Editorial: Job for women (9-5-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (September 5, 1941)


By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

The feminine voice on the telephone proposed an organization of women to study and clarify war issues.

The too-familiar refrain ran:

The women will have to do it. My husband says so. The men are too busy. He comes home at night dead tired, so worn out he can’t think; we are the ones who must act.

More and more often we hear this explanation. The men are so occupied making a living that they can’t attend to the business of citizenship. And who are we to quarrel with the argument? Any person earning a livelihood nowadays can understand the situation.

The responsibility of maintaining a home and supporting wife and children is a heavy one. That being the case, the instinct of one who bears this burden is to leave matters of government to the politicians, who work at the business every day and whom he pays to attend to them.

We can’t blink the fact that the economic situation affects every phase of national defense – that, in essence, it is the very bulwark or the destroyer of democracy. Nor that it is getting men down. So we find housewives studying the issues.

It stands to reason, then, that the wife in many a home is better informed on national and international affairs than her husband, whose mind and energies must be devoted to financial matters. In most cases, he feels proud of her interest and ability. It pleases him to dump the family political responsibility upon her willing shoulders.

But does he listen to her after her studies are made? Nine times out of ten, no! Instead, he disregards her advice and takes that of some tinhorn politician he happens to know. For husbands have one fault in common.

They can’t get over the idea that women are too dumb to understand politics. For that reason we have a twofold task on our hands. Not only must we inform ourselves about national and international affairs, but we must somehow coax the men of the family to put faith in our opinions. The woman who does that is a humdinger.