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by law will be tested. It will give women dignity of status to make their full contribution toward à just and lasting peace; women who hate war, and have had no part in the planning of wars, are denied participation in winning the peace.
Never can there be a balanced world, with justice and true peace, until equality of the sexes is established throughout the earth. In six provisions the United Nations Charter incorporates this great principle. The equal rights amendment is a must to attain this principle in our own country.
As recently as World War II, in order for women whose stake in victory is certainly no less than men's, to serve their country in the armed forces, Congress had to pass special legislation establishing the Women's Army Corps, the WAVES, the SPARS, and women marines; and when women physicians made application for commissions in the Medical Reserve Corps after Congress had authorized the late President Roosevelt to commission qualified persons in the Army and Navy, the Comptroller General ruled women were not eligible because the law authorized temporary appointments only from among qual
Special laws then had to be enacted to overcome the difficulty.
I now understand that there still are in excess of 1,100 laws which discriminate against and restrict the rights of women in our 18 States, which could never be wiped out by the States themselves in a like number of years. Moreover, if and when a State legislature might nullify
a law which differentiates between men and women, there looms the ugly specter of a subsequent session reversing the action of a former legislature.
Although women hold the bulk of the investments of the country, three States still prohibit a wife from engaging in independent business and keeping her earnings from it unless her husband gives his consent. Numerous other examples of present legal discriminations against women could be cited. For example, in five States married komen are unable to conduct an independent business without petitioning the court and receiving legal authorization therefor. In six States
wife cannot convey her separate real estate unless her husband joins her, although there is no similar restriction on the husband. Property acquired after marriage by the cooperative efforts of husband and wife belongs to and is controlled by the husband in 40 common-law States in the absence of valid agreement otherwise between the husband and wife. There are also certain contractual restrictions for women in 17 States.
Discriminations involve not merely the business and property rights of women but also the private relationship and family status. The father is the preferred guardian of the child's property in 7 States and has the right to the custody, services, and earnings of his minor children in 15 States. He may even will away the custody of a child in 10 States, although this is subject to certain rights of the mother. Further, in 14 States the husband may be granted a divorce for his wife's unchaste character without corresponding remedy to the wife. Although women were given the right to vote by the nineteenth amendment, 13 States have not yet permitted them to serve on juries.
Americans proudly boast of their belief in democracy; they have gloriously demonstrated their willingness to fight throughout the world for the principles of equality. Yet until there is established
equality before the law for women, we will continue to have only a demidemocracy. A law which applies to one group of citizens differently from another group is not a democratic law.
We must let those men and women who oppose us know that their reasoning is entirely without logic; assuring them that the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in the Darby decision that maximum hours and minimum wages are constitutional for men; that the trend for years has been to extend sound industrial legislation to cover men as well as women; that health legislation should be based on the nature of the work and not on the sex of the worker; that with the lifting during the war of restrictive legislation affecting women, many workers see those laws as interfering with their earning a living and want them repealed; that the National Trade Women's Council, in its convention, and the Women's Bureau, United States Department of Labor, decided to review the whole sea of literature on the laws for women; that with collective bargaining Nation-wide and with the over-all health programs industry has in effect women's health will not be jeopardized; that maternity legislation will not be interfered with, covering a certain classification of citizens just as veterans benefit legislation applies only to a specific group, neither type of legislation violating the principles of “the equal protection of the law”; that child aid will not be destroyed—the allowance is not a pension for the person who cares for the child but an allowance for the care and support of children of both sexes who are in need of financial assistance; that the amendment will create equalization of benefits for insured workers and for the dependents of insured workers (the present social-security laws grossly discriminate against both sexes) ; that identical special allowances pending the settlement of the estate of a deceased spouse, will apply uniformly to widows or widowers; that the States will extend the principle of equality to father and mother as the guardian of children; that husbands and wives will be treated equally in regard to their responsibility for the support of the other spouse and of the children; and that the Congress or any State can enact any law it wishes provided that law applies uniformly to men and to women.
Equality under the law is a way of life vital to the American way of life; a basic concept of democracy demanding that all adults be treated alike.
Gentlemen, in the name of simple justice, I implore you to report out favorably for action by the full Judiciary Committee, House Joint Resolution 62.
By the same token I beg you to refuse to report out favorably H. R. 2007 which is retrogressive to women: a Presidential commission to investigate the economic, civil, social, and political status of women, on the premise that biological differences between the two sexes justify legal status for a woman to be different from that of a man, is offensive to women who have won after long and difficult years of education and struggle, equal political rights with men.
Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr. CHADWICK. Mrs. Avery, would you be good enough to clear this up. This is probably a misunderstanding on my part. I understood Mrs. Miller to include in the list of those whose opposition she recognized, a group which I have listed as professional workers.
Mrs. MILLER. I meant social welfare workers, professional welfare workers. I omitted "welfare."
I should like to say at this point that in connection with the various messages I received, well over 30 governors of the various States have endorsed the amendment.
Mr. REED. Mrs. Miller, I notice that another Member of Congress has come into the room and I wonder if we might hear from the gentleman from California, Mr. McDonough?
STATEMENT OF HON. GORDON L. McDONOUGH, A REPRESENTATIVE
IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. McDonough. Mr. Chairman, I am just here to represent a group of women of Los Angeles in southern California who are unable to be present at the hearing and to insert in the record, ask your consent to insert in the record, a statement by the School Women's Council in favor of the equal rights amendment in preference to the equal status bill that you have before you; so I will ask your unanimous consent to insert this statement in the record and assure you that I believe I am expressing the sentiments of the women of southern California, many of whom have written me in favor of this amendment and ask that you report it out favorably.
Mr. REED. Thank you, Mr. McDonough. The statement will be inserted in the record.
(The statement of the School Women's Council referred to is as follows:)
Do WOMEN WANT TO HAVE THEIR CAKE AND Eat It Too?
By Ella Volstead Allen The support for full citizenship for women in the United States has been growing steadily since 1920 when, by constitutional amendment, women were granted suffrage. The women soon learned, however, that suffrage did not remove the discriminations against them as they existed under the old common laws of England. So, today there are 33 national organizations of women in the United States who believe in, and support legal action, by constitutional amendment, to obtain full citizenship for themselves. Some of these groups are : The General Federation of Women's Clubs, National Education Association of the United States, National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs, National Association of Colored Women, National Council of Women of the United States, Industrial League for Equality, Women's National Democratic Club, American Medical Women's Association, and in addition hundreds of State, regional, and local organizations of millions of women representing social, political, industrial, business, and religious groups. A small, but very vocal, minority of women in the United States oppose the granting of equality to women, just as some opposed suffrage. These are largely leisure women who have lived a protected, sheltered life and know only the pattern which operates under social prestige with its special privileges. Their interest in the “poor working girl” gives them a certain recognition in their group as a socialized "lady bountiful" looking after the welfare of those por unfortunate women who are “capable” of looking after their own welfare. Since they do not contemplate ever being in a position similar to their hard-work ng sisters, the restrictive and discriminatory laws which they helped to secure are, in their opinion, "protective." Having no experience, therefore little understanding of the struggles in woman's "working world" they fail to comprehend the truism that “experience is the life of law."
Today they are still living in the glory of their past and are loath to face a new world wlierein they and their daughters as women, regardless of their social
position, will have equal rights and equal responsibilities. They ignore the fact that the despotism of custom is on the wane.
These women believe that "in the law and its administration, no distinction on the basis of sex shall be made except such as are reasonably justified by differences in physical structure, biological or social function." All discrimination against women throughout history has been based upon these differences. Such thinking clearly shows that these women are willing in this modern world, to continue to abide by the traditions, prejudices, and customs of the ancient Biblical times when women were chattels and the property of their husbands. They believe in special privilige, not in equality.
This is a negative philosophy and refutes the entire purpose of the United Nations which clearly pledges "faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women.”
There is no liberty more fundamental than the right to work, subject only to those restraints imposed upon others in like conditions and calling. What these women are asking is special wages under special supervision and subject to special Government regulations which places women in the position of wards of their States. You see, these women "want to have their cake and eat it too." Such an attitude is evidence of immaturity.
Hundreds of thousands of families have lost the natural breadwinner as a result of the casualties of war, and women are often the sole support of these families. Above all else justice demands that no artificial barriers of sex be set against them in earning a living. The argument that women should not be granted full rights of citizenship because they haven't the physical strength of men is certainly unreasonable and unjust. One’s right to liberty, justice, and equality is not based on physical strength.
We women of today are the beneficiaries of the pioneer feminists and must keep faith with those who envisioned equality for all women of all generations. It seems strange that there should be any question that all citizens of a country should have equal rights. Surely there can be no more important purpose for the United Nations than to secure equal rights to all citizens, men and women alike. The present discriminations against women are by far the most serious blot on democratic governments.
Perhaps it would be wise for American women to ponder well the advice of our great stateswoman, Susan B. Anthony, who, in the year 1872, said:
"I do pray, and that most earnestly and constantly, for some terrific shock to startle the women of the Nation into a self-respect which will compel them to see the absolute degradation of their present position; which will compel them to break their yoke of bondage and give them faith in themselves; which will make them proclaim their allegiance to women first * * * The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it. A shock is necessary. To compel them to see and feel and to give them the courage and the conscience to speak and act for their own freedom, though they face the scorn and contempt of all the world for doing it."
Mrs. MILLER. I know you will be very happy to hear the next speaker, who is so well known as a writer, as an advocate of woman suffrage. In fact, she went to jail for it when she was just a very young woman, a supporter of the equal-rights amendment, who is now cochairman of our political committee of the National Woman's Party, Betty Gram Swing
STATEMENT OF BETTY GRAM SWING, MEMBER, NATIONAL
COUNCIL OF NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY
Mrs. Swing. Mrs. Miller, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Judiciary Committee, it is a pleasure today to talk about the international situation concerning the subject under debate, and I do it with a great deal of interest and a great deal of pleasure, because it has to do with trends in the world, not only trends of action, but trends of thought.
Now, the Charter of the United Nations was adopted in June 26, 1945. Six weeks later it was ratified by the United States. Congress ratified that Charter.
Now, you all learned in school, as I learned in school, that civilization, as we know it, started at the origin of the Nile River. It progressed in cycles of 500 years north to Rome and Greece, then farther up into Europe, and then over the Atlantic, until today that cycle of 500 years is in the orbit of the Western Hemisphere.
You gentlemen, I beg to remind you, sit here as Congressmen concerned with the destiny of that graph because fortunately we are still on the upgrade of that graph. It goes 250 years up and 250 years declining:
Now, that is a challenge. But when the United Nations Charter was written, they met that challenge. They met that challenge by writing into their preamble and five times into the context of that entire great Charter, equality of the sexes.
Will the Congress of the United States do less when we have signed that Charter, when we have ratified that Charter? I think it was 51 nations that signed that Charter. It has now become a mandate to each one of those signatories to bring their laws into conformity with that Charter of the United Nations.
In 1946, it was my great pleasure to go to London to help create a commission of women under that Charter. Of course we were met with obstacles. Of course we were met with opposition. We always are in this fight for equality. It is not an easy road, gentlemen. It has taken us years and years and years.
As a matter of fact, it has taken about 23 years since the first resolution for the amendment was introduced into the Congress. But since that time world thought has taken a new line. It has taken a new trend. The thing that fascinated me most about my experience in London was that the women of other countries all believed in equality. When that commission, fortunately, was appointed, we came back and we found that it had a great deal to do to study the conditions of women under every form of government throughout the world and under the signatories of those five nations; but this commission of women which consisted of the finest women of each one of these countries, drew up at succeeding sessions three different reports and, gentlemen, I must remind you that in no one of those reports was there discrimination based on sex. That is the world thought of today. That is the mandate that the United Nations Charter, that heaven has handed down to us in order that we may see what the world believes about this.
I think it was a nineteenth century statesman who said, "TO govern is to foresee." I keep hoping that the men of the Judiciary Committee of both Houses of Congress, that the Members of both Houses of Congress will see fit to take their place along with the men of the other countries, and will bring the Constitution of the United States into conformity with that charter because it seems to me freedom is not a gift; freedom is technique of living, and the cornerstone of that technique is justice under law.
It seems to me, gentlemen, that you have no alternative but to report this resolution favorably to the floor, if you are men of foresight.
Thank you. [Applause.] Mrs. MILLER. We hear so much about protective laws and what we must do for the working women without asking the working women what they want, and now we are going to hear from a working woman,