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Mr. REED. Who will appear for the opponents ?
Mrs. YOUNG. I want to make one correction for the record, if I may, and about 2 minutes' worth of comments.
It was said a moment ago that the A. F. of L. has an inconsiderable number of women members. I have been informed by one of the executives of the Trade Union League that they have over 1,000,000 women members.
Also, Miss Borchardt is a member of the A. F. or L., a member of the legislative committee, and was authorized to represent the A. F. of L. today at this hearing.
My comment has to do with the feeling that I have after listening to this hearing. I feel a little
like Hector and Achilles must have felt in the tragic moment in the Trojan Wars when the issue was finally drawn and they fought their last great fight over the dead body of Patroclus. That is what we are doing. This is a dead issue.
We agree that we want equality. That issue is not a point of difference between us. The difference is a matter of procedures. Judge Chadwick made the point a moment ago that he thought that these two pieces of legislation were not mutually exclusive, that one might precede the other.
I want to go on record as saying that I have always felt that if an amendment is necessary and desirable, and if one could be drafted that would satisfy the millions of American women who feel that this amendment does not do the trick, that is a matter which might be settled by the Commission we have proposed, which would provide a mechanism where different points of view could be brought together.
You can see, Mr. Chairman, that you cannot settle differences in a hearing like this. We come with one set of opinions and we leave, perhaps, a little strengthened in that set of opinions; and goodness knows how you people feel.
Mr. REED. Do you think we have poker faces?
Mrs. Young. You have had very gracious and friendly faces, I must say, Mr. Chairman. I would not be able to detect from your expression how you felt about this matter.
I would also like to applaud Mrs. Miller's thanks to you all. I think you have been very fair and gracious to both sides and I wonder why in this day when we seem to be spinning toward chaos we have to spend time this way. I am not sure it is a very profitable way to be spending our time.
We are agreed on a policy for equality; we are agreed that this matter has to be accomplished piece by piece. I think even our opponents feel that this attack has to be through education which would break down the cultural conceptions that underlie discrimination. Laws and fiat give us no weapons for tearing down these ancient prejudices. We are not any further along than before unless in the process of getting legal changes we educate a few people to what we are talking about.
We feel there ought to be an orderly way to do this through a declaration of policy that is a realistic declaration; and the provision for a mechanism for getting together to agree upon objectives. It is a procedural difference between us, and I want to leave that with you as the last word from my side in this issue.
Mr. REED. I think the committee wishes to commend all the ladies that have testified and were here, both on the previous occasion and today, for the fine spirit that was exhibited toward the committee and toward each other. Such verbal brickbats that were cast around seem to have been well cushioned and there is one thing I think the committee certainly can agree upon, that so far as the presentation of each side in this controversial issue is concerned, that you ladies certainly believe in equal rights as among each other anyway in the presentation of your arguments, and the committee appreciates very much the presentation that you made to us, and I think that it is quite illuminating
Now the responsibility will come to us to determine from the testimony offered what we shall report to the full committee. We shall hold the record open for 10 days for any further statements that anyone wishes to file, either supporting any of the pieces of legislation under consideration or against; and with that we will adjourn the committee meeting. (Applause.)
(Statements filed were as follows:)
STATEMENT OF Hon. Estes KEFAUVER IN HEARINGS ON LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN
I am an exceedingly practical man. I have always found, as a practical matter that there is considerable difference between a woman and myself. My reading of history and literature have tended to substantiate this view. Indeed, it was not until I came to the House of Representatives that I discovered there were people who seemed to doubt such a common-sense point of view. Since then I have been keeping my eyes open for some documents to prove my point. I note that one distinguished doctor and psychiatrist recently said:
"Women are no more like men that a spiral is like a straight line.” Or take a broader research, that made by Edward Bernays, who says he polled thousands of scientists, anthropologists, doctors, and others. This is the way he summarizes their replies:
From birth through life, the physical mechanism of females is quite different from that of males, even aside from the primary sex characteristics. The male skeleton has a larger frame in relation to the issues which it must sup port, the male has a larger lung space, proportionately, and he is of course more heavily muscled. But women's stomachs are larger than men's. In proportion to total bodily weight, their brains are larger.
"The functioning of nearly all glands, the rate of metabolism, and the behavior of elements in the blood stream are quite different. Indeed, the trite phrase 'red-blooded he man' is fact rather than flattery since the male has billions more red corpuscles in his blood and even his hemoglobin content is about 10 percent higher than the female's. On the other hand, the bodies of women adjust themselves much more efficiently to changes in temperature-they are cooler in hot weather and warmer in cold weather.
“Although women live longer than men, they are sick much more often. From this it is reasonable to conclude that the female mechanism is more susceptible to the initial contraction of disease but has a greater capacity to fight it and recover without fatal consequences
Psychological differences between men and women are a little more difficult to summarize, but the experts apparently agree that they exist. All of this correlates with my reading of the "great books" which recount the endless variation in the relationships between men and women and the subtle differentiation of sexual characteristics, which-you will agree gentlemen-make life more interesting.
Having established to my satisfaction that men and women differ fundamentally, I hasten to say that I am a firm believer in the rights of women, just as I am a firm believer in the rights of men. The rights of human beings were brilliantly set forth in the Declaration of Independence. But even that document, great as it is, needs to be emplemented by law. We draft our laws in the light of its great principles. Without those laws we cannot live peacefully. In those laws, the rights of men and the rights of women must be spelled out beyond
abstraction. Working out the specfiic terms by which accepted, and sometimes conflicting principles can be applied to everyday life is a different task which we lawmakers must face. It is clear to me that writing an abstraction about the so-called equal rights for women into the Constitution would accomplish nothing but confusion.
Since with men and women, we are dealing with differing factors, both physiologically and psychologically, it is difficult for lawmakers to make fair laws, to make laws which allow to both men and women the equivalent opportunities for self-development. I repeat that because of the differences of which I have spoken, laws which are identical for men and women do not necessarily give them equal opportunity.
Discriminations against women were so obvious at the time of the Seneca Falls convention in 1818 that it was possible to block out great reforms which all men and women with any sense of justice and fair play could agree upon. Those major reforms have been largely accomplished partly by law, partly by changing custom. The discriminations which remain, as I see them, divide themselves into two classes. I should like to describe those two classes and how I think the statusof-women bill (which I have introduced) is the proper method of approaching them.
First, there are the remnants of legal discrimination which are inexcusable in terms of the great and major reforms accomplished by the woman's movement. Most of these legal discriminations are in State law, a few in Federal law and administration. A few States deny to women the right of domicile if that State is not the legal residence of her husband. Some States deny to women the guardianship of their children. In a few States husbands exercise certain controls over their wives' earnings. Women are not permitted to serve on juries in 16 States.
Second, there are those areas of law where it is not clear whether different treatment of women (and I might add different treatment of men) results in a discrimination. Maybe the difference provisions in those laws are reasonable because of the differences between men and women. Law is properly concerned about the basic unit of society, the family. The question of rights must be linked with the question of responsibilities. Laws favoring women because of their unique contribution to the family have always seemed justified by society as a whole. Laws make the husband responsible for family support, for example. Such a law is logical as long as the role of wife and mother interrupts or impedes the woman's opportunity to develop or maintain her earning power.
The questions which arise under this second area are practical questions, demanding practical answers :
Should women serve exactly as men do in time of war?
In event of divorce, should children be awarded to the custody of the mother or the father?
Should the wives' pension under old-age insurance begin at a somewhat earlier age than that of her husband?
Should legal age of marriage and majority be different for young men and young women?
Should Federal employees' pensions for men and women have exactly the same benefits for dependents?
Are labor laws covering women workers justified ?
The answers to such questions have too often been emotional and factional. I believe the only way to get fair answers is to consider the questions against a background of sober and objective facts. The status-of-women bill find out those facts. It would declare a United States policy that “in law and its administration no distinctions on the basis of sex shall be made except such as are reasonably justified by differences in physical structure, biological, or social function."
The proposed bill creates a Presidentially appointed Commission of nine members to study and review the economic, civil, political, and social status of women. The Commission would determine the extent of discriminations based on sex and recommend legislation necessary to bring laws and administration into conformity with the declared policy.
As a Congressman, I should be greatly aided by the work of such a Commission. The precedents for such a Commission are numerous. It was the President's Committee on Economic Security, for example, which did the spade work upon which the social-security laws were based. The official and expert judgments of the Committee enabled Congress to see the problems it faced in clearer focus and gave it factual foundation for its work of legislating.
The work of the Status of Women Commission and its recommendation would go much further than the Federal field in its influence. Indeed the bill spe cifically urges the States to declare a similar policy to review their laws and practices and bring them into conformity with the policy. That is the final point I should like to stress. This proposal of a Commission to present some real facts on the problems raised by differences between the sexes leaves responsi. bility in the important fields of property and family where it belongs—in the field of State law. Yet the Commission will furnish invaluable guidance through its findings, to the State legislatures, through which remedial laws must come.
In conclusion, gentlemen, I urge your favorable consideration of the status of women bill. I urge it because I am convinced that inasmuch as men and women are different, laws which treat them exactly alike are not fair laws. Absolute facts and recommendations based on those facts are needed before lawmakers can draft laws which are fair. This bill would declare a policy of nondiscrimination based on sex. The Commission set up under it would find out the facts, would make recommendations. Armed with these, legislators will be more able to implement the nondiscrimination policy with statutes that are just and fair to both men and women.
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN GAHAGAN DOUGLAS ON H. R. 2007, A BILL TO ESTABLISH
A COMMISSION ON THE LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN AND TO DECLARE A POLICY AS TO DISTINCTIONS BASED ON SEX
I wish to make this statement in support of H. R. 2007, a bill to establish a Commission on the Legal Status of Women, which I introduced along with Mr. Wadsworth, Mr. Celler, Mr. Kefauver, Mr. Lewis, Mrs. Norton, and Mrs. Rogers, because I believe there is no logical reason why there should be any law on a statute book which discriminates against a woman--or against a man, for that matter-purely on the basis of sex, Because of this, I am in favor of an immediate revision of our legal codes to eliminate such restrictions and secure a workable, statutory recognition of women as people who have an important function in society and a contribution to make to our economy and to our country.
In this I agree thoroughly with my friends who support the equal-rights amendment.
We disagree, however, on how to bring about this change.
Time is too short for us to wait to remedy the status of the woman whose husband is an alien and who cannot bring him into this country; while men bring in their alien spouses with the consent of the law. Life runs on, children grow and the home is broken because the wife, not the husband, is the American citizen. To wait until all discriminatory laws are abolished and new laws effectuated, means that that family's life is ruined. I am against that.
Time is too short for us to wait to remedy the status of the woman who has to support her family because her husband is dead or incapacitated, or because he has left her. The pay she has to accept is 10 to 20 percent less than that of the man who sits at the bench beside her, doing the same work.
Time is too short because that woman, of necessity, is undercutting the man's wage. He will soon find he has to accept her lower pay or lose his job to another woman. Then the woman's wage is cut to undercut his. The vicious spiral begins. Unemployment rises. This reduces purchasing power and curtails production ; which in turn increases unemployment until finally all of us are again deep in a depression.
Time is too short for the woman Government worker who cannot hope to protect her husband or her children by leaving an annuity to them, earned in the same office and in the same capacity as the man who sits at the desk next to her. His widow will receive a grant until she dies or marries again. His children are protected by an income provided them by our retirement law until they are 18 years old or longer if they are incapable of earning a living.
But the woman Government worker cannot protect her widower nor her chil. dren though there is no reason to presume they are more able or less likely to be in need.
The equal-rights amendment, which is aimed at eliminating just such discriminations, may inadvertently hit the widow and children of the man. To equalize the treatment between the man and woman civil servant, it may take away the insurance the man wants to provide his wife and children and to which he is
entitled by his years of work; as well as that which the women would like to provide her husband and children.
Whether the amendment will or won't help the one or the other or both, we cannot find out until it becomes a law and is interpreted right-if it is interpreted right.
So we cannot wait to pass an equal-rights amendment. We cannot wait until three-fourths of the States have ratified it. Look how long the child-labor amendment has been knocking about in the States. And then we would have to wait 3 years before the amendment went into effect.
We can't wait until the laws of all the States are revised to conform to the new legislation and until each is tested in the courts to determine what is equal and what is a right and if there is any such thing. We can't wait because the Charter of the United Nations in its preamble says: “We the peoples of the United Nations determined
to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights
in the equal rights of men and women." And all over the world they are looking to us to see what progress we have made and what progress we are making, thereby bringing to women in all parts of the world who have suffered discrimination an example and a road map to freedom and equality.
Women's struggle for equality outside and within the law is being won every day. We can continue to make strides step by step through specific legislation.
Laws can be written to give the American woman the same right in relation to her alien spouse as now is accorded to the man.
The equal pay for equal work bill is now being considered in the Congress.
We can work to amend the retirement law for Government workers to give the woman the same right as the man.
We can urge the 13 States which do not qualify women for jury duty to give the other half of their voters an opportunity to discharge their obligations as citizens.
The reason we can do these and other things is because the first victory women won was a specific law-the right to vote and to hold office.
Armed with this specific law, women have pressed forward toward equality "in education, in the professions, in political office, in marriage, in personal freedom, in control of property, in guardianship of children, in making contracts, in the church, and in the leadership of moral and public movements." I am quoting from the resolutions and declaration of sentiments drawn up at the first convention on equal rights in Seneca Falls, N. Y., a hundred years ago this July.
There are other discriminations against women under the common law, particularly in the States, which are anachronisms in this day and age. In some States women do not have equal guardianship rights with men over their children. In some States women are not free to conduct their own business without the consent of their husbands. The absurdity of such laws in the face of the fact that 17,000,000 women are now gainfully employed and that a great number of them contribute to the support of others will be denied by no one.
How to win these rights without undoing the gains women have won with their right to vote and to hold office, is the purpose of this bill H. R. 2007.
The women's status bill will do four things :
1. It will declare the policy of the United States to be that no distinctions on the basis of sex shall be held except such as are reasonably justified by differences in physical structure, biological, or social function.
2. It provides a Commission to be appointed by the President to study and review the economic, civil, political, and social status of women and the extent of discriminations based on sex. Then it provides that the Commission recommend legislation necessary to bring laws and Government practices into conformity with the declared policy-without blindly throwing laws out the window-good and bad alike.
3. It requires all Federal agencies, so far as existing laws permit, to review their regulations and practices and to revise them in conformity with the declared policy.
4. It will urge the States to declare a similar policy and to bring their laws into conforinity with national policy.
Such a Commission can study discriminatory laws with a view to extending such benefits as have already been won. It may find that safety provisions provided women in hazardous employment may well be of value to all our citizens ; that night work good for no one and should be kept to the necessary minimum; that minimum wages extended to men in intrastate employment will be good for the total economy. Such a Commission might conceivably decide that a constitutional amendment is necessary.