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STATEMENT BY MRS. AMELIA HIMES WALKER, LOBBY CHAIRMAN,
NATIONAL WOMAN S PARTY
In making its report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (May 14, 1946), the United Nations Subcommission on the Status of Women stated that in the course of their discussions “the members of the Subcommission expressed their belief that democracy is now the only social order in which women can enjoy full rights as human beings, and that women, a great number of whom have made so many sacrifices in the cause of democracy and liberty and who have proved in action that they are able to face all duties and tasks, affirm their resolution to work in the service of world peace with all their heart, mind, and will." Accordingly, the subcommission recommends that the full subcommission should be guided by the following ideals in its future work:
"Freedom and equality are essential to human development and whereas woman is as much a human being as man and, therefore entitled to share them with him.
"Well-being and progress of society depend on the extent to which both men and women are able to develop their full personality and are cognizant of their responsibilities in themselves and to each other.
"Woman has thus a definite role to play in the building of a free, healthy, prosperous, and moral society and that she can fulfill this obligation only as a free and responsible member."
Gentlemen of the Judiciary Committee, we realize that you are the history makers of today. We realize also that you would struggle just as we are struggling today, to have an amendment written into the Constitution to guarantee your equal rights under the law, had you not those rights. We have every reason to feel that our cause is safe in your hands.
Mrs. MILLER. Now I am going to ask Mrs. Cecil Norton Broy, political chairman, National Woman's Party, to speak briefly.
STATEMENT OF CECIL NORTON BROY, POLITICAL CHAIRMAN,
NATIONAL WOMAN'S PARTY
Mrs. Broy. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, just one or two points which I consider to be matters of principle. The equal-rights amendment will right everything that is wrong as far as these principles are concerned. First of all, I want to point out to you that the women of this country are casting over 50 percent of the entire vote in the United States today. In other words, in the national elections, we cast the majority vote for President, Vice President, Senators, Congressmen, and lesser oflicials. Yet we are not full-fledged citizens in the sight of the law.
Now, as far as property rights are concerned, these are not equal in the various States. For example, in the great State of Texas where I was born, we have community-property rights. The same is true in Louisiana and California. Those rights do not give equal rights to women for community property. Other discriminations in property matters exist in various other States. We would not only like this corrected as individuals for our private matters, but we assure you gentlemen that those of you whom we admire very much, we would like to be able to give our money in election times, not just make speeches for you, because women are keenly watching what you are doing here.
Also, some of you are making splendid fights for issues that you think are undermining this country. There are some on this committee who are doing outstanding work on that. We are watching you.
In this country, some people have been infiltrated with foreign ideologies and doctrines. You can count on us women to look through into the very bottom of these things, because the women are invariably for those things which affect the home, the child, our husbands, our country.
So give us full legal rights, and we can better help you in those fights that you are making for our Republic.
Now, may I say in respect to that, you know that half of the States, nearly, do not think women are competent to sit on juries. We believe that there are a great number of women who would make very fine jurors. We ask you to make that matter right. You can do so by the passage of the equal-rights amendment.
Now for the workingwomen. In my own case, my husband died as a result of this last war. His income was good. I have taken a fulltime position so that my son and two daughters may have a college education. Fortunately, the so-called protective laws do not affect me, because I work for a big national woman's organization, and there are no men employed there. But suppose I had chosen factory work. The so-called protective laws might affect very much what job I might be allowed to take. We feel it is a matter of simple justice, and that women's mental abilities and their individual physical make-ups should be the factors that will decide how far they can go. Let them find their own level, gentlemen. We do not want protective legislation.
Now, as for the single women, those not married, and supposedly in a state of single blessedness. I think a single woman has a right to go just as far as her natural abilities will take her. She does not need protective legislation.
Now, just one point about guardianship of children. I speak as a mother now. We believe that when we bear the children and nurture them, teach them the mother tongue at our knees, counsel them in their moral teaching, in their patriotism, all along the line into the college days until they are adults, we believe that women, the mothers of male and female children, should always have a right to equal guardianship rights of our own children. This is not true at the present time.
So, gentlemen, if you will favorably pass this equal-rights amendment through your committee, help it on the floor of the House, and then, finally, when it gets out into the States, help us to put it through three-fourths of the State legislatures, you will correct these injustices that are now the lot of the women of this country; and so we ask you to give to the mothers of the men of America and to the other fine women voters of this great Republic the dignified status of full-fledged citizens before the law.
Mr. REED. Mrs. Broy, I thought it might be well to ask you a couple of questions that I have found are somewhat confusing to some members who are not cognizant of the facts.
The National Woman's Party is not a political party?
Mr. REED. In the same sense as the Republican Party or the Democratic Party. The fact that they use the word "party" does not have any political significance.
Mrs. Broy. In our party you belong to both parties. Mr. REED. Members of the National Woman's Party embrace people of all political faiths?
Mrs. Broy. Yes, sir; definitely.
Mrs. MILLER. Mr. Chairman, after that generous offer of Mrs. Broy's, are you not glad she is not working for the Government or the Hatch Act would get her!
No, the National Woman's Party is not a political party. It is an organization of women banded together for one sole purpose, the passage of the equal-rights amendment.
Now I want to call on one who made suffrage history in Pennsylvania many years ago, who is representing the Philadelphia branch of the National Woman's Party, Miss Caroline Katzenstein.
STATEMENT OF CAROLINE KATZENSTEIN, PHILADELPHIA, PA. Miss KATZENSTEIN. Mrs. Miller, Mr. Chairman, and other members of the committee, I hope I can stick to 2 minutes.
I hope, gentlemen, you realize that we feel genuinely humiliated in having to come to you, representatives of the leading democratic country in the world, to ask that unfair discrimination be removed from half of the citizens of the country. It should not be necessary to have to ask this, should it?
Not only are the women of the United States looking to you to give their plea for justice your needed support, but the eyes of women all over the world are focused upon you at this critical time. What you do for the equal-rights amendment will be an historic record, one that may, I hope, add luster to your name in the future annals of our country.
It is, I believe, because I am in a way a small link between the yesterday and the today of our present campaign that I have been asked to take part in this hearing. It was in 1910 that the women of Pennsylvania opened in the center of Philadelphia their first woman suffrage headquarters and I had the privilege of serving as its executive secretary
Now, to come to the present, we are living in an unhappy time. Greed, prejudice, misunderstanding, and fear stalk the world. We hear discussed openly the possibility of a third World War and it has been suggested that in case of such an emergency it would be necessary to conscript not only men, but women and children, as well.
In other words, democracy is fighting for its very life, and the tools of war today are so terrific that their use might mean the destruction of all of civilization. In a desperate effort to save the democratic
way of life, the United States is spending millions of dollars in foreign countries. Would not this work be more effective and our arguments more convincing if we could also show these countries that we practice what we preach and that we have written into our own Constitution full and complete equality for all, women as well as men.
In the struggle ahead of us we need the best that each citizen can give. I beg of you to relieve us of the necessity to spend more precious time, energy, and money on our campaign for equality of opportunity for woman.
Over long years we have shown what patience, determination, and courage woman have and we now ask you to release this energy for other effective work that now cries out to be done. We are ready to do our share of the world's work, too. I ask that you do not keep us waiting
Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs. MILLER. Our next speaker is Mrs. Dorothy Spinks, who will introduce herself as I do not have all her titles. Will you tell them please, Mrs. Spinks?
STATEMENT OF DOROTHY MATTHEWS SPINKS, ALPHA IOTA
Mrs. SPINKS. Let me say that in 1942 when my international honorary business sorority selected me as the ideal secretary, I felt that the greatest honor had come to me in my particular line of work because I had been trained to be an ideal secretary and finally a wellknown personnel director thought that I filled the bill.
Today, I would like to remind you that I am also a member of the joint legislative committee of which Mrs. Avery is chairman and I have been its secretary-treasurer for the last 2 years. Enough.
My sorority sisters of Alpha Iota Sorority, more than 15,000 of them, have asked me to tell you that this international honorary sorority for businesswomen has endorsed the equal rights amendment for more than 10 years.
We realize that this proposed legislation will affect not only Alpha Iotas but every women in the United States in some way. Woman's opportunities for advancement, rights to possess property, privileges in private business, claims for advancement, rights to possess property, claims for legal consideration, all will be improved when she can stand up and say, “I am my brother's equal. Treat me fairly.” The enactment of this statute will actually be an introduction to a Nation guided by the Golden Rule. What a goal to attain.
No one of us is worried about the new responsibilities which will become ours after we have been declared “citizens.” For instance, the draft law would include us. We saw Great Britain and Russia draft women during the last war, and there were no dire repercussions. Many of my own sorority sisters distinguished themselves in the United States and Canadian services. It is my own personal experience, along with many others, to be a "civilian veteran," one who wore no uniform but shouldered a war job, too. We were, and we will again be ready to serve our country.
Because we are patriotic Americans and because we want to be American citizens in the full sense we believe that the Constitution of the United States should be amended to include us. You members of the Judiciary Subcommittee must take the first step in the House of Representatives and favorably report the equal-rights amendment to the Judiciary Committee. We urge you to do so. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mrs. MILLER. Mr. Chairman, with a final word from me our part of the hearing is over.
I am reminded as I stand here today and heard some of these women speak, and as I know a good many of those who will speak tomorrow, I am reminded of the old suffrage days of the antisuffrage societies. I have always said when the history of suffrage was written the most amusing and most ridiculous chapters would be those dealing with women who let men lead them into the antisuffrage camps. They
wanted to remain in chains. They were like the old colored woman who said, "What does that Mr. Lincoln got to do with me! I likes to be a slave.” Well, if that is a true story, I think she was the only one that preferred slavery.
But those women back in 1910 to 1920 fought vigorously against making themselves citizens. And now some of the same ones, or members of their families, or the same type, are fighting vigorously against being put in the Constitution of the United States.
A lot of the younger women who are very soft-hearted and mean well do not realize that they would not be voting today if it were not for such women as you have heard here speak.
A number of them, but I am thinking of Miss Pollitzer, Mrs. Walker, and Mrs. Swing were arrested in order that we might vote today. And our women who want to be equal with men under the law would be willing, if necessary, to again go to jail. I do not think we will have to do it because I am quite sure that the men see the justice of our plea.
Back of every man in this country, be he banker or coal miner, be he white or black, be he Jew or gentile, Catholic or Protestant, back of him is that great bulwark, the Constitution of the United States.
Gentlemen, we ask, we women, that we also have that great bulwark and support back of us women.
Thank you exceedingly for your kindness. [Applause.]
Mrs. Wright. Mr. Chairman, I understand you have an appointment at 3 o'clock and it would be perfectly all right for me to come down on Friday morning because I am going to speak 5 minutes for my great federation, and I do not think it is right to trespass on your time.
Mr. REED. I think it would be all right for you to go ahead, although it
necessary for me to leave.
STATEMENT OF MRS. LESLIE WRIGHT, LEGISLATIVE CHAIRMAN,
GENERAL FEDERATION OF WOMEN'S CLUBS
Mrs. WRICHT. I am national chairman of legislation for the General Federation of Women's Clubs, one of the largest organizations in the United States. We represent 5,000,000 clubwomen in every State of the Union besides Hawaii, Alaska, and some of the foreign countries. My clubs have been fairly canvassed on this whole issue. They have contacted their Congressmen in every State and they are watching to see what the Congress does on the equal-rights amendment when the fall election comes up because we feel we deserve some kind of consideration, because if Congress asks our help, as the Government did on ITO and Federal aid to education, all those things the women of the country are asked to help on.
Now you have heard plenty of talk on the equal-rights amendment. The Federation of Women's Clubs with its 3,000,000 members do not feel they are opposed in any way. We think they have a pretty good time in this world. But we do feel if people are equal to men to help rearrange the world as we hope we can do, we should have equal consideration in all forms.
The general federation went on record on the equal-rights amendment—I do not know in what year; I was not chairman at that time.