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property. Personal earnings of married women are made their separate property by specific statute in most of the States not under the community-property regime. In the 15 * States without such specific law, general statutes are interpreted to have the same effeet.
Five States as still require the husband's signature, as a matter of form, to give validity to the wife's deed conveying her own land; only Texas still requires a special form of acknowledgment for the married woman's deed or mortgage of her lands; only three States 25 deny a wife full individual status in the courts, requiring her husband to be made a party to certain actions which involve the wife.
Three States 28 and the District of Columbia retain the form of property ownership called at common law "estate by the entirety," applicable only to husband and wife. Under it, the wife has only a contingent interest in the property unless she survives her husband, no matter what amount she has contributed to the estate. The husband controls the property and receives the income during the marriage.
Five States 27 still have the so-called Free-Trader statutes, under which court sanction, and in some cases the husband's consent, is required for a wife's legal venture into an independent business, if she is to keep the profits for her own account.
Community or communal property.--Twelve States as have the community system of ownership between husband and wife applied to property acquired by their joint efforts during the marriage. Eight 29 of these give the husband principal control of most of the communal property while the spouses live together.30 Six of the community-property States give the wife control over her earnings, even as part of the communal estate.
Four States (Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon) have adopted the community system within recent years, principally for the purpose of dividing the burden of taxation between husband and wife. These States permit the wife to control her personal earnings and any other community property to which she holds the record title. Other community property is under the husband's control,
In the 36 a1 States and the District of Columbia where the common-law background exists as distinguished from the civil-law tradition, the property accumulated during the marriage by the cooperative efforts of both husband and wife belongs to the husband and is under his control, except as the effect of this rule is overcome by private settlement. This is accomplished through voluntary agree. ment or other arrangement, such as joint ownership of lands, joint bank accounts, prenuptial agreements, and the like. But in the absence of a valid private adjustment of this sort, or a valid will, the law governs. However, in most of these States by express provision of law, and in others by interpretation, policy, and practice, the wife's earnings in outside employment are her separate property. The husband's earnings are primarily liable for support of his family, as those of the wife are not (nor any of her separate property) unless she voluntarily makes them so by her personal contract.
Wills.-Married women dispose of their separate property by will as freely as married men dispose of their separate property. As to the communal property, only 2 83 of the 12 community-system States deny a wife full testamentary rights.
Inheritance between spouses.--A widow or surviving husband inherits similar portions from the deceased spouse in most of the States. In a few States, the advantage is sometimes with the wife, sometimes with the husband, according to circumstances incident to the case, such as the surviving number of children, election under the will of the deceased spouse, and the like.
Two States (Nevada and New Mexico) favor the husband over the wife in the division of community property after the death of one spouse.
23 Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland. Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Dakota. Ohio Oklahoma Oregon. South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
24 Alabama, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas.
28 Arizona, California. Idaho. Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. » Arizona California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. 30 Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
31 Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Ilinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota. Ohio. Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
32 Nevada and New Mexico.
Allowance during estate settlement.--Practically all the States require maintenance for the widow from the husband's estate during the period of its settlement. At least one-third of them provide support from the estate under administration for either spouse who survives.
Mr. WADSWORTH. Mr. Chairman, may I next introduce Mrs. Margaret F. Stone, chairman of legislation, National Women's Trade Union League, and to say that at the conclusion of her testimony, she will, with your permission, introduce the witnesses to follow her. STATEMENT OF MARGARET F. STONE, CHAIRMAN OF LEGISLATION,
NATIONAL WOMEN'S TRADE UNION LEAGUE Mrs. STONE. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I am Mrs. Margaret F. Stone, chairman of legislation, National Women's Trade Union League of America, whose membership is composed of trade union women of both branches of labor formed in local leagues throughout the country, and which has unions, national and international, connected by affiliation. We also have an individual membership of both men and women who are sympathetic with our objectives.
Before beginning my statement in support of H. R. 2007 and other bills on the status of women, I would like to speak briefly to several statements that were made in the testimony on Wednesday.
In the first place, one of the witnesses said that the same people who were against suffrage are against the equal rights amendment. That is manifestly untrue because throughout the country the National Women's Trade Union League, the League of Women Voters and many other organizations here today, were in the forefront of the fight for suffrage for women, and have been working all through the years since then for social legislation and other legislation that would help both men and women.
One of the witnesses also said that the opposition to the equal rights amendment was composed in general of four categories, labor leaders, lady bountifuls, men because they were men, and Communists.
We admit that labor leaders are opposed to the equal rights amendment and in favor of the equal status bill. One witness has already testified for the CIO this morning. I do not know exactly what is meant by lady bountifuls, but if it means voluntary workers, we are very glad to have them. They are the backbone of many of our organizations, and we could not do without them and we submit that it is much better for women to be interested in the betterment of conditions, the raising of standards of living and doing active work for those causes, and not being paid for it, than it is for them to spend their time going to cocktail parties and bridge parties.
The third category is men because they are men. We have three men witnesses this morning, one of whom has already testified and given you many reasons why he is for the equal status bill which were not just because he was a man; and I think the others will do likewise.
I cannot quite understand why Communists should be against the equal-rights amendment because in the Soviet Union, one of its boasts is that women are on an absolute equality with men.
Mr. CHADWICK. Probably true in fact, but after ascertaining the level on which the equality was established.
Mrs. STONE. Yes; but I cannot imagine a Communist not being for equal rights. It was mentioned that Communists were opposed
to equal rights, and I cannot imagine anyone being opposed who was a real Communist.
Another thing—this is the final one-several of the witnesses seemed to feel that the equal-rights amendment would automatically give equal pay to women. We all know that the equal-rights amendment, if enacted, would only be an enabling act and that all the specific discriminations would have to be attacked by legislation; in fact, as you gentlemen know, there is a bill now before Congress for equal pay on the job which would make the rate of pay for both men and women the same.
My organization for many years, together with other organizations, has been seeking a positive approach to the problems of eliminating discrimination against women in legal codes and administrative practices. We have met these discriminations in our daily lives, we have dealt with them in a piecemeal, haphazard way. But we have not been satisfied with the results. There are still many areas in which women are subjected to basic discriminations under the law and under administrative practices which handicap them as citizens, as wage earners and as members of the family unit. Therefore, we support this bill because :
It establishes a definite Federal policy against discriminations based on sex.
This is in line with the commitments undertaken by the United States, under the Charter of the United Nations, to promote fundamental freedoms without distinctions based on sex, and it should have a far-reaching effect on administrative practices and legal codes everywhere.
The bill recognizes the need for special distinctions in the treatment of the sexes based on biological or social function.
The two previous witnesses have gone into that so I will not elaborate on that.
This provision is of special importance and is in agreement with the position we have always taken that identity and equality are not the same. This is the chief reason why my organization and many others with which we are associated, have consistently opposed the so-called equal-rights amendment which I understand your committee is also considering. Women as a sex may need special treatment that is not identical with that of men. Their position in society is equally important with that of men but it is not identical and in certain relationships it should not be so treated. The so-called equal-rights amendment does not permit such differentiation.
The bill provides for an authoritative study of the status of women and of their position under the complicated structure of Federal and State legislation and administrative practices.
Over a long period, we and other interested organizations have attempted to amass the basic information needed for a complete picture of women's status, but the problem has been too large for us. This bill would set up the machinery for making such a study on the comprehensive scale needed as a basis for a really effective program to eliminate discriminations.
And under the Commission that is to be established, I believe Miss Butler this morning mentioned the fact that a great many studies had been made and it was not necessary to make any new ones. Well, we would understand, of course, that the Commission would collect all
the studies that have been made and certainly not duplicate any studies that have been made, but simply be a means of collecting the studies that had been made and evaluating them, and where necessary, perhaps making new ones.
The bill recommends to the States that they review and reform their own administrative practices and legislation and adopt a policy of nondiscrimination in line with the Federal policy.
This is a very important section of the bill. Many of the discriminations under the law to which women are subjected occur in the State codes. Under our system of Federal-State legislation, each State must put its own house in order. The initial impetus for such action would come from this bill and from the findings of the Commission authorized in it.
In brief, the bill under discussion is a practical realistic program to achieve statutory recognition of the proper status of women and to eliminate discriminations that are really the vestiges of an outworn conception of the position of women. Experience has proven that women are capable of full participation in the life of the Nation, as workers, as consumers, as individuals. It is high time to put an end to the archaic practices that handicap women in the fulfillment of their responsibilities and to give them full citizenship in every sense of the word.
I would like to interpolate here that a lot of emphasis is put upon rights these days whereas we feel more should be put on responsibilities, and we would like to do that.
We are convinced that H. R. 2007 will accomplish what we want and we therefore urge favorable action on the part of your committee.
In closing, may I ask you gentlemen, not to think of this proposition merely as an abstract undertaking to set up general principles, but to realize the immediate human necessities involved. Think of the individual women throughout this land-women who are called on to take their part in the life of the Nation. Think of the woman who has not the right to guardianship of her own children. Think of the woman whose husband can control her earnings. Think of the woman who works alongside of a man in a factory doing the same work but paid a lower wage. Think of the woman who is told she has all the responsibilities of citizenship but who is not allowed to serve on a jury. Think of the woman who must give up her job if she is married, even though her family needs the extra money she could earn for them. Think of these women and act to remove the discriminations to which they are subjected and establish justice for all of the citizens of the Nation.
This is not a partisan political issue. It has the support of both parties in Congress and it has the support of a great cross section of the women of the United States--who are convinced that this is a realistic solution of their problems. Thank you.
Mr. REED. Thank you, Mrs. Stone.
I forgot to say that another thing that was said on Wednesday was that the committee that had been formed several years ago to oppose the equal-rights amendment and died a-borning. We have a very active ghost here today who is the executive vice chairman of this same committee. We have changed our name. When the bills were introduced
in the Congress last year on equal status, we changed our name to a positive name instead of National Committee to Defeat the Un-Equal Rights Amendment. We are now the National Committee on the Status of Women in the United States; but it is still an active committee and I would like to introduce Mrs. Ralph A. Young.
STATEMENT OF MRS. RALPH A. YOUNG, EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIR
MAN, NATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
Mrs. YOUNG. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the National Committee on the Status of Women is a coordinating committee composed of representatives of 31 national organizations. It was created several years ago by representatives of these organizations to provide a mechanism for pooling their efforts of these organizations and to improve and clarify the status of women; and was known as the national committee to Defeat the Un-Equal Rights Amendment. In April 1947, soon after the introduction in Congress of the women's status bill, H. R. 2007, the committee's constituent organizations agreed to adopt a name more properly descriptive of its constructive activities. It became therefore the National Committee on the Status of Women in the United States. It is an informal committee, without corporate existence, without a paid staff, and supported by voluntary contributions from its friends." Miss Mary Anderson is chairman of this committee, and I am executive vice chairman.
A majority of the 34 organizations constituting the National Committee on the Status of Women in the United States falls into three broad groups: national women's organizations such as the League of Women Voters, the National Women's Trade Union League, the National Council of Catholic Women, the National Council of Negro Women, the National Council of Jewish Women, and the Young Women's Christian Association-organizations which have an obvious and well-established concern for the welfare and advancement of women; a second group composed of the major labor unions, which have a special interest in safeguarding the welfare of working women; and a third group comprised of such outstanding civic organizations as the National Consumers League and the American Civil Liberties Union. Many other organizations have cooperated with the committee in supporting the women's status bill and opposing the equal-rights amendment--the American Association of University Women, and the Women's Society for Christian Service of the Methodist Church, Eastern Division-to name only two. I am filing a complete list of the organizations along with this statement. These organizations represent a total membership of approximately 20,000,000 people. Many of these organizations are filing individual statements in support of the women's status bill. A complete list is attached.
In addition to the national organizations which, through the National Committee on the Status of Women, are endorsing the women's status bill and opposing the equal-rights amendment, our committee has an advisory council of more than a hundred distinguished women from various walks of life who have contributed their thought and energies to our efforts. This list includes such educators, scientists, and scholars as Dr. Sara Gibson Blanding, president of Vassar College; Dr. Alice Hamilton, specialist in industrial poisons; Dr. Hazel Kyrk, professor of economics, University of Chicago; Dr. Mildred