« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
cally and according to the records, a greater proportion of men failed the physical requirements than the women.
so I do not think we can any longer be called the weaker sex.
It is my pleasure now to introduce Miss Rosalie Moynahan, member of the committee on legal status of women, National Association of Women Lawyers. STATEMENT OF ROSALIE M. MOYNAHAN, MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON
LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN LAWYERS
Miss MoYxAHAN. I have been asked to speak on the possible effect of the proposed amendment on the social-security laws. One of the statements frequently made by opponents of the equal-rights amendment is that it would disrupt the administration of the Federal Social Security Act (title 42, U. S. Code, annotated, sec. 301 et seq.). That this idea is farfetched appears from the fact that of all the programs operated under that act, which includes grants to the States for oldage assistance, aid to dependent children, aid to the blind, maternal and child welfare, public health, and the administration of unemployment compensation, only one, the old-age and survivors insurance program, contains discriminatory features affecting men and women wage earners. The discrepancy arises in the payment of benefits not in the wage deductions from all workers in covered employments, which are made irrespective of sex and go to make up the Federal oldage and survivors insurance trust fund from which benefits under the OASI program are paid.
When first enacted on August 14, 1935 (49 Stat, 620), title II of the Social Security Act covering the OASI program provided for benefit payments to qualified wage earners on the basis of their individual accounts. But as the result of amendments enacted in 1939 (53 Stat. 1363) for the laudable purpose of enlarging the social scope of this Government insurance program, benefits were extended to include payments to insured wage earners, and to wives and minor children as well as the widows and aged parents of deceased wage earners. Although these amendments were designed to afford greater protection to the family as a unit and to meet the probable needs of the beneficiaries, they resulted in certain discrepancies in utilization of the wage accounts of insured men and women which the 1946 amendments to the Social Security Act (60 Stat. 978) have done nothing to correct.
Briefly summarized, the existing discriminations which might be affected by passage of the equal-rights amendment and corrective legislation thereunder, are these :
An individual wage earner who is fully insured under the act qualifies for monthly retirement benefits when he or she is 65 years or older and stops work. Now, if that wage earner is a married man, his wife when she reaches the age of 65 will be entitled to receive onehalf of his benefit amount, payable monthly for the rest of her life. If she is already 65 at the time of his retirement, such additional sum becomes immediately available to augment the family income. The husband of a woman wage earner has no similar right to benefits based upon his wife's insured status, despite the fact that through mental or physical disability, he may have been and continue to be dependent upon her as the breadwinner of the family.
When survivorship benefits acrue, the widow of an insured worker will at 65, if she has not remarried, receive monthly three-quarters of his earned benefit, or a like amount at once, regardless of her age, if she has been left with minor children. In addition, she receives onehalf of her husband's benefit for each eligible child until it reaches the age of 18 years. A widower, however, no matter how many of their minor children remain in his care, may not resort to the account of his deceased wife for aid in their support.
Further, the dependency of minor children to qualify them for a child's benefit under the act, as amended, is determined differently when their mother is the insured parent. (See 42 U. S. C. A., sec. 402, subdivision (c), pts. (3) and (4).). Whereas dependency upon the father, natural or adoptive, is assumed unless he is shown neither to have lived with the child nor contributed to its support, dependency upon the mother or adopting mother, and the availability of her account for their maintenance, depends upon whether she has supported them without his financial assistance and physical presence in the home.
It is inequalities such as these that the equal-rights amendment might well eliminate.
Another alleged scarecrow raised by the proposed equal-rights amendment in the field of social security administration, is that it would "introduce" uncertainties in the State intestacy laws. By section 209 (m) of the act as amended (42 U. S. C. A. 409 (m)), it is provided that the determination of the status of a wife, widow, child, or parent of a fully insured or currently insured individual, to qualify for entitlement to benefits, is made by application of the law which would be applied in determining the devolution of intestate personal property in the State in which the insured worker was domiciled. Inasmuch as there are now great variations, many based on sex, in State laws affecting marriage and divorce, adoption, guardianship, and the descent of intestate property, it would seem more likely that administrative problems of the OASI program in these respects would be simplified if the States following ratification of the equal-rights amendment are moved to enact uniform laws governing intestate descent.
Apart from these existing discriminations, it is now proposed in pending legislation to reduce from 65 to 60 years the eligibility age for all women beneficiaries. Whereas the present discriminations result from the martial or parental relationship, this change would distinguish between insured men and women in respect of rights based upon their individual earnings. This was recognized by the former Social Security Board in its 1939 report to the President on the then proposed amendments. On page 7 of that report it is said that "if the retirement age for women generally were lowered, the effect would be to discriminate against men and at the same time substantially to increase the cost" of administering the OASI program.
The “facts” now relied upon to justify this economic and sex discrimination, not to mention the additional expense, are, first, that women in their sixties haxe greater difficulty in getting and keeping jobs than do men of the same age, and, secondly, the time lag until the wife, who is usually younger than her husband, reaches the age of 65 and becomes eligible for benefits. While one may justifiably question the validity of the first “fact," the second certainly does not apply to the single woman worker or widow still lucratively employerd at the age of 60. Their very employability, not to mention continued earnings and increased benefits, would be jeopardized by any such retirement provision. If because of the hazards of age and pressure of younger workers, it is considered economically desirable to lower the benefit accrual age, this change should be made equally applicable to men and women workers under the OASI program.
Mr. REED. Thank you, Miss Moynahan, for that very clear exposition regarding the social-security law.
Mrs. MILLER. They brought up that boogieboo several times, I mean the opposition has. I would just like for a moment to say that I have here the statement of Senator Howard McGrath when he was Governor of Rhode Island endorsing the amendment. He has endorsed it since he has become chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Here is a statement by Robert E. Hannegan when he was chairman of the Democratic National Party endorsing the party platform; and of Gladys Avery Tillett, vice chairman, Democratic National Committee, endorsing the statement of the party. I shall present this. They have been sent me by Mrs. India Edwards, associate director, Women's Division, Democratic National Committee.
Mr. Reed. Without objection, they will be placed in the record at this point.
(The statements referred to are as follows:) Statement by Senator J. Howard McGrath, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, in Providence, R. I., August 15, 1944, when he was Governor of Rhode Island: "I am happy to endorse this measure which the Democratic Party has seen fit to include in its Democratic Party Platform."
Statement by Robert E. Hannegan made in Washington, D. C., May 3, 1946, when he was chairman of the Democratic National Committee: "On behalf of the Democratic Party we want to extend best wishes for the success of your convention. The Democratic Party included the equal-rights amendment in its platform in 1944. We still stand on that. The Democratic Party has taken the lead in giving the women representation in party organization and in Government, and our party will continue to be deeply concerned in all that relates to the advancement of women."
Statement by Gladys Avery Tillett, vice chairman, Democratic National Committee, made in Washington, D. C., May 4, 1946: "I wish to extend greetings and good wishes to your conference. We feel that the Democratic Party always has taken the lead in giving women recognition in party and Government. The equal-rights amendment is a part of the Democratic platform. We stand by our platform.”
Mrs. MILLER. The President of the United States, when he was Senator from Missouri, endorsed the amendment in a letter to me in 1944. I was speaking in Missouri at the Federation of Clubs. He said: "Say to them I am in sympathy with their fights for the equal-rights amendment because I think it will improve the standard of living by setting a level on wages equal for both sexes.” Later, the President reiterated this stand for the equal-rights amendment twice to committees.
Here is a telegram from Emilie A. Doetsch, attorney at law, Baltimore.
: “The women of Baltimore tried for 20 years to serve on juries and last year they got the right to serve in Baltimore and in 20 other counties." But she was not objecting to that. In other words, it took 20 years in Maryland to secure the passage
of a bill that does not even apply to the whole State. Why should
women serve on juries in some counties and not in others? Why in some States and not in all? In only 19 States are the qualifications for jury service the same for men and women. In 15 States jury duty is optional for women as it is in Alaska, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. In 13 States and 3 Territories women are absolutely barred from jury service. The equal-rights amendment will at once remove all legal discrimination affecting women from our statute books.
I have a splendid telegram from Janet Hill Gordon, member of the assembly in New York State, reading as follows:
Both as a member of the New York State Legislature and as the New York State equal-rights chairman of the New York State Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, may I strongly urge favorable action on the equalrights amendment to the Federal Constitution. On March 24, 1945, the New York State Legislature unanimously memorialized Congress to pass this amendment in New York State. The Republicans, both men and women, have pioneered for the recognition of equal rights regardless of sex.
Here is one from Rhoda Fox Graves, State senator, representing the Thirty-ninth Senatorial District, New York:
In March 1943, the New York State Legislature, of which I am a member, memorialized Congress to adopt and submit to the several States the equalrights amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I voted for that resolution and I am still absolutely and unqualifiedly for it. There should be no discrimination against any man or woman merely on the basis of sex. Best wishes for success of a righteous cause.
Here is a resolution from the Maryland State Branch of the National Woman's Party. I will ask to place it in the record without reading it.
Mr. REED. Without objection, it may be placed in the record.
Tuesday, March 9, 1948. DEAR MRS. MILLER: The members of the Maryland State Branch National Woman's Party join their officers in the sincere hope that the House Judiciary Committee will report favorably on the equal-rights amendment in accordance with the platform pledges of the Republican and Democratic Parties in 1944. Most respectfully,
ALICE M. KACHADOURIAN, Chairman of líaryland State Branch, National Woman's Party. Mrs. Nina Horton Avery is our next speaker, Mr. Chairman. She is chairman of the Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights, representing over 5,000,000 organized women.
She is third vice president, National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.
She is also legislative chairman, Virginia Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc.
STATEMENT OF NINA HORTON AVERY, CHAIRMAN, WOMEN'S JOINT LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE FOR EQUAL RIGHTS, RICHMOND, VA.
Mrs. A VERY. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee and other interested persons, the National Federation of Business and Profes
sional Women numbers 125,000 business and professional women in our country in approximately 2,000 communities in the United States, Alaska, and Hawaii.
The Women's Joint Legislative Committee for Equal Rights, on which committee I represent the National Federation of Business and Professional Women, and at present am chairman, represents over 5,000,000 organized women in national organizations which have endorsed the equal-rights amendment to the Constitution. Among those are: National Education Association, General Federation of Women's Clubs, National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., National Woman's Party, American Medical Women's Association, National Association of Women Lawyers, Alpha Iota Sorority, American Council for Equal Legal Status, American Federation of Soroptimist Clubs, American Society of Women Accountants, American Women's Society of Certified Public Accountants, Association of American Women Dentists, Avalon National Poetry Shrine, Congress of States' Societies, Industrial League for Equality, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, Mary Ball Washington Association of America, National Association of Colored Women, National Association of Women, National Council of Women Chiropractors, Osteopathic Women's National Association, Pilot International, St. Joan Society, Women's Auxiliary to the National Chiropractic Association, Women's International Association of Aeronautics, Women's National Democratic Club, and Wheel of Progress.
The equal-rights amendment will, in actual application, extend the Bill of Rights to women. Without it, those born women continue, in the words of that great English jurist, Blackstone, who lived during the American Revolution, to suffer from the defect of sex. When, and only when, women are given equal constitutional guaranties with men, will be removed the present legal barriers to United States women as to property rights, inheritance, divorce, the right to work for a living, the right to compete with men in the same kind of work, the right to engage in all lawful occupations, jury service, Government service, the right of contract, public office, and positions of trust.
In 1888 the United States Supreme Court laid down the decision : The interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is necessarily influenced by the fact that its provisions are framed in the language of the English common law and are to be read in its history. Except for the right to vote, the Constitution grants to women no right that English women in 1789 did not have.
Women, therefore, in the United States are denied certain constitutional guaranties because the courts, in some instances, have not included them to be within the legal meaning of persons." The courts, by judicial decisions, have simply written women out of the Constitution as citizens of and persons within the United States, and it is under the interpretation of the law by the courts that we live and have our being
The equal rights amendment is requisite to establish the absolute possession of citizenship status without degree or grades. This foundation established, there should naturally follow equality of rights, privileges, and immunities balanced by complementary duties, obligations, and responsibilities under law. The equal rights amendment, in addition to extending the Bill of Rights to women, will in practice provide a norin against which policies and procedures not directly controlled