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and as she comes up, I want to remind you that as far back as 1913, the wisest labor leader this country ever knew, the late Samuel Gompers, made a fine statement against these restrictive laws for women in industry. I introduce a copy of this statement and ask Mrs. Markajani to come forward.
(The statement referred to is as follows:)
EXCERPTS FROM AN EDITORIAL BY SAMUEL GOMPERS IN THE AMERICAN
FEDERATIONIST, AUGUST 1913
(Issued by Industrial League for Equality, New York 18, N. Y.) "This woman movement is a movement for liberty, freedom of action and thought, tending toward a condition when women shall be accorded equal independence and responsibility with men, equal freedom of work and self-expression, equal legal protection and rights."
"We should view with apprehension present sentiment in favor of setting up public and political agencies for seruring industrial benefits for wage-earning women. These agencies would constitute a restriction upon freedom of action capable of serious abuses."
"Instead of aiding women in the struggle for industrial betterment and freedom, we should be foisting upon them fetters from which they would have to free themselves, in addition to the problems that now confront them, and we should still leave unsolved the problein essential to real freedom-self-discipline, development of individual responsibility and initiative.”
“The industrial problems of women are not isolated, but are inextricably associated with those of men." STATEMENT OF MARY MARKAJANI, YONKERS, N. Y., VICE CHAIR
MAN, INDUSTRIAL COUNCIL, NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY
Mrs. MARKAJANI. It is a good thing I caught you people at the bar, otherwise I would stop you in the hall and make you listen to my statement.
I worked the night shift, but I had time enough left to travel all night to come here to speak before you. If Washington, D. C., was in Washington State, I still would take this opportune time to tell you what has motivated my determination. I wanted you to see the “industrial type of working woman,” which the opponents and the Wads. worth-Taft bill feel need protection. The rank and file of industrial women in various industries that I have worked side by side with look to me to convey a message or to make a personal appearance.
First, I speak for myself. I'm an industrial worker. I have worked since I was 13 years of age, a forged certificate raised my hiring age to 14 years. Of course I missed out in school, but in later years I tried to make it up by attending night school for 5 years and didn't miss one single night.
I have worked in silk mills, Clark thread mills, domestic work, and night work cleaning eilices. I worked for Hyatt Ball Bearings as inspector. For General Motors and Eastern Aircraft building Navy planes. I was a mechanic. I don't mean I run a drill press. I worked and invented ways to speed production for which I have been paid in dollars worth of bonds and earned the title of “Dry Land Admiral” from the Navy to its workers.
I have worked in Otis Elevators wiring control boards for elevators and escalators and due to changing of time, which is beyond our and my control, I am today working alternating shifts day and night in Alexander Smith Carpet Shop, as a pattern setter for rugs. I have
been a member of various unions affiliated with CIO. Today I am under Textile Workers' Union of America, TWUA.
Gentlemen, I want to call this to your attention, many laws restricting women in industry were suspended during the war, thus proving to all women and the public that women are able to work on an equal kasis with men. We would be still in line with suspended laws. If it had not been that a group of men and women scientists suddenly found the secret of unlocking the power of the atom, the predicted end of a 7-year war would not have come in a few days. We feel that biological differences did not matter at that time, although women might not have been identical with men in physical capacity-what has that to do with the equality of rights under the law that we are seeking?
Gentlemen, why should the war that freed us in industry, and peace deprive us now of equality we earned during the suspended time?
The Taft-Wadsworth bill pretends to give women protection and equal rights. Protective legislation prohibits night work. “No night work for women.” Why should anybody who had never worked in industry feel that we need legislative protection. They say, it took years to reach that protection for us. . Yes, so it did. It also took years to split the atom. We know that protection is needed, but for both men and women. What guarantee do we have in this present day? I can personally say and I believe that the so-called protective laws are a smirking mask pretending to protect us.
The Taft-Wadsworth bill has the appearance of protecting women, yet in my own experience I can point out the inequalities in that proposed law. If protective legislation prohibits night work for women, why doesn't it protect or restrict the night work in cleaning offices. That is still going on and God only knows, I may seek that type of work again because my age is right after me.
Yes, gentlemen, “everybody” says we can get protection of equalization through unionization in industries. I can safely say our equalities through unions is in constant danger. Any union can petition the State legislature to prohibit women doing night work, after sundown or after 6 p. m. How can women's protection be guaranteed by sudden changes of mind of our labor leaders?
I have a magazine issued to its union members stating that TWUA nips AFL's idea banning women from night work. If this idea was tried recently, what will prevent them from doing the same in other instances such as equal pay for equal work.
Gentlemen, women prefer night work much more than we can express. We know we need protection. We need protection and that is allowing us night work. It gives women time to rest doing housework, marketing, and taking care of families. It will improve our standard of living because of the extra bonus paid for night work. This protection we will only get by the equal-rights amendment. By this I mean it is far better to win this protection and equality by a constitutional amendment rather than the slow State-by-State method. This is a sure way of assuring us equal pay for equal work—improving the standard of living by setting an equal level in wages for both sexes. This protection we can only obtain through a constitutional guaranty. This will be a God-given protection, constitutionally.
Gentlemen, my dad used to say, “Men and women are just like trees in a forest. When it rains on the maple, pine, hemlock, and fir, it also
rains on the oak. If one tree gets the rain, they all get it and they all grow.”
Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr. CHADWICK. Mr. Chairman, I would like at this point in the record to comment upon the testimony that we have just heard because of the character of the human personality that was disclosed in the statements here made. I think that Mrs. Markajani is to be congratulated. It seems to me she is a true career woman. She has made her career in industry, but with an enterprise and courage that seems almost beyond praise, but which I would like to have this record show. [Applause.]
Mrs. MILLER. We certainly all agree with you, Mr. Chadwick.
We have a few more speakers. I will ask them to be brief as you men have been so very patient with us and very kind. We want you to get your lunch properly, so I am asking the other speakers to be brief.
The first one I will call on is Mrs. Adda Lutz Ferguson, attorney, apearing on behalf of the Professional and Business Women's Republican Club of Philadelphia, the Sentry, the Quota Club, Philadelphia branch of National Woman's Party, business and professional committee for the amendment.
STATEMENT OF ADDA LUTZ FERGUSON, ATTORNEY,
Mrs. FERGUSON. Mrs. Miller, Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee, I have prepared a long discussion. Being a lawyer, I tried to arrive at some conclusions in logical order and sequence. My address covers the bill point by point and paragraph by paragraph.
My speech has been delivered much more ably than I can deliver it. I will merely comment by saying that in my own experience as a lawyer for 26 years, I have noted the effects of legislative discrimination against women in my own State of Pennsylvania; and I am convinced that professional and business women who understand are 100 percent in favor of removing discrimination by amending the Constitution.
It could be done by amending the laws of the State, we know; but as a practical problem, we think it would not be within the next 1,000 years. We prefer an amendment because, as it has been pointed out, it would be permanent, and each legislature, each succeeding legislature, could not change it.
I want to say one thing about protective legislation and how it has worked in Pennsylvania. We have two kinds outside of the old common-law protection of protecting a woman from enjoying her own property and so on. But the protective legislation that would protect women in industry, is of two kinds mainly. One is as to minimum wages and the other as to maximum hours.
Now, the minimum-wage law promises a great deal. It has accomplished this much. I have this from the woman who is head of the bureau that enforces the minimum laws, wage laws. In one law only, or one industry only, has the board fixed a minimum wage for women. Those are the laundry workers. The procedure followed was that they advertised, hearings were held, investigations were made; the minimum of 30 cents an hour was fixed for laundry workers. That
amounts to $12 and something a week. But low as that minimum wage was, there were some employers who did not like to pay that much. They took an appeal, and after rehearings, reinvestigations, they cut that minimum wage by 21/2 cents an hour, leaving the minimum wage 271/2 cents an hour.
Now, since the purpose of the minimum wage act purported to be to protect the health and morals of women, I conclude that that is cutting the chances of health and morals rather fine.
I do not know of any woman laundry worker working for 2712 cents today. The last reports I heard were that former war workers, women war workers, were receiving 80 cents an hour and the unemployment board upheld them, said that was not an unfair wage.
Now, as to our hour laws and our bans against night work: They have fluctuated with the demand for women workers and with the depression. We had a 44-hour law for women when the war came. We had bans against women working after 10 o'clock at night, between 10 and 6. But when the war came, those laws were suspended. After the war was over, industry demanded of the State legislature in 1947 that women be permitted to work for 48 hours a week and that they be permitted to work at any time of the day or night. They could not alter their shifts so as to comply with the ban against night work.
Now, that was done promptly at the insistence of industry because they found the regulations against night work and against the 48hour week as impractical.
Now, that is the history, and it is open to anyone who will look into the hearings and the record of the 1947 Pennsylvania legislature.
So that to stand and pretend that the laws are intended to protect women in industry is rather absurd. It protects man; it serves industry. There may have been a time when protection was needed for women. But it was also needed for all workers. And as we become more enlightened, our laws which require safety regulations, rest periods, seats where possible and so on, will be extended to all workers. Women should not be deprived of equality under the law for such trivial benefits.
There is another point that I want to make and that is that the opposition, the women who are well-meaning but I think impractical, are opposing equal rights when they advance a proposition such as H. R. 2007.
Now, of course, a commission to investigate would do no harm. It would only confirm what previous investigations have disclosed. But the principle of the act, section 1, I want to read to you: "Be it enacted” and so on, “that it is the declared policy of the United States that in law and its administration no distinctions on the basis of sex shall be made.” That is where the period should have been put. But instead of that they go on “except such as are reasonably justified by differences in physical structure, biological or social function.”
Now, implicit in those words is the idea that distinctions are to be made in law because of differences in physical structure and so on. They propose to continue the same discriminations that have hindered women and which in their whereas clause they admit has impeded the progress of women. But heretofore such distinctions have been excused by courts and legislatures as something they conjured out of
sentimental reasoning. There was no legal sanction for it. They
STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT AND AGAINST THE
STATUS BILL (H. R. 2007)
On behalf of the following organizations: Professional and Business Women's Republican Club of Philadelphia, the Sentry, the Quota Club, Philadelphia branch of National Woman's Party, Business and Professional Committee for the amendment.
The business and professional women of the above groups are strong supporters of the equal-rights amendment, and urge your committee to report it favorably. They are equally in opposition to H. R. 2007, the status bill, and request you not to approve it.
It is a well known fact that today, in the several States there are approximately 1,000 laws which discriminate against women, and which unjustly burden and impede the progress of women in business, in the professions, in politics and social life. We will confine our remarks to the necessity for constitutional amendinent to eliminate and prevent legislative discriminations against women, and to the patent before defects of the status bill.
For the past 100 years women have urged State legislatures to grant them equality under the law. Some progress has been made, but the fact that so many discriminations still exist, indicates that perhaps another century may be required. We believe the task has been rendered difficult by the fact that the status of women rests on an insecure foundation. The Constitution of the United States has been construed by the courts not to apply in all cases to women. This uncertainity of our rights under the Constitution leaves women vulnerable to paternalistic interference by the State in our personal and private affairs that would not be tolerated if applied to men. Women have learned that only on subjects in which they are specifically included in the Constitution are they protected by it.
After the suffrage amendment guaranteed the right to vote to women as well as men, the Supreme Court for the first time in construing a State law, held that women as well as men had the same rights under the Constitution. In Adkins v. Children's Hospital (261 U. S. 525 (1923)), the court held that it "could not accept the doctrine that women of mature age, sui juris, require or may be subjected to restrictions upon their liberty of contract which could not lawfully be imposed in the case of men under similar circumstances”. If that case had not been reversed in less than a year, the equal rights amendment would not now be necessary. The court, however, changed its mind.
In West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (300 U. S. 379), the court upheld an Oregon minimum wage law for women only. The facts were similar to the case of Adkins v. Children's Hospital, but the preamble of the Oregon law stated as its purpose the protection of the health and morals of women. The law was held constitutional.
Women were still citizens, with the right to vote, but the great depression was being felt, and labor unions and public officials wanted to get women out of employment so that men could have their jobs. The urge to protect women was very strong. When it was found that the Supreme Court looked with favor on such laws, so long as their purported was to protect the health and morals of women, in State after State similar laws were enacted. In many States it became the policy to deny to women the right to public employment. In some States laws were urged to deny to married women even private employment if husbands were able to support them. This went merrily on until the Second World War. Women were needed in industry. Health and morals were quickly