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stance, in the State of California--and I live in southern California-these women in their various groups have combined in an over-all organization for the sole objective of securing the equal-rights amendment, because every one of these women has at some time felt the deep discouragement of discriminations.
We have in California a law against night work, but we have so many aircraft workers, so many women in industry, that over 730,000 exceptions have been made in this particular law for the reason that the so-called protective laws vanish when it is financially advantageous to the men that they should.
STATEMENT BY JAMES A. FARLEY I am in favor of the passage of this amendment and I sincerely hope and trust that it will be accomplished. I quite agree in your statement that equal legal rights for women seems the logical conclusion of the suffrage amendment.
STATEMENT BY J. HOWARD MCGRATH, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM RHODE ISLAND,
MARCH 9, 1948 You may be sure that I shall do all I can on behalf of the equal-rights amendment.
STATEMENT BY HENRY A. WALLACE The first organized movement in the history of the world to free women from their age-old shackles began in our own country almost 100 years ago when a little group of undaunted women met at Seneca Falls, N, Y., and drafted a declaration of principles, which has guided the movement in this country ever since.
No part of that program has been completely achieved except in the political field when the right of suffrage was granted to women. However, the suffrage amendment gave women only the right to vote and nothing more.
Having long advocated equality in democracy it seems to me that it naturally follows that there should be no inequalities under the law because of sex. Every man and woman should have an equal right to earn a living, to control their earnings, and women should be freed from governmental restraints and handicaps, which now limit their wages and opportunities for advancement. The surest method to eradicate the many discriminations and injustices practiced against women is to pass the equal-rights amendment and thus complete the great movement for freedom begun at Seneca Falls in 1848.
However much the opponents of this amendment may fear some possible temporary disadvantage to some women, may I suggest that in the end all such disadvantages, if they exist, weigh little beside the greater advantage of inner freedom which will come for all women when real equality is established.
STATEMENT BY MRS. HELEN Hunt West, NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY Women have waged a bloodless and valiant fight for their full share in democracy. There is no place for subcitizens in this postwar United States. During the two wars that have just come to a close no burden has been too great for women to bear; no responsibility too great for them to undertake; no hazard they have not been called upon to meet. The exigencies of war demanded their all, and they gave it. They were asked to work at night; they were asked to take hazardous jobs; they were asked to go to war. They answered every call. The old threadbare arguments about the frailty of women and their need for protection do not stand up against that record. The jobs that they have to do, the problems they have to solve, not as a matter of choice but of necessity, cannot be handled with the artificial handicap of unequal laws. No matter how good the laws of the States, there is no permanency in them. One reactionary legislature in each State can, in one session, wipe out the gains of 100 years. The fundamental principles, which determine the kind of government we are to have, are laid down in the Constitution and that is where this guaranty of equal rights under law belongs.
The platforms of both the Democratic and Republican Parties contain a pledge of support for submission of the equal-rights amendment to the States for vote; President Truman has given the amendment his endorsement; Congress approved the principle in its recent vote on the United Nations Charter. As a matter of simple justice to American women, it is time to make good these pledges.
Law touches every phase of human life and endeavor. No one now believes that women are trying to make men and women equal. No two persons can be made equal. We want to make the law equal for men and women and that is a fundamental principle of democracy.
There can be no danger in submitting the equal-rights amendment to the States for vote, for that is the way our democracy works.
[From the Los Angeles School Journal, February 16, 1948]
FULL CITIZENSHIP AMENDMENT? YES! With all the publicity given the United Nations Charter adopted at San Francisco, one principle, vital to the welfare of women throughout the world, has received scant attention from the press. The preamble declares its belief in the equal rights of men and women and in subsequent articles and sections the fundamental principles of human rights and basic freedoms are declared to apply to all humanity without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.
There is before the lawmakers of this Nation at the present time a proposed amendment to the Constitution of the United States which reads:
"Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
“Congress and the several States shall have the power, within their respective jurisdictions, to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
"This amendment shall take effect 3 years after the date of ratification."
It may come as a shock to many women to learn that free-born American women, serving their country in military organizations in every part of the earth, in factories, offices, and homes, are not, in a legal sense, the equal of their brothers. To find that they are not “persons" within the meaning of the Constitution, but only "females” may also be disconcerting; but to know that while men of the Nation enjoy full citizenship and the protection of the Constitution, women are still chattels, wards of their respective States and of the Nation, classed, legislatively speaking, with children and idiots, is an indignity which many of them simply will not believe.
The truth is that American women have only two rights which their respective States cannot take away from them, namely, the right to vote granted by the nineteenth amendment, and the right to choose their citizenship if they marry aliens, a right granted as the result of international treaty.
When women were refused representation on the draft board the reason given for their exclusion was that they were only subcitizens of the United States, and were, therefore, not eligible for appointment. More recently the Comptroller ruled that women were not persons. This occurred after Pearl Harbor when our women physicians and surgeans applied for commissions in the armed forces of the United States under a statute empowering the President to commission any qualified “person." Since women weren't persons, but "females" it took a special statute to enable them to serve their country in the capacity of physicians.
These court decisions have made men full citizens of the United States and women subcitizens, or wards of their respective States. Although under pressure of women's organizations many rights have been granted women, there are over a thousand laws which discriminate against them, and which they have no redress.
Laws affecting the lives of women are too many to enumerate in an article of this length, but thousands of women affected directly by them have cried, "Why don't we do something?"
There are two ways to correct such unjust laws. One, advocated by a minority of womens' organizations in what is known as "the specific bill for a specific ill" method. That is to say, for every injustice, you spend years lobbying to have it changed.
The other method is through the passage of a full-citizenship amendment granting to the women of the United States full citizenship and equal rights with men.
Opposed to the amendment are small but very vocal organizations, composed primarily of nonworking, intelligent, and sincere women, interested in civic welfare and good government. Their objections are honest, but scarcely stand in the light of fact and the hope for equality expressed in the United Nations Charter. Let us examine them.
Their chief concern is the possible abolition of protective laws for women only. Every thinking person today believes in protective laws for workers in industry, but the backers of the amendment believe that these laws should be based on the nature of the work, rather than on the sex of the workers.
Many of us were horrified when we found that what we had done was to throw women by the thousands out of work. No night-work laws, for women only, meant women could not work at night, except where the law made special provisions. The women of New York who stormed legislative halls crying “Give us back our jobs” were indicative of the feeling of all women whose livelihood was taken from them by special labor laws for women only. California's vaunted minimum wage law for women only, in the depth of the depression, made it possible for men to undercut them and so work for 10 and 12 dollars a week.
The truth is, women were shock troops in the movement for protective laws in industry. Unions seized on them as a means of eliminating the competition of women in industry urging passage of the laws while denouncing the passage of similar laws for men as a form of economic slavery.
At the time they were inaugurated, 40 years ago, protective laws for women only accomplished some good. They brought captains of industry and the women of their families to a realization of the necessity for protecting a worker's health and economic status, to regard him as a worker and a human being rather than a mere cog in the wheel of industry.
This is evidenced by the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States, on February 3, 1941, declared constitutional the National Fair Standards Labor Act, popularly known as the Federal wage-hour law. When first drafted, it contained provisions discriminating against women, provisions which organizations still opposing equality for women, sought to retain.
The full citizenship or equal-rights amendment would compel the States to bring their laws into line with national policy and to recognize its citizens, men and women, as human beings and workers, rather than as "citizens” and "females."
Other protective laws, outside the wage-and-hour laws, concern themselves primarily with maternity laws, weight-lifting laws, providing seats and rest periods, and separate toilet facilities for men and women.
The trend of modern legislation is toward a more humane approach to the problems of labor and industry. Men need protection as well as women. The old idea that women are the frail members of the race and need more protection than men has been scientifically exploded.
Dr. M. F. Ashley Montague, a specialist in physical anthropology, psychology, anatomy, and physiology, and teacher of anatomy at Hahnemann Medical Collegn, Philadelph'a, in a national magazine (Saturday Evening Post, March 24, 1945) pointed out that women are stronger than men in resistance to disease, that they live longer, that their insurance rate is the same as men's, and in general brain power, business ability, and emotional stability, they are the equals of men,
And since child-bearing is a special function necessary for the preservation of the state, laws provident for women during pregnancy would not be endangered either.
Another problem about which the opponents of the full-citizenship or equal-rights amendment concern themselves is the age of marriage. The laws covering the age of marriage vary in different States, but since such laws apply to minors, not men and women of legal age, they could not be affected.
The old concern of nonequalitarians as to required military service for women has collapsed before public necessity and the heroic service of women in military service.
Those who base their opposition to full citizenship for women on alimony and divorce laws are consciously or unconsciously afraid of their own ability to meet the economic problem of life and so hope to cling to laws to assure
themselves of the support of a husband whether the marriage relation continues or not. There would still be support laws if the amendment were passed, but the laws would be the same for men and women.
Marriage is a personal relation, and no law can force either husband or wife to remain within a State and assume the obligations incurred. If a husband deserts his family and goes to another State there is little a wife can do about it. If the mother is willing to work and support her children there is no legal abandonment. Some States do not even consider abandonment a minor offense. Twenty-nine regard it as a misdemeanor, and sixteen classify it as a felony, but to constitute a felony the abandonment must leave wife and minor children destitute, and they are not destitute unless, without food and shelter, they become public charges. Is this the type of "protection" women seek to obtain at the expense of full status as citizens with the protection of the Constitution of the United States?
The objection that the passage of the amendment will cause "confusion” is infantile. All laws are subject to interpretation by the courts. Certainly one could have raised the same objection to the passage of all the great social laws enacted in the last 12 years; yet today, in spite of the struggle to interpret them, no one would question the value of that period of court litigation and interpretation. Besides, the amendment expressly provides that it shall not go into effect until 3 years after its ratification.
During this time each State in that period would go over its statutes and bring them into line with the provisions of equality required by the amendment.
The last and oldest argument used against the amendment is “Woman's place is in the home." It was used to keep women out of secondary schools and colleges; to keep them out of anything but "refined" work, namely teaching and housework; it was used to keep unmarried women dependent upon fathers and brothers, the convenient, sometimes loved, often resented, the old-maid aunt; it was used as the supreme argument against the nineteenth amendment, but it is no more valid now than then.
The place for many women is in the home, but during the war, the arguments of all Government agencies were directed toward getting them out of the home and into industry. Homemaking has scarcely received the honor that is its due.
But to classify all women as homemakers, disregarding their special talents and abilities, is about as senseless as to classify all men as doctors, or lawyers, or farmers. Men and women are individuals.
Women by the thousands returned voluntarily to homemaking as a profession,, but other thousands will not do so. Laws applicable to women only and that can be used to take away their jobs and deny them promotion and opportunity will not make their problem any easier.
Are we afraid of changing laws? Changing laws have built our Government. When we threw off the yoke of England we dared face an entire change of government; when we faced disaster under the Articles of Confederation, we "scrapped" and substituted the Constitution of the United States. Then we added the Bill of Rights to protect human rights and liberty. For that same reason we have amended the Constitution from time to time. We are about to adopt the United Nations Charter, which explicitly declares that its principles shall apply without regard to sex. We do not expect that document to remain for all time unchanged.
The majority of men and women of the United States believe in democracy and equality. They believe that for them, subcitizens though they may be, these are precious national heritages, and that special laws for special groups of adult citizens defeat their end and the purposes of democratic government.
"He who refuses to accept the burdens of liberty is unworthy of liberty itself.”
Let us be sure that in the new world to rise after the war, this democracy of ours shall be for all mankind, irrespective of creed, language, color, or of sex,
A full-citizenship amendment will not correct all industrial injustices in a day, but it will give a constitutional basis on which to proceed, and it will remove the stigma of chattel status from women and give them equal opportunities with men to develop their talents and abilities for their own best interests and those of the Nation and the world.
Once passed, a full-citizenship of equal-rights amendment will be accepted as was the suffrage amendment, and men and women can use the energy now expended lobbying for and against special laws for women only, for the general good. The time to pass a full-citizenship amendment is now.
STATEMENT BY MRS. PERLE S. MESTA, COCHAIRMAN OF RECENT JACKSON DAY DINNEB
The equal-rights amendment has been endorsed by 32 national organizations.
Both Republican and Democratic Parties have pledged themselves in their platforms to support such an amendment.
Forty-eight Governors, past and present, have publicly announced their enthusiastic support of this measure.
It has the endorsement of many prominent men and women, among them Miss Pearl Buck, Miss Dorothy Thompson, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Margaret Culkin Banning, Dr. Emily Barringer, Helen Hayes, Katharine Hepburn, Gladys Swarthout, Mary Pickford, Georgia O'Keefe, President Truman, Ex-President Hoover, Henry Wallace, James Truslow Adams, George Gordon Battle, James A. Farley, Dr. G. Bromley Oxnam, Carl Sandburg, Dr. Arthur M. Schlesinger, and Cardinal Dougherty.
CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS Adopted at San Francisco June 26, 1945; ratified by the United States August 8, 1945.
PROVISIONS ON EQUALITY FOR WOMEN Preamble
We the peoples of the United Nations determined 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 small have agreed to the present Charter of the United Nations and do hereby establish an international organization to be known as the United Nations. Chapter 1, Art. 1, Purposes and principles
The Purposes of the United Nations are:
3. To achieve international cooperation * * in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion Chapter III. Art. 8, Organs
The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs. Chapter IV. Art. 13, Sec. I, The General Assembly
The General Assembly shall initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of:
b. promoting international cooperation in the economic, social, cultural, educational and health fields, and assisting in the realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion Chapter IX. Art. 55, International economic and social cooperation
With a view to the creation of conditions of stability and well-being the United Nations shall promote:
c. universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, ser, language, or religion. Art. 56
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. Chapter XII. Art. 76, International trusteeship system
The basic objectives of the trusteeship system * shall be:
c. to encourage respect for human rights, and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, ser, language, or religion *
(Note.--The italics above are not in the official text of the Charter.) National Woman's Party, 144 B Street NE., Washington, D. C.