The Mobilization of American Women
By Caroline Ruutz-Rees
[The Yale Review, July 1918]
The part taken by the women of the European nations engaged in the great war stands out, even to minds intent upon the fateful movements of armies, strange and full of hopeful portent. It not merely gives promise of new social adjustments but may even prove to be a landmark in the long history of the race that will impress anthropologist no less than historian. A female element as accustomed and as trained as the male to express the energies of a population may well become the telling factor in the racial struggle of the future.
We Americans, removed by tradition as by distance from our European allies, find ourselves asking what share our women are to take in this war, what need the nation is likely to have of them. The question is at this hour pertinent, for in spite of extensive volunteer organization, in spite also of widespread impressions to the contrary, the women of America are still in the main, in comparison with the women of other nations, merely marking time. For us, then, the particulars of the change of English women and of French women from objects to be fought for, to fellow fighters and workers as vitally essential to the success of their country's arms as are the actual soldiers, has an especial interest. What has happened in Europe will probably, mutatis mutandis, happen here.
In England it was in such traditional channels as nursing and "chores" that the energies of women found their first outlet. The need for nursing was immediate and was immediately supplied. The need for dressings and bandages called together thousands ready to give to the making of these all their time and energies; while the demand for general service was met by the Voluntary Aid Detachments and the Women's Emergency Corps—those national "handy women" who would go anywhere and do anything. Such societies as the International Suffrage Alliance left their normal tasks to help aliens, especially enemy aliens, homeward out of England; others opened workshops for the women—forty thousand of them in London alone—-thrown out of employment by the abrupt dislocation of industry. The work of interpreting and finding homes for the inpouring Belgian refugees, a gargantuan task, was also in the main organized by women.
New fields of usefulness, however, opened slowly. The rejection of the first woman's hospital unit by the War Office and. its subsequent establishment under its head— Doctor, now Major, Louisa Garett Anderson—at the new military hospital in Endall Street, London, are typical instances of the early attitude and subsequent conversion of British officialdom. The War Office showed itself equally reluctant in the case of the now world-famous Scottish Women's Hospital Units, leaving them to do their heroic work under the auspices of foreign governments, and rejecting, even so late as April, 1916, the offer of such a unit for Macedonia, where conditions of hospital and transport service were of so shocking a nature that, in this instance at least, the blood and agony of noble soldiers paid for the traditional scorn of women's abilities.
At the moment of the shell-shortage scandal, in the early part of 1915, women had still to petition to be allowed to share in the more dangerous operations of munition-making. But with the government's intensive efforts to produce an adequate amount of munitions, opportunities were opened for them to enter all departments of the munition factories. The women who seized these opportunities contributed something more than willingness to work; and unsentimental government reports bear witness from the first to the effect of their patriotic zeal upon production. But it was the introduction of conscription in the early summer of 1916 that actually opened to English women their road of full opportunity. As the effects of conscription made themselves felt and as the capacity of munition factories increased—in some cases twenty-eight times between 1914 and 1917—greater and greater numbers of women were carried into industry, and above all into these factories, to take the place of men.
In the British munition factories, women equipped with fireproof gown and cap, green veils and respirators, the brave "canary girls," their hair and skin turned blight yellow, are working in the dangerous Trotyl. Fusemakers there are who must get their fuses correct to the thousandth of an inch. Women from the universities, specialists in science and mathematics, are working as tool-setters; others move sixty-pound shells with ease. Women, again, work in the tailor shops and canteens connected with the arsenals, or, clad in leggings and mackintosh, do trucking and carrying like strong men. These English women not merely show industry and spirit and fervor but they have set upon their work the seal of valor. Their lives are in constant danger from the materials in which they work and also because the factories are chief objectives of air raiders.
Next to munitions, the most important fields of women's usefulness he in army work and in agriculture. The gradual recognition by the British government of the need and importance of woman's work for the army reached a climax in 1917 in the formation of the valiant Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, officered and directed by women, yet a part of the army organization; like it mobile, uniformed, and paid at the rate of about twenty-five cents a day. The duties of its members vary from clerical work to cooking; from motor transportation to tending the graves of the fallen, or decoding signals and messages. Women do all that may become a soldier, short of digging trenches and fighting. The British navy and air service have been furnished with a similar corps, the Women's Royal Naval Service, nicknamed the "Wrens," and the Women's Air Force or "Penguins."
The army once provided with arms, ammunition, and service, the nearest concern of a country at war must be its food supply; and here, where Great Britain has had, with the continuance of submarine activity, reason for ever increasing concern, she has turned for help to her women. The conditions of work under the National Service scheme include three or four weeks of free training for selected volunteers on special farms, free outfit and travelling expenses, and free maintenance between engagements. With these advantages the English woman "over eighteen, active, intelligent, physically strong, and ready to sign for the period of the war," labors on the land under the auspices of the Women's War Agricultural Committee for ten or twelve hours a day, at a minimum wage of four dollars and a half a week. This land army takes no account of those planting and working their own ground. It is certain that the women of England have not allowed the food supply to decrease from the absence of men; and although statistics are not available, it is certain also that their efforts have added greatly to the home production, always so inadequate to the needs of the population.
In such outdoor occupations no less than in making munitions, a feature full of hope for a democratic future is the wide range of classes represented by the workers and the levelling, binding effect of a common purpose. Recruits for farming and forestry, motor-traction driving or the care of horses, are drawn from among the well-to-do women in England, to whom sport and vigorous games are almost as much a matter of course as to the men. In occupations which are more exacting of a trained mind and executive powers, British women and in particular college women are, no less than elsewhere, filling men's places. One of these may fittingly be allowed to say the final word for them. "There is nothing we have been asked to do," says Helen Fraser, "that we have not done, and we have initiated great pieces of work ourselves."
Unlike the women of Great Britain, French women had to endure no impatient waiting for their government's summons to service. It was natural that France, where conscription instantly, dramatically, called active men away from civil life, should be the first to summon its women; for war came just at the moment when the crops and the approaching vintage demanded attention. Viviani turned at once to his countrywomen. His proclamation to the women of France was posted in every village; it read: "Your country calls to you to complete the work of gathering the crops…. The wheat stands unreaped and the time of vintage approaches.... I ask you to maintain the life of our fields, to finish this year's harvest and prepare for that of next year. You cannot render a greater service to your country." The response is a matter of' history. Women, and not only women of the farming class, poured into the fields. Young and old, rich and poor, labored together early and late. What they did then for France was but an earnest of the service they have since rendered and are rendering now, maintaining the life of the country no less than the life of the fields.
The needs of agriculture gave the first and loudest distress-call to French women, but they were ready also to fill other gaps. As in England, women drifted early into such services as are daily rendered to the public. In the domain of small shop-keeping the habits of French life made substitution a simple matter. In this, Frenchmen habitually take their wives as partners. All their married life these had acted as helpers, often as cashiers or bookkeepers, in their joint business; and in consequence this business fell, with hardly a ruffle in routine, exclusively to the women. In France, as in England, and with a yet more present necessity, women busied themselves with the solace and alleviation of the agonies that war brings in its train. In the profession of nurse, so unfamiliar to France—at least, as practised by the laity—they showed the utmost endurance and capacity, and, when their duties took them into the danger zone, heroic courage and devotion. Several have been decorated for that and for devotion in infectious cases. At one time eleven Red Cross nurses received the Croix de Guerre.
French women not only solaced the wounded. By organizing restaurants and workrooms they, relieved the poverty caused by the temporary disturbance of industry and finance. After the first year, distress diminished as munition factories and other industries little by little opened their doors to women. Once engaged with munitions, the number so employed and the number of processes undertaken increased rapidly. In other trades also, not immediately connected with national defense, there was according to the government reports a similar striking increase. By June, 1916, women were engaged in breweries and the manufacture of mineral waters, in paper manufacture and gas works, in phosphorus making, in wood cutting and carrying, in sawmills, in pottery, in glove cutting, and they were active as blacksmiths and as saleswomen in hardware shops.
French women, like English women, took a great stride in public estimation, or perhaps rather proved that they had taken it, when the opportunity was offered them to help the army behind the lines, and to enter the barracks as kitchen workers, infirmarians, cashiers, storekeepers. The undersecretary of state for the Commissariat Department recommended the greatest possible use of women's labor in all military depots and offices. Everything a soldier does which a woman can do was to be left to her, from sewing to handling the parcels post.
In general, the French government laid down for its own practice and that of its controlled industries the axiom of equal pay for equal work. But here even official circles were distraught by doubts. The tradition that women must not, at least by their own efforts, be too well off, dies hard. The welfare of its workers is a matter of just concern to the French government and rests on the solid and unsentimental ground that woman power "represents the reserve for the future which must be safeguarded in its integrity." A committee on women's work established by the government in April, 1916, "to give to that work the status which it needs and deserves" reported within a year of its appointment eminently reasonable recommendations aiming to protect the mothers of the "nation in the interests of the nation's future. Women with child are, on request, to be allowed to change their occupations, shall not work overtime, nor stand long hours; four weeks' rest before confinement without loss of salary is their due as is free regular attendance of doctor or midwife. Mothers are allowed, morning and evening, time for nursing children at the breast, and a separate crèche for older children is obligatory.
With the performance of-French women and English women in full sight, American women may well ask where they stand at this hour in their country's life and estimation. An astute critic in our midst has somewhere remarked that our national habit is to attack our problems by pretending that they are already solved. Such no doubt has been the procedure of our press in the matter of the mobilization of women. Unwary readers, and in particular Sunday readers, might suppose that in America women are everywhere supplanting men in industry. Statistics in that matter are hard to come by; but the truth seems to be that in the United States, recently entered upon the second year of war, American women find themselves in much the same situation as did English women and French women in the first months of war, always excepting the fact that they are not occupied with inpouring streams of wounded and of refugees. They are widely organized, it is true, for war service in outstanding groups; they have approached the vital problems of food supply and of Americanization, but, on the whole, there has been little change in their status. They are still to a great extent "helping" in the old volunteer manner the more productive efforts of men, regarded meanwhile by the governmental powers, and perhaps generally by their busy countrymen, with a tolerance half respectful, half amused.
The first efforts of American women have taken, as did those of English women, the direction of alleviating the miseries caused by war or of adding to the comforts of the nation's fighting men. Trained nurses flocked at once to the call of the Red Cross, new candidates entered the nursing profession in rising numbers. Vassar College is going to open a training school to fit for the nursing profession the college women who might take the lead in it. Women's hospital units of doctors and nurses began to form for foreign service. Women's motor units sailed away. Thousands of women, not equipped for the work offered by these organizations, are toiling at making surgical dressings, rolling bandages, or knitting warm articles for army and navy, while scores of societies have drawn together for one form or another of war relief.
Happily for their effectiveness, the volunteer energies of women in the United States have been to a large extent gathered and focussed by governmental or official agencies. The Red Cross, by presidential proclamation the official channel for works of mercy, has, with few exceptions, embraced within its organization all the agencies for war relief. With its official standing, its unlimited funds, its command of the best business direction in the country, it has been able to effect results which scattering efforts, however intelligently directed, could not accomplish. All nurses for the front and the camps, and for "home defense" also, are Red Cross nurses; the women's hospital units, canteen workers, and automobile drivers go to the armies abroad under its auspices; and in its name proceeds all the vast womanly business of making surgical dressings, of knitting socks and other articles, and of packing, directing, and shipping these.
In the important business of food production and conservation, the voluntary efforts of women have been engaged and directed by the federal government's own hand. Through the Federal Food Administrator and the Home Economics Director (who is a woman) in each State, the United States Food Administration has recruited thousands of women to distribute and collect the famous "Hoover pledges," and has directed into profitable channels the initiative and the economies of the housewives who, in their tens of thousands, signed them. Working through the farm bureaus, these officials have encouraged women to plant home-garden plots and to establish community gardens, kitchens, and canning centres. So directed, the women of the country have made a substantial contribution to the" food supply in the present mild crisis, and give promise of meeting in a competent manner whatever more serious shortage may await us with the continuance of war.
In the matter of finance also the federal government has seriously sought the aid of women. The Treasury Department has found the National Woman's Liberty Loan Committee, with its thorough organization, of an increasing effectiveness in the launching of the three loans, an effectiveness sufficient to melt even the resistance of those local Liberty Loan chairmen (they exist in truth and fact) who "see no need for women in this business;" and the assistance of women has been hardly less used in the sale of War Savings Certificates and Thrift Stamps.
The Red Cross, the Food Administration, the Liberty Loan Committee, utilize a veritable army of women, yet a large margin would still remain unco-ordinated had not another government agency, the Council for National Defense, evoked its Woman's Committee, embracing and in a measure controlling the entire field of feminine activity. The Council created its committee in response to constant offers of help to the government from great organizations of women; and if the inception of the plan suggests the feminine tactics of marrying to be rid of a suitor, the union has proved no less fruitful than diplomatic.
The national committee of eleven members headed by Doctor Anna Howard Shaw, now possesses in each State a division representing all state organizations of women and in most States closely connected with the Councils of Defense. In every town there is a woman who stands ready to take orders and carry them out, so that, as an actual fact, a request from the government can in briefest time reach the women of every hamlet in the United States. These tasks of the town chairmen, for the most part promptly and exactly performed, have not precluded work on their own initiative. Lectures to cooks and janitors in the interest of food or fuel conservation, volunteer motor service, ready at the call of any authorized organization, companies of "minute women"—a Bridgeport invention—prepared to serve at a minute's call wherever and whenever needed, testify to their enterprising spirit. Nor have state divisions lagged behind the towns in undertaking original work. Patriotic food exhibits showing how food administration regulations can be carried out without dismay to palate or pocketbook, the recruiting and enrolling of shipbuilders, Americanization campaigns, volunteer dental clinics for recruits, practical advanced courses in food production or in the various employments to which women may be called speakers' bureaus at the service of authority—these activities give some measure of their undertakings.
The central Woman's Committee itself inaugurated in October, 1917, a national voluntary registration of women. Still, in spite of all this general undertaking and in spite of such original pieces of work as may have owed their inception to its subsidiary members, state divisions, or local units, the work of the Woman's Committee may be set down as, in the main, that of gathering and distributing information, spreading propaganda, and setting in motion, when requested, the energies of women's associations throughout the land.
Leaving aside all purely voluntary and unremunerative activity of women to consider the still more vital service of the open market, we find the first effect of the war on woman's labor displayed in the appearance of women as messengers, shoeblacks, letter carriers, elevator girls, and even as trolley conductors. The check in immigration, because of which the flow of laborers and tradesmen dropped from 1,218,480 in 1914 to 298,826 in 1916, may have been ultimately responsible for the entrance of women into work of this kind; but recruiting and the selective draft, withdrawing a million and a half men from active life, has naturally confirmed and continued the process.
An interesting fact is that the first influx of substitute women derived from the educated or partially educated classes, just as the first volunteers for the army came largely from outside the actual ranks of labor. Women have in great numbers begun to fill men's places in banks, mercantile offices, and insurance companies, and they are filling what would be men's places no less than their own in all the new expanding activities of the government, which call for such an army of office workers. The feeling that this work now offers a better future than ever before, attracts to Washington thousands, upon thousands of young women of fair education. A curious evidence of the number of educated women already drawn into volunteer work and clerical work may be found in the diminishing ranks of aspirants for teaching posts. The exodus from this profession is comparable to that, in a different sphere, from domestic service.
The press has seized upon the most picturesque incident in this employment of women in office work and spread far and wide the fame of the eight hundred navy yeowomen. Hardly less striking to the imagination of the public is the appointment in several States of policewomen expressly to deal with conditions in and about the camps. In Connecticut, to take but one example, there are five, appointed by the state council, their chief a well-known medical woman. Meanwhile, with the growth of industry, there is in certain lines of work an increased need for women also to do customary industrial work. There is an insistent demand for women workers for power machines. "If the womanhood of the country is to put its shoulder to the wheel, it should first be to power machines"—thus is the case put by a woman representative of the United States Employment Service.
In munitions, the most obvious necessity of war, the question of women's work as a substitute for men's, is still in the tentative stage. If we are to believe the press, the government has even designed a costume for those in its employ. There is unquestionably a large increase in the number of women employed in munitions work, but here also it is by no means certain that in the main this increase much more than corresponds to the general growth and expansion of that part of the work on which they are normally engaged.
A few examples drawn from munitions and kindred industries may serve to show the diversity of practice and the prevailing uncertainty both as to the need and the desirability of employing women in the place of men. In Bridgeport, so deeply engaged in munition making, report had four thousand women already occupied in such work in the summer of 1916, In January of this year, the Remington Arms Company had thirteen hundred women employed in their new rifle plant, originally organized and equipped for men only, and were utilizing them in all processes that do not require a man's strength. In another Bridgeport factory the number of women employed was in January diminishing, and in yet another no women at all were employed except in the office, the work being considered too heavy for them. In Worcester, a certain factory employs girls in the manufacture of munitions on large cartridge cases, in screw and press machine work, in inspecting and gauging; while from Indianapolis comes the report that the eight industries which have added equipment for the manufacture of munitions, will shortly engage for work, to cease with the war, from one hundred to eighteen hundred inexperienced women. In Cleveland, five firms engaged in munitions are taking on women as rapidly as they can, and two others are increasing their number; whereas three factories in the same place have expressed themselves as not intending to employ women at all.
The annual meeting of the Society of Mechanical Engineers brought out some interesting details relative to women's work in factories. J. W. Upp, speaking for the General Electric Company, probably in regard to munitions, related that, sufficient men being unattainable, the employment of women in all classes of machine work was, notwithstanding a previous prejudice, decided upon. The difficulties incident to woman's physical inferiority in strength, to her stature, short reach, and incapacity for long standing, had been met by changes in the mechanical equipment and by improved conveniences; and the company now employs not only women operatives, but also, in work needing a more advanced education, college women trained in physics and chemistry or other science, who, after an elementary course of instruction, work in the estimating departments previously confined to men trained in technical colleges.
In the manufacture of war material other than munitions, women appear to be increasingly employed. They seem to have taken their places in airplane and tent f factories, they are largely engaged with uniforms, and they are at the moment working in great numbers on gas masks. So also in branches of industry not directly concerned with the war, women are steadily making their way, and various firms are already employing them in practically all parts of the work formerly done by men.
A serious difficulty standing in the way of the large employment of women may be the opposition of Labor. There are indications that the present movement of women into factories, however thin the stream and however slowly mounting, is far from welcome to it. Labor authorities are by no means yet convinced that there are not enough available men to fill the vacant places; especially with the newly formed United States Employment Service aiming to keep available labor properly distributed and to minimize its shifting tendency. They feel the scarcity of labor to be local and exaggerated, and are of opinion that we have not yet reached the point where women must be impressed into work formerly done by men. A well known Labor leader, J. M. Lynch, in an interview published at the beginning of this year, asserted that, while the war had made labor conditions chaotic, these conditions have been seized upon adroitly by employers in order to substitute women for men. Male labor will not, in his view, oppose the employment of women "properly controlled and adjudicated."
There is no doubt that the uneasiness of Labor, an uneasiness in which, according to Mr. Lynch, "there is dynamite," is based upon the conviction that women, not generally receiving equal pay for equal work, will as dangerous competitors lower the scale of wages. The United States government, like the British and French, has laid down for itself the rule of equal pay for equal work. Various firms have asserted that this is their practice. One man states that while his firm pays women exactly the wages of men it finds that they accomplish on the average a little less, and are therefore not an economy; Mr. Lynch, on the other hand, implies that in general women are chosen because they will work for a third or a half less than men.
Such diversity of practice certainly does not bode well for the future. The success of women's labor in England, after the early difficulties, was greatly enhanced, was, indeed, only rendered possible by the attitude of the labor unions, which admitted women to their ranks, and, consenting to the abrogation of their rules against female labor, stood out firmly, in their own defense no less than that of their sisters, for the principle of equal pay for equal work. In a country where ninety per cent of the labor is unionized,, such an attitude is easily maintained; in ours, where at the most liberal estimate only eighteen per cent of labor is organized, it is obviously not. Yet only on such a general understanding about wages can women be inducted into the industrial work of men without friction which would threaten the output no less than the well-being of the workers of the country.
Whatever divergent opinions there may be on the shortage of male labor in factories, it seems to be indicated that in shipyards, railroad yards, and farms the shortage is real enough. The first of these industries has in the nature of things not yet called upon women, but the example of England will not be forgotten, where, it is stated on good authority, a battleship could now be built without any assistance whatever from men. It is then no impossibility that under the stress of war one of the earliest serious calls to women may come from an unaccustomed industry. Time alone can answer this. There is, after all, nothing more inherently strange in women shipbuilders than in women section hands on railways; and railroads have already to a considerable extent made this use of women's services.
The railroads seem actually to have been the pioneers on this side of the water. "There is," in the view of Stuart Bready, a writer in "The Railway Age Gazette, "no reason why women should not be responsible for the whole domestic condition of the railroad, in fact in many cases the employment of women is the only satisfactory solution of the labor problem of the mechanical departments." The replacement of men by women in railroad work began in the West. The Pennsylvania Railroad was, early in the year, employing nearly two thousand five hundred in its shops and offices. The most marked increase in the number of its women employees was naturally among clerks and stenographers. In three months, between May and September, 1917, watch-women, women shop hands and machine hands to a considerable number were first introduced, and battery women, boiler-makers' helpers, dispatchers, drafts-women, machinists, painters, switch-tenders, tracers, warehouse women, began to make their appearance. The railroad opened a school of telegraphy in Philadelphia, already well attended and producing, in the estimation of its officials, excellent results.
The example of the Pennsylvania was followed by other roads, and it became the policy of the railroad companies when engaging new employees to take women wherever possible, and by the autumn of last year, some nine railroads were doing so. Women were operating lathes, milling machinery, and gear cutters. They were doing upholstering, cleaning and preparing coaches for painting, and reclaiming and repairing cocks and valves, lanterns and oil cans, and doing general tinsmiths' work. They were working in the shops and running motor-driven transfer tables. Their output compares favorably with that of men, and the excellence of their work, although they are said to be, in the shops at least, a trifle slower than men, is warmly acknowledged by railway officials.
Useful as women have proved themselves in railroad work, however, it is the land which has the most immediate and the most real need for their labor. Perhaps it would be truer to say that the crying need for labor on the land inclines farmers to lend a favorable ear to the suggestion of a strange and desperate expedient. They are, in any case, expressing a certain fearful willingness to try women. Some feel a preference for college women because "they do not mind being ordered about"; others, because "they cannot be ordered about," will have none of them; others again think with some hopefulness of foreign women bred to the soil. The latter preference will be hard to satisfy, for the European peasant, having grown into other surroundings, dreads a return to the soil as a retrogression. It is only with the example of educated American women before them that they will in any numbers consent to this return.
A definite attempt, at least; to supply the need of workers on the soil is to be made by an organization known as the Women's Land Army, modelled upon the English organization of that name, but without the official support given to that effective corps. This body proposes to supply units of ten or more women to farmers or to neighborhoods. It is actually due to the successful example of an experimental Woman's Agricultural Camp carried on last year at Bedford, New York. This group of women, mostly inexperienced but all of sound health, of years varying from sixteen to forty-five and drawn from numerous professions—the colleges, trades (mostly sewing), and the teaching profession contributing the largest number—were convinced that owners of existing farms should be helped before new land was put under cultivation. They therefore established themselves in a central camp and, going, by automobile to the farms which needed them, worked there in squads of six or eight, proving their own argument that all kinds of agricultural work could be done by women. From the farmer's point of view and that of the worker's health, there is ample testimony that the experiment was an undoubted success. The camp was not, however, self-sustaining, although the wage which was considered normal in peace-time was asked for the women's work. Other such experiments on college farms or in state agricultural schools show that women can do effective farm work, and the farmer himself seems in his need inclined to make the venture on his own account.
Thus a general infiltration of women into the ranks of practically all labor is already beginning. In those ranks our public opinion is now in fact content to view women with equanimity, but it is not yet tolerant of any suggestion to set them to any extent in authority. They have indeed been here and there entrusted with the leadership of their own sex, but they head no government departments or commissions nor are they largely represented upon the latter, even though certain matters for which war demands expert direction, those connected with food and clothing, for instance, have occupied the practical sex all their lives. Such a body as the Red Cross, whose organization in the United States was due to a woman, whose work would undeniably, lacking the help of women, be largely shorn of effectiveness, as yet has no women among its national officers or on its war council and gives them but chary representation in important office. This is not a solitary example; it is typical of an attitude traditionally maintained in our country but rapidly changing elsewhere—-in England, for example, where the executive powers of women are now freely acknowledged, where orders and "honors" have been expressly established for them, where, as also in France, they hold important private secretaryships of the sort that lead to political futures, and where they are well, though perhaps not yet adequately represented on government boards and committees.
With time the attitude will, of course, change here also. A hundred years, humorist and pessimist alike agree, may see all the reins of power in feminine hands. This would be a disaster for the country only comparable to its present concentration in masculine hands. In the equal powers for work and production of either sex, not in the preponderance of one sex, lies the proper fortification of our people for the eternal world race. It remains a grave defect in justice that woman, setting her hand in the time of her country's need to the plough and the loom, should fail of that meed of recognition and emolument which men find so stirring an incentive, so grateful a reward.
© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013
If you appreciate the articles, read the e-novel informed by them —
THE HEADLONG FURY
A Novel of World War One
By J. Fred MacDonald