course, the lady bountifuls who would not under any consideration live under the restrictive laws under which women work, but who want to tell other women what is good for them.
And then of course there are certain men who are opposed to this idea of equality just because they are men.
I was very much amused and interested in a hearing in which the mayor of Pittsburgh said that lately people ask him
why he takes orders from a woman boss. He has appointed a very brilliant woman lawyer, Anne Alpern, as his solicitor, and her record before the courts and especially the Supreme Court, has been superb, and he chose her because he knew he would get excellent legal advice from her and yet there are men who ask him why in the world he has a woman there.
But I feel that men on this committee who have so long and patiently listened to the arguments pro and con, will decide that at least women deserve legal equality.
Then I might mention another group that is very active against us and that is the Communists. They have done me the great honor of writing me up in the Daily Worker, and I submit this as part of the evidence, and of course it is distorted and it is dishonest as we usually expect the Communist publications to be.
But they do not want this equality and they are doing everything possible and putting on a fine front and using people, sincere people, to do the work.
(The excerpt from the Daily Worker, dated January 27, 1944, is as follows:)
[Daily Worker, January 27, 1944]
ANTIUNION ATTITUDE PREVAILS AMONG WOMEN "EQUAL RIGHTERS"
WASHINGTON, January 26.—The "equal righters,” leaders of the National Woman's Party whose chief campaign is to wipe protective legislation for women off the books under the guise of equalizing the status of women, are chiefly old suffragettes who never grew with the times.
We have written before about the chairman of the National Woman's Party, Miss Alice Paul, but some of the other characters in its leadership deserve scrutiny, too.
In Washington, Congressmen are known to quiver and quake when the persistent lobbyists of the Woman's Party make their appearance on the Hill. Mrs. Emma Guffey Miller is a very active worker, Miss Anita Politzer, Alma Lutz, and others contribute their energies.
The Woman's Party is primarily concerned with the rights of wealthy and middle-class women. As for working women, they should get the trade unions to take care of their working conditions and hours--not protective legislation, they suggest.
There is quite a note of antiunionism which creeps into the statements of leaders. The trade unions are dismissed as men's organizations who are afraid of the competition from women.
Mrs. Miller said recently :
"We who support the amendment believe that working women should be safeguarded as should workingmen, but there are millions of other women who suffer from unjust and discriminatory laws. What does this opposition propose to do about it?"
ADMINISTER ESTATES She was referring to wealthy women deprived of property rights, the right to act as administrators of estates, serve on jury duty, etc.
The "equal righters" resort to all sorts of weird explanations to defend their position that the protective laws for women are in effect restrictive, which make
women less desirable employees. Night work that is more beneficial for mothers, protection for pregnant women in industry is unnecessary since not all women are mothers. There is no need for special safety and health laws; and besides, higher wages, fewer hours of labor are in the end as dust in the mouths of all women if you can't have the equal rights amendment.
The position of the numerous women's organizations which have lined up against the amendment is dismissed contemptuously as those protective rights groups. The present poll the general Federation of Women's Clubs is taking, expected to be favorable to the amendment, is offered as proof that we are gaining ground.
Mrs. MILLER. Congresswoman St. George has already spoken so ably about the bill which the women of New York refused to heed, although one of their Congressmen's name is on that bill, as I recall, because they want real equality; they do not want a sham equality.
The opponents—this, I believe, comes from the League of Women Voters—say that they believe there should be no distinction on the basis of sex except such as are justified by physical structure, biological or social function. How anybody is going to tell just what those words mean when it comes to applying the law is quite unknown.
It might mean that one of my daughters-in-law who has red hair could not work on a certain position. Physical structure-well, Mrs. St. George spoke of maternity. As the mother of four sons, I myself know something about maternity and I never felt when I was mothering those boys— I never felt that I should not have legal equality because I was going to become a mother or was a mother. It seemed to me that the argument for equality was all the greater because I was bringing into the world children to take up their responsibilities in life.
And then we have had the Wacs and the Waves. Certainly their physical structure was quite adequate in the war, for General Eisenhower has asked that they be continued in service.
I do not know what these words in the biological part mean. Men will still be men and women will still be women. Î'hat has nothing to do with justice.
I call that bill the antiequality bill. That is the bill you are going to hear about Friday. It always reminds me of the antisuffrage bills and the same people who were organized against suffrage for womena great many of them—are back of that bill. They have not gone any further than suffrage yet.
And then there are women for that bill who organized an association a few years ago which died almost aborning and they called it the Committee Against the Unequal Rights Amendment. So they may go by a different name, but they are the same opponents. They want equality, they say, but they do not want it this way. It reminds me of the old refrain:
Mother, may I go out to swim?
Yes, my darling daughter;
But don't go near the water, Now, we base our support of this amendment on the fundamental rights of the individual, and even if a so-called equality bill were passed by Congress, giving women full equality, we always know that the next Congress might undo the work of the previous one.
The greatest worries seem to be the question of support and the question of alimony. Well, now, all marriages do not end in alimony.
I have one that has lasted me for 45 years, and it is still going strong. But alimony is the most difficult thing in the world to collect, as I think you will hear from a learned judge, and there are States in which there are no support laws, and still children are supported.
The sovereign State of New Jersey, from which this brilliant judge comes, has just adopted a new constitution giving women equal rights with men. And so it its with profound pleasure that I introduce to you Judge Libby E. Sachar, judge of the juvenile and domestic relations court, Union County, N. 'J., first and only woman judge in the State, who has practiced law since 1925 in New Jersey.
STATEMENT OF HON. E. SACHAR, JUDGE, JUVENILE AND DOMESTIC
RELATIONS COURT, UNION COUNTY, N. J. Mrs. SACHAR. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I do not believe that it should be my province here at all to discuss the theory of equality. It seems to me that it has been well stated in our Constitution, in the United Nations, in the fact that both of our major parties have adopted that as a principle.
I do not even think that I should speak to you as a Republican or as a Democrat urging that you abide by the plank in your platform which says that you will support equality for women.
I think, rather, that I should be here in the nature of a chaser of hobgoblins. A great many of the men have been frightened by these statements of protective legislation and exactly what it is going to do to the poor, unprotected woman that this terrible amendment will be put through and that they will be deprived of all of their rights.
Gentlemen, I should like to tell you that I have been practicing law for 21 years, that I preside in a court that is concerned primarily with family relations, with the guardianship of children, with the support of mothers and wives, and with the delinquency of children, too.
My observation has been that the problem of welfare with regard to the support and guardianship of children would not be affected one way or the other by the equality, by the equal rights amendment.
As a matter of fact, it would correct many of the ills that we now find in the working of the problems of the family.
There have been statements made that if the equal rights amendment is passed, maternity legislation would be outlawed. Lawyers know that that is not a fact because women who have the opportunity of taking advantage of maternity legislation are in a separate class just as veterans are in a separate class and any law can be made to protect any group in a special class such as women who have children.
The dower rights and the security rights will not be affected except that widows and widowers alike will have the same protection of the law, the equal protection of the law.
Support, while families are together, or when they are separated, will not be affected. Support is based upon public policy, on the ability of the person who is held to account to support the person who is not able to support himself. As a matter of fact, in our State we have one case where alimony was granted to a husband against the wife because of her desertion and her ability to support him as against his disability to support her.
Guardianship will not be affected because in almost every State, with the exception of those which discriminate totally against the guardianship of mothers, the law is that the interests of the child must be protected, the best interests of the child regardless of whether a mother or a father is making a claim, and so whether this equal rights amendment goes in or not, the best interests of the child will still be the concern of the administrators of the law.
There is no problem of divorce. The same rights that will grant a man a divorce will grant a woman a divorce under the equal rights amendment. There is no reason why we cannot approach this problem from the viewpoint of humaneness.
We do not expect that the laws are going to protect us because we are women. We want the laws to protect the men as well as the women. Any law that picks one sex as against the other is bound to discriminate against the other. As a matter of fact, judging by the increased number of women that we have in our population because of war and wars to be, and other reasons, we know that we will have to protect the men if we want them to continue as monogamist individuals. If we do not, we are going to have another very serious social problem.
There is no such thing as protective legislation in industry. This amendment will not mitigate the effect of protection for all workers. Why is it that there should be a law to protect women workers? If it is good for the women, it is good for the men. If it is improper for a woman to work in a factory where there is an excess of lead, it is improper for a man to work in that factory.
We want protective legislation but we want it for both sexes. We do not want it for one sex and the strange part of this is, as I have examined the more than 1,100 laws over a period of years, laws which are in effect today against women, I have discovered that for the most part they are not really interested in protecting women. They are interested in eliminating women from the industrial field where they are a menace or a threat to the men. That is the reason, Mrs. Miller, why the unions are opposed to the equal-rights amendment. That is are a menace or a threat to the men. That is the reason, Mrs. Miller, rights amendment.
I consider myself just as liberal as any person in the United States of America, and I say that that is definitely an improper approach to the problem of liberalism. When you protect any group in order that it may have advantages over another group, then you are not liberal. You are decidedly reactionary; and it is my claim to your committee that these so-called protective laws in industry are not liberal laws and they are not protective laws.
Mrs. Miller has stated that when the lid is off, you find the truth.
I see that we are going to have another bill introduced. It has been introduced; you will have a hearing on it-the Wadsworth-Taft bill which is absolutely innocuous; does not mean a thing. All it means is that you are going to investigate a matter that has already been investigated for 25 years. The Woman's Bureau of the Labor Department has endless reams of information which they have secured during a number of years on this subject. And it is just a delaying action for the purpose of preventing passage of the equal rights amendment as proposed.
As a mother of children, a working woman, married not quite as long as Mrs. Miller but successfully married for 21 years, interested