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forgotten. Minimum wage and maximum hours were either repealed or were suspended for the duration. Regulations all along the line were quickly relaxed. The unprotecting process moved even more rapidly than the protecting process had.
Women have demonstrated their ability and endurance, they constitute onefourth of the working force and that percentage is steadily increasing. They work for the same impelling reason as men do-economic necessity. We are not in a minority group in the numerical sense. If the men were not much kinder than the laws, women in pure exasperation would have demanded en masse that such nonsense be done away with. Many women have not personally been burdened and impeded by one-sided laws, and they do not realize the unjust situation. The Constitution should give to women the same sense of security and stability that its guarantees to persons and citizens have always given to men.
Women need that sense of security, of fair play. They need it to protect their jobs, their careers, and their economic well-being. These are too important to women and to the country to be left to the chance of boom or depression, war or stagnation, the vagaries of legislators and labor unions, and the prejudice of judges. Only by express constitutional guarantees can the basic rights of women be made secure.
Strange as it may seem, there are today groups of women vigorously opposing the equal rights amendment. As an alternative they sponsor H. R. 2007, the status bill, which they hail as a new and positive approach to an old problem.
How new is the status bill? It would appoint a commission to investigate and study the status of women; the commission would report its findings and make recommendations for legislation. While admitting in the whereas clauses that many laws discriminate against women, and that such laws burden and impede the progress of women, and that most of such laws are State laws, yet they merely propose that the States be urged to do something about it. They ignore the sorry record of urging State legislatures for the past century.
Are any more investigations needed? The results of many investigations on the status of women made by public and private agencies have been published and are readily available at little or no cost. The National Business and Professional Club, the League of Women Voters, the department of social economy and research of Bryn Mawr College (sponsored by Ladies Home Journal), have each conducted and published intensive investigations. The Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor has surveyed and investigated the entire field of the legal and economic status of women in every State and the District of Columbia. (See bulletins Nos. 157 and 157A for summaries, available from Superintendent of Documents, free; also bulletins Nos. 157-1 to 157-49 for detailed information on separate States, same source, 5 cents each.) Further investigation would be a foolish waste of money.
The real vice of the status bill lies in the fact that it proposes to perpetuate, and declare as a public policy, continued legal discriminations against women. To be sure, the word used is "distinctions,” but the effect is the same.
H. R. 2007 is "a bill to establish a commission on the legal status of women in the United States, to declare a policy as to distinctions based on sex, in law and administration."
Section 1 provides :
"Be it enacted, etc., That it is the declared policy of the United States that in 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 and social function."
We have never heard of a discriminatory law which was not excused on some such grounds. In the past, courts and legislators have resorted to ingenious and tortuous reasoning to excuse palpable injustice. "Protecting health and morals," "preserving the strength and vigor of the race,” are the bromides mostly used. Heretofore, these were conjured up without specific legal sanction. If the status bill should be enacted, discrimination against women will be our declared national policy, with nice-sounding words supplied to excuse flagrant distinctions between citizens, solely because of sex.
This intent is implicit in the language of the status bill. In addition, publicity for the bill in a magazine of one of the sponsoring organizations in March 1947 supplied abundant proof that protective laws are not to be disturbed.
Is protective legislation of any great value to women? By far the greater number of protective laws have to do with wages, hours, and working conditions. We do not know how they operate in all States, but in Pennsylvania, the practical benefits are not apparent, at least not to women.
In 1935 a minimum wage law for women (modeled after the Oregon law) was passed. Up to date minimum wages for women have been fixed by the Wage Board for only one industry, the laundry industry. After great publicity, investigations, and many hearings, the board fixed the minimum wage of 30 cents per hour, $13.20 per week. After appeal, rehearings, and reinvestigations, the amount was reduced to 2742 cents per hour, $12.10 per week. That was cutting the health and morals of women rather fine. At last reports, former women war workers were refusing jobs in laundries at 80 cents per hour, and the Unemployment Compensation Board upheld them.
Also in 1935, the women's law was amended, reducing maximum hours for women in industry to 44 hours per week. During the war that provision was suspended. In 1947, at the insistence of industry, maximum hours for women were increased to 48 per week, and bans on night work by women 18 years or over were removed.
It is evident from the above that the motives behind "protective" laws for women are not unmixed. When industry needs women workers, impractical restrictions on hours, shifts, etc., will not be tolerated, health and morals notwithstanding. When depressions come, women workers are the first casualties. We have yet to hear of minimum wages for women being fixed by law at a figure high enough for self-support, with or without morals.
The cant of those who would interfere with a woman's right to live her own life and make her own contracts is exploded when the bartenders' union appears as the chief proponent of a law to prohibit women waitresses from serving drinks.
The national platforms of both major political parties in 1944 contained a plank favoring passage of the equal-rights amendment by Congress. The dignity of women, as individuals and citizens, demands that there be an end to paternalistic interference by the State in the private, personal affairs of women, no matter how the excuse is worded, and no matter what some well-meaning but impractical women may say to the contrary.
We trust that your committee will not approve H. R. 2007, but will approve the equal-rights resolution.
Mr. REED. Mrs. Miller, I wonder if we could interpose just at this time? I notice that a distinguished member of the United States Senate is here.
Mrs. MILLER. Senator Capper is our oldest friend.
STATEMENT OF HON. ARTHUR CAPPER, A UNITED STATES SENATOR
FROM THE STATE OF KANSAS Senator CAPPER. Mr. Chairman, I desire to express myself very briefly in support of the equal-rights amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I supported this amendment when it first was introduced by my late colleague from Kansas, the Honorable Charles Curtis. When he became Vice President of the United States, I introduced the resolution myself at succeeding sessions of the Congress. I have introduced, or joined in sponsoring this amendment, ever since.
This proposal, Mr. Chairman, has the unqualified indorsements of both major political parties in this country. Its essential justice, as I see it, cannot be denied by anyone. There is no more reason for denying women equality with regard to property and other rights than there was for denying them suffrage. The charter of the United Nations calls upon all member nations to recognize the equality of the sexes before the law.
I want to give testimony that during a longer life span than most of you, I have learned that women are just as intelligent, just as honest, just as able, just as courageous, and just as well qualified to exercise independent judgment, as are men. [Applause.)
I worked for equal suffrage in my younger days, I might even comment, relative to the exercise of good judgment, that the first year the intelligent and patriotic and wise women of Kansas exercised the
right to vote, they helped elect me Governor of Kansas—which I thought at the time, and still think, is evidence of their good sense and discriminating judgment. [Laughter.]
I have never been able to get the viewpoint which would relegate women to a lower place in the scheme of things than men have taken for themselves. To me this amendment is such a simple act of justice that it hardly seems necessary to argue the point. The women of this country are entitled to equality before the law, just as they are entitled to help make the law. I do not see why long debate is necessary especially in view of the many important pieces of legislation pending. [Applause.]
Mrs. MILLER. Thank you many times, Senator Capper.
Our next speaker is Mrs. Virginia Starr Freedom of Baltimore and a member of the executive board of the United Nations Citizenship League, and a member of the Women's Auxiliary Board of St. Joseph's Hospital, Baltimore; member National Council, National Woman's Party, chairman on junior citizenship for a Baltimore church; member, Daughters of the American Revolution; a member of the PostWar Committee of the United Democratic Women's Club of America.
STATEMENT OF VIRGINIA STARR FREEDOM, UNITED NATIONS
CITIZENSHIP LEAGUE, BALTIMORE, MD. Mrs. FREEDOM. I represent the United Nations Citizenship League which is a national organization with headquarters in Baltimore.
In behalf of the United Nations Citizenship League, may we ask that the Congress of the United States honor its commitments under the Charter of the United Nations, ratified by the United States Senate, in regard to the following aspects of the Charter:
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and smalland paragraph c, article 55, as follows:
The United Nations shall promote universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion-and, article 56, as follows:
All members pledge themselves to take joint and separate action in cooperation with the organization for the achievement of the purposes set forth in article 55.
The members of the United Nations Citizenship League, in particular, feel that the United States, as a member of the United Nations, should carry out its pledges made in the Charter.
Only day before yesterday, March 8, 1948, Tass, the Soviet News Agency, launched another propaganda broadside aimed at influencing public opinion throughout the world. This time it was on the subject of the discriminations under United States law against women. The dispatch is short:
This was "international women's day” in the Soviet Union and Tass told Russian women they were better off than women in the United States. The official Soviet news agency said: "Women won the right to vote in the United States in 1920 but don't have the right of equal pay for equal work,”
White-slave traffic flourishes in the United States and police rarely take action against it. In some States, marriage laws sanction keeping American women in slavery.
Are we forever going to continue to give the Soviet Union the initiative in its cold war against us and all our institutions? This is fine propaganda for consumption in the world in which we are locked in a titanic struggle with the Soviets in their attempt to win the world to communism.
We cannot combat it, because it is legally true, thanks to our anachronistic concepts of woman's place in the world of the twentieth century.
India's constitution insures equality to men and women. Each of the new States to be born will include it in its constitution.
Is it our purpose to secure for the United States the last place on the roster of woman's esteem, because of our determination to thwart her full emancipation ?
How will such Soviet propaganda sound to the Italian women who will vote on Italy's future on April 18? That there are over 1,000 discriminatory laws in the United States keeping women as semichattels, in this twentieth century.
We have made just about every mistake in the book in our ideological disputes with our Soviet friends. We cannot afford to alienate the women of the United States, to whom many women all over the world look for inspiration and leadership. The Communist Party of the United States opposes the passage of the equal-rights amendment. That in itself is a compelling reason to pass it.
We respectfully urge that you report and recommend the passage of the equal-rights amendment.
Mrs. MILLER. Our next speaker is Mrs. Mary Church Terrell, founder and first president, National Association of Colored Women.
STATEMENT OF MRS. MARY CHURCH TERRELL, FOUNDER AND
FIRST PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COLORED WOMEN
Mrs. TERRELL. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, Mrs. Miller has just whispered to me that I have one second and a half by the clock, but since it would take me two hours and a half to express my opinion, I will just read this short statement.
There is no doubt that, generally speaking, the minds of our Senators and Representatives are full of important matters affecting the welfare of our country as a whole plus their respective States. It is easily conceivable, therefore, that a certain question or problem may at times fail to receive the careful consideration which it deserves. Perhaps the equal-rights amendment may be one of these.
So I am now appealing to each and every member of the House Judiciary Committee to take the time and the pains to consider carefully the many strong reasons why the equal-rights amendment deserves his support. It would be an unwarranted reflection upon the integrity and sense of justice of those Congressmen who have opposed it in the past to accuse them of deliberately and willfully withholding from a group of loyal citizens, simply because they happen to be women, that
equality of rights which is necessary to enable them to earn a living or in some cases to make a brilliant record for themselves along certain lines of human endeavor and at the same time to make valuable contributions to their country of which it is now deprived.
I am sure the members of the House Judiciary Committee who have opposed the equal-rights amendment have not taken that stand simply because they want to be unjust and unkind to women, but because they have failed to realize that owing to conditions under which they are living today it is absolutely necessary for women to secure the rights for which they are asking, so that they will no longer continue to be the victims of the cruel injustice which will humiliate, handicap, and harass them in the future as it has done for so many years in the past.
Many years ago it was customary for men in all walks of life to support their families, except, of course, those who either could not or would not conform to this rule. But today, conditions are entirely changed. Today, thousands of women are obliged to support themselves and their families entirely or help to do so. Today, women sorely need help to discharge their duties and obligations to their families which the equal-rights amendment could so easily afford.
It is hard to believe that the men in this country who have it in their power to deal justly in this particular will refuse any longer to enact this legislation which will redress a wrong and lighten the burdens which thousands of women now unnecessarily bear. As unbelievable as it may appear, it has actually come to pass that the equalrights provision in the Constitution of Japan, enacted a few years ago, enables Japanese women to enjoy advantages and opportunities which are denied the women of the United States.
Finally, gentlemen of the House Judiciary Committee, when you consider the equal-rights amendment in this new year, 1948, I appeal to you in the name of justice to make a favorable report. [Applause.]
Mrs. MILLER. Thank you, Mrs. Terrell. Mr. REED. I might say, Mrs. Miller, that the bells have just rung which require the Members of Congress that are on this committee to go to the Hall of the House of Representatives, and I suspect that the inner woman and the inner man will need sustenance.
Perhaps it would be just as well if we take a recess until 2:15, and then that will give us our chance to get lunch, and we can answer the quorum call on the floor of the House.
(Whereupon, at 12:40 p. m., a recess was taken until 2: 15 p. m., the same day.)
(The hearing was resumed at 2:15 p. m.)
Mrs. MILLER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I hope the other members will be present, and I hope you have all had a very good lunch.
We are very grateful to you, of course, for this extension of time. We are going to finish as rapidly as we can and I am going to ask as our first speaker, Mrs. Lucia Hanna Hadley.