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Title: Mobilizing Woman-Power
Author: Blatch, Harriot Stanton
Language: English
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[Illustration: Jeanne d'Arc.--the spirit of the women of the Allies.]


Who have stood behind the armies of the Allies through the years of the
Great War as an unswerving second line of defense against an onslaught
upon the liberty and civilization of the world, I dedicate this volume.

















Jeanne d'Arc--the spirit of the women of the Allies

They wear the uniforms of the Edinburgh trams and the New York City
subway and trolley guards, with pride and purpose.

Then--the offered service of the Women's Reserve Ambulance Corps in
England was spurned. Now--they wear shrapnel helmets while working
during the Zeppelin raids.

The French poilu on furlough is put to work harrowing.

Has there ever been anything impossible to French women since the time
of Jeanne d'Arc? The fields must be harrowed--they have no horses.

The daily round in the Erie Railroad workshops.

In the well-lighted factory of the Briggs and Stratton Company,
Milwaukee, the girls are comfortably and becomingly garbed for work.

The women of the Motor Corps of the National League for Woman's Service
refuting the traditions that women have neither strength nor endurance.

Down the street they come, beginning their pilgrimage of alleviation and
succor on the battlefields of France.

How can business be "as usual" when in Paris there are about 1800 of
these small workshops where a woman dips Bengal Fire and grenades into a
bath of paraffin!

Countess de Berkaim and her canteen in the Gare de St. Lazarre, Paris.

An agricultural unit in the uniform approved by the Woman's Land Army of

A useful blending of Allied women. Miss Kathleen Burke (Scotch)
exhibiting the X-ray ambulance equipped by Mrs. Ayrton (English) and
Madame Curie (French).


It is a real pleasure to write this foreword to the book which Mrs.
Harriot Stanton Blatch dedicates to the women of Great Britain and
France; to the women who through the years of the great war have stood
as the second line of defense against the German horror which menaces
the liberty and civilization of the entire world.

There could be no more timely book. Mrs. Blatch's aim is to stir the
women of this country to the knowledge that this is their war, and also
to make all our people feel that we, and especially our government,
should welcome the service of women, and make use of it to the utmost.
In other words, the appeal of Mrs. Blatch is essentially an appeal for
service. No one has more vividly realized that service benefits the one
who serves precisely as it benefits the one who is served. I join with
her in the appeal that the women shall back the men with service, and
that the men in their turn shall frankly and eagerly welcome the
rendering of such service _on the basis of service by equals for a
common end_.

Mrs. Blatch makes her appeal primarily because of the war needs of the
moment. But she has in view no less the great tasks of the future. I
welcome her book as an answer to the cry that the admission of women to
an equal share in the right of self government will tend to soften the
body politic. Most certainly I will ever set my face like flint against
any unhealthy softening of our civilization, and as an answer in advance
to hyper-criticism I explain that I do not mean softness in the sense of
tender-heartedness; I mean the softness which, extends to the head and
to the moral fibre, I mean the softness which manifests itself either in
unhealthy sentimentality or in a materialism which may be either
thoughtless and pleasure-loving or sordid and money-getting. I believe
that the best women, when thoroughly aroused, and when the right appeal
is made to them, will offer our surest means of resisting this unhealthy

No man who is not blind can fail to see that we have entered a new day
in the great epic march of the ages. For good or for evil the old days
have passed; and it rests with us, the men and women now alive, to
decide whether in the new days the world is to be a better or a worse
place to live in, for our descendants.

In this new world women are to stand on an equal footing with men, in
ways and to an extent never hitherto dreamed of. In this country they
are on the eve of securing, and in much of the country have already
secured, their full political rights. It is imperative that they should
understand, exactly as it is imperative that men should understand, that
such rights are of worse than no avail, unless the will for the
performance of duty goes hand in hand with the acquirement of the

If the women in this country reinforce the elements that tend to a
softening of the moral fibre, to a weakening of the will, and
unwillingness to look ahead or to face hardship and labor and danger for
a high ideal--then all of us alike, men and women, will suffer. But if
they show, under the new conditions, the will to develop strength, and
the high idealism and the iron resolution which under less favorable
circumstances were shown by the women of the Revolution and of the Civil
War, then our nation has before it a career of greatness never hitherto
equaled. This book is fundamentally an appeal, not that woman shall
enjoy any privilege unearned, but that hers shall be the right to do
more than she has ever yet done, and to do it on terms of
self-respecting partnership with men. Equality of right does not mean
identity of function; but it does necessarily imply identity of purpose
in the performance of duty.

Mrs. Blatch shows why every woman who inherits the womanly virtues of
the past, and who has grasped the ideal of the added womanly virtues of
the present and the future, should support this war with all her
strength and soul. She testifies from personal knowledge to the hideous
brutalities shown toward women and children by the Germany of to-day;
and she adds the fine sentence: "Women fight for a place in the sun for
those who hold right above might."

She shows why women must unstintedly give their labor in order to win
this war; and why the labor of the women must be used to back up both
the labor and the fighting work of the men, for the fighting men leave
gaps in the labor world which must be filled by the work of women. She
says in another sentence worth remembering, "The man behind the counter
should of course be moved to a muscular employment; but we must not
interpret his dalliance with tapes and ribbons as a proof of a
superfluity of men."

Particularly valuable is her description of the mobilization of women in
Great Britain and France. From these facts she draws the conclusion as
to America's needs along this very line. She paints as vividly as I have
ever known painted, the truth as to why it is a merit that women should
be forced to work, a merit that _every one_ should be forced to work! It
is just as good for women as for men that they should have to use body
and mind, that they should not be idlers. As she puts it, "Active
mothers insure a virile race. The peaceful nation, if its women fall
victims to the luxury which rapidly increasing wealth brings, will
decay." "Man power must give itself unreservedly at the front. Woman
power must show not only eagerness but fitness to substitute for
man power."

I commend especially the chapter containing the sentence, "This war may
prove to us the wisdom and economy of devoting public funds to mothers
rather than to crèches and juvenile asylums;" and also the chapter in
which the author tells women that if they are merely looking for a soft
place in life their collective demand for a fair field and no favor will
be wholly ineffective. The doors for service now stand open, and it
rests with the women themselves to say whether they will enter in!

The last chapter is itself an unconscious justification of woman's right
to a share in the great governmental decisions which to-day are vital.
No statesman or publicist could set forth more clearly than Mrs. Blatch
the need of winning this war, in order to prevent either endless and
ruinous wars in the future, or else a world despotism which would mean
the atrophy of everything that really tends to the elevation of mankind.

Mrs. Blatch has herself rendered a very real service by this appeal that
women should serve, and that men should let them serve.

Theodore Roosevelt



The nations in which women have influenced national aims face the nation
that glorifies brute force. America opposes the exaltation of the
glittering sword; opposes the determination of one nation to dominate
the world; opposes the claim that the head of one ruling family is the
direct and only representative of the Creator; and, above all, America
opposes the idea that might makes right.

Let us admit the full weight of the paradox that a people in the name of
peace turns to force of arms. The tragedy for us lay in there being no
choice of ways, since pacific groups had failed to create machinery to
adjust vital international differences, and since the Allies each in
turn, we the last, had been struck by a foe determined to settle
disagreements by force.

Never did a nation make a crusade more just than this of ours. We were
patient, too long patient, perhaps, with challenges. We seek no
conquest. We fight to protect the freedom of our citizens. On America's
standard is written democracy, on that of Germany autocracy. Without
reservation women can give their all to attain our end.

There may be a cleavage between the German people and the ruling class.
It may be that our foe is merely the military caste, though I am
inclined to believe that we have the entire German nation on our hands.
The supremacy of might may be a doctrine merely instilled in the minds
of the people by its rulers. Perhaps the weed is not indigenous, but it
flourishes, nevertheless. Rabbits did not belong in Australia, nor
pondweed in England, but there they are, and dominating the situation.
Arrogance of the strong towards the weak, of the better placed towards
the less well placed, is part of the government teaching in Germany. The
peasant woman harries the dog that strains at the market cart, her
husband harries her as she helps the cow drag the plough, the petty
officer harries the peasant when he is a raw recruit, and the young
lieutenant harries the petty officer, and so it goes up to the
highest,--a well-planned system on the part of the superior to bring the
inferior to a high point of material efficiency. The propelling spirit
is devotion to the Fatherland: each believes himself a cog in the
machine chosen of God to achieve His purposes on earth. The world hears
of the Kaiser's "Ich und Gott," of his mailed fist beating down his
enemies, but those who have lived in Germany know that exactly the same
spirit reigns in every class. The strong in chastizing his inferior has
the conviction that since might makes right he is the direct
representative of Deity on the particular occasion.

The overbearing spirit of the Prussian military caste has drilled a race
to worship might; men are overbearing towards women, women towards
children, and the laws reflect the cruelties of the strong towards
the weak.

As the recent petition of German suffragists to the Reichstag states,
their country stands "in the lowest rank of nations as regards women's
rights." It is a platitude just now worth repeating that the
civilization of a people is indicated by the position accorded to its
women. On that head, then, the Teutonic Kultur stands challenged.

An English friend of mine threw down the gauntlet thirty years ago. She
had married a German officer. After living at army posts all over the
Empire, she declared, "What we foreigners take as simple childlikeness
in the Germans is merely lack of civilization." This keen analysis came
from a woman trained as an investigator, and equipped with perfect
command of the language of her adopted country.

"Lack of civilization,"--perhaps that explains my having seen again and
again officers striking the soldiers they were drilling, and journeys
made torture through witnessing slapping and brow-beating of children by
their parents. The memory of a father's conduct towards his little son
will never be wiped out. He twisted the child's arm, struck him savagely
from time to time, and for no reason but that the child did not sit bolt
upright and keep absolutely motionless. The witnesses of the brutality
smiled approvingly at the man, and scowled at the child. My own protest
being met with amazed silence and in no way regarded, I left the
compartment. I was near Eisenach, and I wished some good fairy would put
in my hand that inkpot which Luther threw at the devil. Severity towards
children is the rule. The child for weal or woe is in the complete
control of its parents, and corporal punishment is allowed in the
schools. The grim saying, "Saure Wochen, frohe Feste," seems to express
the pedagogic philosophy. The only trouble is that nature does not give
this attitude her sanction, for Germany reveals to us that figure, the
most pathetic in life, the child suicide.

The man responding to his stern upbringing is in turn cruel to his
inferiors, and full of subterfuge in dealing with equals. He is at home
in the intrigues which have startled the world. In such a society the
frank and gentle go to the wall, or--get into trouble and emigrate. We
have profited--let us not forget it--by the plucky German immigrants who
threw off the yoke, and who now have the satisfaction of finding
themselves fighting shoulder to shoulder with the men of their adopted
country to free the Fatherland of the taskmaster.

The philosophy of might quite naturally reflects itself in the education
of girls. Once when I visited a Höhere Töchter Schule, the principal had
a class in geometry recite for my edification. I soon saw that the young
girl who had been chosen as the star pupil to wrestle with the pons
asinorum was giving an exhibition of memorizing and not of mathematical
reasoning. I asked the principal if my surmise were correct. He replied
without hesitation, "Yes, it was entirely a feat in memory. Females have
only low reasoning power." I urged that if this were so, it would be
well to train the faculty, but he countered with the assertion, "We
Germans do not think so. Women are happier and more useful
without logic."

It would be difficult to surpass in its subtle cruelty the etiquette at
a military function. The lieutenant and his wife come early,--this is
expected of them. For a few moments they play the role of honored
guests. The wife is shown by her hostess to the sofa and is seated there
as a mark of distinction. Then arrive the captain and his wife. They are
immediately the distinguished guests. The wife is shown to the sofa and
the lieutenant's little Frau must get herself out of the way as best
she can.

My speculation, often indulged in, as to what would happen if the
major's wife did not move from the sofa when the colonel's wife
appeared, ended in assurance that a severe punishment would be meted out
to her, when I heard from an officer the story of the way his regiment
dealt with a woman who ignored another bit of military etiquette. A
débutant, once honored by being asked to dance with an officer at a
ball, must never, it seems, demean herself by accepting a civilian
partner. But in a town where my friend's regiment was stationed a very
pretty and popular young girl who had been taken, so to speak, to the
bosom of the regiment, danced one night at the Kurhaus early in the
summer season with a civilian, distinguished, undeniably, but
unmistakably civilian. The officers of the regiment met, weighed the
mighty question of the girl's offense, and solemnly resolved never again
to ask the culprit for a dance. I protested at the cruelty of a body of
men deliberately turning a pretty young thing into a wall-flower for an
entire season. The officer took my protest as an added reason for
congratulation upon their conduct. They meant to be cruel. My words
proved how well they had succeeded.

Another little straw showing the set of the wind: we were sitting, four
Americans, one lovely early summer day, in a restaurant at Swinemünde.
We had the window open, looking out over the sea. At the next table were
some officers, one of whom with an "Es zieht," but not with a "by your
leave," came over to our table and shut the window with a bang. The
gentleman with us asked if we wanted the window closed, and on being
assured we did not, quietly rose and opened it again. No one who does
not know Prussia can imagine the threatening atmosphere which filled
that café.

We met the officers the same night at the Kurhaus dance. They were
introduced, and almost immediately one of them brought up the window
incident and said most impressively that if ladies had not been at the
table, our escort would have been "called out." We could see they
regarded us as unworthy of being even transient participants of Kultur
when we opined that no American man would accept a challenge, and if so
unwise as to do so, his womenfolk would lock him up until he reached a
sounder judgment! The swords rattled in their sabres when the frivolous
member of our party said with a tone of finality, "You see we wouldn't
like our men's faces to look as if they had got into their mothers'
chopping bowls!"

Although I had often lived months on end with all these petty tyrannies
of the mailed fist, and although life had taught me later that peoples
grow by what they feed upon, yet when I read the Bryce report,[1] German
frightfulness seemed too inhuman for belief. While still holding my
judgment in reserve, I met an intimate friend, a Prussian officer. He
happened to mention letters he had received from his relatives in Berlin
and at the front, and when I expressed a wish to hear them, kindly asked
whether he should translate them or read them in German as they stood.
Laughingly I ventured on the German, saying I would at least find out
how much I had forgotten. So I sat and listened with ears pricked up.
Some of the letters were from women folk and told of war conditions in
the capital. They were interesting at the time but not worth repeating
now. Then came a letter from a nephew, a lieutenant. He gave his
experience in crossing Belgium, told how in one village his men asked a
young woman with her tiny baby on her arm for water, how she answered
resentfully, and then, how he shot her--and her baby. I exclaimed,
thinking I had lost the thread of the letter, "Not the baby?" And the
man I supposed I knew as civilized, replied with a cruel smile,
"Yes--discipline!" That was frank, frank as a child would have been,
with no realization of the self-revelation of it. The young officer did
the deed, wrote of it to his uncle, and the uncle, without vision and
understanding, perverted by his training, did not feel shame and bury
the secret in his own heart, but treasured the evidence against his own
nephew, and laid it open before an American woman.

I believed the Bryce report--every word of it!

And I hate the system that has so bent and crippled a great race.
Revenge we must not feel, that would be to innoculate ourselves with the
enemy's virus. But let us be awake to the fact that might making right
cuts athwart our ideals. German Kultur, through worship of efficiency,
cramps originality and initiative, while our aim--why not be frank about
it!--is the protection of inefficiency, which means sympathy with
childhood, and opportunity for the spirit of art. German Kultur fixes an
inflexible limit to the aspirations of women, while our goal is complete
freedom for the mothers of men.

The women of the Allies can fight for all that their men fight for--for
national self-respect, for protection of citizens, for the sacredness of
international agreements, for the rights of small nations, for the
security of democracy, and then our women can be inspired by one thing
more--the safety and development of all those things which they have
won for human welfare in a long and bloodless battle.

Women fight for a place in the sun for those who hold right above might.

[Footnote 1: Report of the Committee on Alleged German Outrages
appointed by his Britannic Majesty's Government, 1915. Macmillan
Company, New York.

Evidence and Documents laid before the Committee on Alleged German
Outrages. Ballantyne, Hanson & Co., London. 1915.]



The group of nations that can make the greatest savings, will be
victorious, counsels one; the group that can produce the most food and
nourish the populations best, will win the war, urges another; but
whatever the prophecy, whatever the advice, all paths to victory lie
through labor-power.

Needs are not answered in our day by manna dropping from heaven. Whether
it is food or big guns that are wanted, ships or coal, we can only get
our heart's desire by toil. Where are the workers who will win the war?

We are a bit spoiled in the United States. We have been accustomed to
rub our Aladdin's lamp of opportunity and the good genii have sent us
workers. But suddenly, no matter how great our efforts, no one answers
our appeal. The reservoir of immigrant labor has run dry. We are in
sorry plight, for we have suffered from emigration, too. Thousands of
alien workers have been called back to serve in the armies of the
Allies. In my own little village on Long Island the industrious Italian
colony was broken up by the call to return to the colors in Piedmont.

Then, too, while Europe suffers loss of labor, as do we, when men are
mobilized, our situation is peculiarly poignant, for when our armies are
gone they are gone. At first this was true in Europe. Men entered the
army and were employed as soldiers only. After a time it was realized
that the war would not be short, that fields must not lie untilled for
years, nor men undergo the deteriorating effects of trench warfare
continuously. The fallow field and the stale soldier were
brought together.

We have all chanced on photographs of European soldiers helping the
women plough in springtime, and reap the harvest in the autumn. Perhaps
we have regarded the scene as a mere pastoral episode in a happy leave
from the battle front, instead of realizing that it is a snapshot
illustrating a well organized plan of securing labor. The soldiers are
given a furlough and are sent where the agricultural need is pressing.
But the American soldier will not be able to lend his skill in giving
the home fields a rich seed time and harvest. The two needs, the field
for the touch of the human hand, and the soldier for labor under calm
skies, cannot in our case be coördinated.

Scarcity of labor is not only certain to grow, but the demands upon the
United States for service are increasing by leaps and bounds. America
must throw man-power into the trenches, must feed herself, must
contribute more and ever more food to the hungry populations of Europe,
must meet the old industrial obligations, and respond to a whole range
of new business requirements. And she is called upon for this effort at
a time when national prosperity is already making full use of man-power.

When Europe went to war, the world had been suffering from depression a
year and more. Immediately on the outbreak of hostilities whole lines of
business shut down. Unemployment became serious. There were idle hands
everywhere. Germany, of all the belligerents, rallied most quickly to
meet war conditions. Unemployment gave place to a shortage of labor
sooner there than elsewhere. Great Britain did not begin to get the pace
until the middle of 1915.

The business situation in the United States upon its entrance into the
war was the antithesis of this. For over a year, depression had been
superseded by increased industry, high wages, and greater demand for
labor. The country as measured by the ordinary financial signs, by its
commerce, by its labor market, was more prosperous than it had been for
years. Tremendous requisitions were being made upon us by Europe, and to
the limit of available labor we were answering them. Then into our
economic life, with industrial forces already working at high pressure,
were injected the new demands arising from changing the United States
from a people as unprepared for effective hostilities as a baby in its
cradle, into a nation equipped for war. There was no unemployment, but
on the contrary, shortage of labor.

The country calls for everything, and all at once, like the spoiled
child on suddenly waking. It must have, and without delay, ships, coal,
cars, cantonments, uniforms, rules, and food, food, food. How can the
needs be supplied and with a million and a half of men dropping work
besides? By woman-power or coolie labor. Those are the horns of the
dilemma presented to puzzled America. The Senate of the United States
directs its Committee of Agriculture to ponder well the coolie problem,
for men hesitate to have women put their shoulder to the wheel. Trade
unionists are right in urging that a republic has no place for a
disfranchised class of imported toilers. Equally true is it that as a
nation we have shown no gift for dealing with less developed races. And
yet labor we must have. Will American women supply it, will they, loving
ease, favor contract labor from the outside, or will they accept the
optimistic view that lack of labor is not acute?

The procrastinator queries, "Cannot American man-power meet the demand?"
It can, for a time perhaps, if the draft for the army goes as slowly in
the future as it has in the past.

However, at any moment a full realization may come to us of the
significance of the fact that while the United States is putting only
three percent of its workers into the fighting forces, Great Britain has
put twenty-five percent, and is now combing its industrial army over to
find an additional five hundred thousand men to throw on the French
front. It is probable that it will be felt by this country in the near
future that such a contrast of fulfillment of obligation cannot continue
without serious reflection on our national honor. Roughly speaking,
Great Britain has twenty million persons in gainful pursuits. Of these,
five million have already been taken for the army. The contribution of
France is still greater. Her military force has reached the appalling
proportion of one-fifth of her entire population. But we who have
thirty-five million in gainful occupations are giving a paltry one
million, five hundred thousand in service with our Allies. The situation
is not creditable to us, and one of the things which stands in the way
of the United States reaching a more worthy position is reluctance to
see its women shouldering economic burdens.

[Illustration: They wear the uniforms of the Edinburgh trams and the
New York City subway and trolley guards, with pride and purpose.]

While it is quite true that shifting of man-power is needed, mere
shuffling of the cards, as labor leaders suggest, won't give a bigger
pack. Fifty-two cards it remains, though the Jack may be put into a more
suitable position. The man behind the counter should of course be moved
to a muscular employment, but we must not interpret his dalliance with
tapes and ribbons as proof of a superfluity of men.

The latest reports of the New York State Department of Labor reflect the
meagerness of the supply. Here are some dull figures to prove
it:--comparing the situation with a year ago, we find in a corresponding
month, only one percent more employees this year, with a wage advance of
seventeen percent. Drawing the comparison between this year and two
years ago, there is an advance of "fifteen percent in employees and
fifty-one percent in wages;" and an increase of "thirty percent in
employees and eighty-seven percent in wages," if this year is compared
with the conditions when the world was suffering from industrial
depression. The State employment offices report eight thousand three
hundred and seventy-six requests for workers against seven thousand, six
hundred and fifty applicants for employment, and of the latter only
seventy-three percent were fitted for the grades of work open to them,
and were placed in situations.

The last records of conditions in the Wilkes-Barre coal regions confirm
the fact of labor scarcity. There are one hundred and fifty-two thousand
men and boys at work today in the anthracite fields, twenty-five
thousand less than the number employed in 1916. These miners, owing to
the prod of the highest wages ever received--the skilled man earning
from forty dollars to seventy-five dollars a week--and to appeals to
their patriotism, are individually producing a larger output than ever
before. It is considered that production, with the present labor force,
is at its maximum, and if a yield of coal commensurate with the world's
need is to be attained, at least seventy percent more men must
be supplied.

This is a call for man-power in addition to that suggested by the Fuel
Administrator to the effect that lack of coal is partly lack of cars and
that "back of the transportation shortage lies labor shortage." An order
was sent out by the Director General of Railways, soon after his
appointment, that mechanics from the repair shops of the west were to be
shifted to the east to supply the call for help on the Atlantic border.

Suggestive of the cause of all this shortage, float the service flags of
the mining and railway companies, the hundreds of glowing stars telling
their tale of men gone to the front, and of just so many stars torn from
the standards of the industrial army at home.

The Shipping Board recently called for two hundred and fifty thousand
men to be gradually recruited as a skilled army for work in shipyards.
At the same time the Congress passed an appropriation of fifty million
dollars for building houses to accommodate ship labor. Six months ago
only fifty thousand men were employed in ship-building, today there are
one hundred and forty-five thousand. This rapid drawing of men to new
centers creates a housing problem so huge that it must he met by the
government; and it need hardly be pointed out, shelter can be built only
by human hands.

One state official, prompted no doubt by a wise hostility to coolie
labor, and dread of woman labor, has gone so far as to declare publicly
that any employer who will pay "adequate wages can get all the labor he
requires." This view suggests that we may soon have to adopt the methods
of other belligerents and stop employers by law from stealing a
neighbor's working force. I know of a shipyard with a normal pay-roll of
five hundred hands, which in one year engaged and lost to nearby
munition factories thirteen thousand laborers. Such "shifting," hiding
as it does shortage of manpower, leads to serious loss in our productive
efficiency and should not be allowed to go unchecked.

The manager of one of the New York City street railways met with
complete denial the easy optimism that adequate remuneration will
command a sufficient supply of men. He told me that he had introduced
women at the same wage as male conductors, not because he wanted women,
but because he now had only five applications by fit men to thirty or
forty formerly. There were men to be had, he said, and at lower wages
than his company was paying; but they were "not of the class capable of
fulfilling the requirements of the position."

The Labor Administration announced on its creation that its "policy
would be to prevent woman labor in positions for which men are
available," and one of the deputy commissioners of the Industrial
Commission of the State of New York declared quite frankly at a labor
conference that "if he could, he would exclude women from industry

We may try to prevent the oncoming tide of the economic independence of
women, but it will not be possible to force the business world to accept
permanently the service of the inefficient in place of that of the alert
and intelligent. To carry on the economic life of a nation with its
labor flotsam and jetsam is loss at any time; in time of storm and
stress it is suicide.

Man-power is short, seriously so. The farm is always the best barometer
to give warning of scarcity of labor. The land has been drained of its
workers. A fair wage would keep them on the farm--this is the philosophy
of laissez faire. Without stopping to inquire as to what the munition
works would then do, we can still see that it is doubtful whether the
farm can act as magnet. Even men, let us venture the suggestion, like
change for the mere sake of change. A middle-aged man, who had taken up
work at Bridgeport, said to me, "I've mulled around on the farm all my
days. I grabbed the first chance to get away." And then there's a finer
spirit prompting the desertion of the hoe. A man of thirty-three gave me
the point of view. "My brother is 'over there,' and I feel as if I were
backing him up by making guns."

The only thing that can change the idea that farming is "mulling
around," and making a gun "backs up" the man at the front more
thoroughly than raising turnips, is to bring to the farm new workers who
realize the vital part played by food in the winning of the war. As the
modern industrial system has developed with its marvels of specialized
machinery, its army of employees gathered and dispersed on the stroke of
the clock, and strong organizations created to protect the interests of
the worker, the calm and quiet processes of agriculture have in
comparison grown colorless. The average farmhand has never found push
and drive and group action on the farm, but only individualism to the
extreme of isolation. And now in war time, when in addition to its usual
life of stirring contacts, the factory takes on an intimate and striking
relation to the intense experience of the battle front, the work of the
farm seems as flat as it is likely to be unprofitable. The man in the
furrow has no idea that he is "backing up" the boy in the trench.

The farmer in his turn does not find himself part of the wider relations
that attract and support the manufacturer. Crops are not grown on order.
The marketing is as uncertain as the weather. The farmer could by higher
wages attract more labor, but as the selling of the harvest remains a
haphazard matter, the venture might mean ruin all the more certain and
serious were wage outlay large. In response to a call for food and an
appeal to his patriotism, the farmer has repeatedly made unusual efforts
to bring his land to the maximum fertility, only to find his crops often
a dead loss, as he could not secure the labor to harvest them. I saw,
one summer, acres of garden truck at its prime ploughed under in
Connecticut because of a shortage of labor. I saw fruit left rotting by
the bushel in the orchards near Rochester because of scarcity of pickers
and a doubt of the reliability of the market. The industry which means
more than any other to the well-being of humanity at this crisis, is the
sport of methods outgrown and of servants who lack understanding and
inspiration. The war may furnish the spark for the needed revolution.
Man-power is not available, woman-power is at hand. A new labor force
always brings ideas and ideals peculiar to itself. May not women as
fresh recruits in a land army stamp their likes and dislikes on farm
life? Their enthusiasm may put staleness to rout, and the group system
of women land workers, already tested in the crucible of experience, may
bring to the farm the needed antidote to isolation.

To win the war we must have man-power in the trenches sufficient to win
it with. To win, every soldier, every sailor, must be well fed, well
clothed, well equipped. To win, behind the armed forces must stand
determined peoples. To win, the people of America and her Allies must be
heartened by care and food.

The sun shines on the fertile land, the earth teems with forests, with
coal, with every necessary mineral and food, but labor, labor alone can
transform all to meet our necessities. Man-power unaided cannot supply
the demand. Women in America must shoulder as nobly as have the women of
Europe, this duty. They must answer their country's call. Let them see
clearly that the desire of their men to shield them from possible injury
exposes the nation and the world to actual danger.

Our winning of the war depends upon the full use of the energy of our
entire people. Every muscle, every brain, must be mobilized if the
national aim is to be achieved.



In no country have women reached a mobilization so complete and
systematized as in Great Britain. This mobilization covers the whole
field of war service--in industry, business and professional life, and
in government administration. Women serve on the Ministry of Food and
are included in the membership of twenty-five of the important
government committees, not auxiliary or advisory, but administrative
committees, such as those on War Pensions, on Disabled Officers and Men,
on Education after the War, and the Labor Commission to Deal with
Industrial Unrest.

In short, the women of Great Britain are working side by side with men
in the initiation and execution of plans to solve the problems which
confront the nation.

Four committees, as for instance those making investigations and
recommendations on Women's Wages and Drink Among Women, are entirely
composed of women, and great departments, such as the Women's Land Army,
the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, are officered throughout by them.
Hospitals under the War Office have been placed in complete control of
medical women; they take rank with medical men in the army and receive
the pay going with their commissions.

When Great Britain recognized that the war could not be won by merely
sending splendid fighters to the front and meeting the wastage by steady
drafts upon the manhood of the country, she began to build an efficient
organization of industry at home.

To the call for labor-power British women gave instant response. In
munitions a million are mobilized, in the Land Army there have been
drafted and actually placed on the farms over three hundred thousand,
and in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps fourteen thousand women are
working in direct connection with the fighting force, and an additional
ten thousand are being called out for service each month. In the
clerical force of the government departments, some of which had never
seen women before in their sacred precincts, over one hundred and
ninety-eight thousand are now working. And the women civil servants are
not only engaged in indoor service, but outside too, most of the
carrying of mail being in their hands.

Women are dock-laborers, some seven thousand strong. Four thousand act
as patrols and police, forty thousand are in banks and various financial
houses. It is said that there are in Great Britain scarce a million
women--and they are mostly occupied as housewives--who could render
greater service to their country than that which they are now giving.

The wide inclusion of women in government administration is very
striking to us in America. But we must not forget that the contrast
between the two countries in the participation of women in political
life and public service has always been great. The women of the United
Kingdom have enjoyed the municipal and county franchise for years. For a
long time large numbers of women have been called to administrative
positions. They have had thorough training in government as Poor Law
Guardians, District and County Councilors, members of School Boards. No
women, the whole world over, are equipped as those of Great Britain for
service to the state.

In the glamor of the extremely striking government service of British
women, we must not overlook their non-official organizations. Perhaps
these offer the most valuable suggestions for America. They are near
enough to our experience to be quite understandable.

The mother country is not under regimentation. Originality and
initiative have full play. Perhaps it was well that the government
failed to appreciate what women could do, and neglected them so long.
Most of the effective work was started in volunteer societies and had
proved a success before there was an official laying on of hands.
Anglo-Saxons--it is our strong point--always work from below, up.

A glance at any account of the mobilization of woman-power in Great
Britain, Miss Fraser's admirable "Women and War Work," for instance,
will reveal the printed page dotted thick with the names of volunteer
associations. A woman with sympathy sees a need, she gets an idea and
calls others about her. Quickly, there being no red tape, the need
begins to be met. What more admirable service could have been performed
than that inaugurated in the early months of the war under the Queen's
Work for Women Fund, when work was secured for the women in luxury
trades which were collapsing under war pressure? A hundred and thirty
firms employing women were kept running.

What more thrilling example of courage and forethought has been shown
than by the Scottish Women's Hospitals in putting on the western front
the first X-ray car to move from point to point near the lines? It but
adds to the appeal of the work that those great scientists, Mrs. Ayrton
and Madame Curie, selected the equipment.

It was a non-official body, the National Union of Women's Suffrage
Societies, which opened before the war was two weeks old the Women's
Service Bureau, and soon placed forty thousand women as paid and
volunteer workers. It was this bureau that furnished the government with
its supervisors for the arsenals. The Women's Farm and Garden Union was
the fore-runner of the official Land Army, and to it still is left the
important work of enrolling those women who, while willing to undertake
agricultural work, are disinclined to sign up for service "for the
duration of the war."

Not only have unnumbered voluntary associations achieved miracles in
necessary work, but many of them have gained untold discipline in the
ridicule they have had to endure from a doubting public. I remember
hunting in vain all about Oxford Circus for the tucked-away office of
the Women's Signalling Corps. My inquiries only made the London bobbies
grin. Everyone laughed at the idea of women signalling, but to-day the
members are recognized officially, one holding an important appointment
in the college of wireless telegraphy.

How Scotland Yard smiled, at first, at Miss Damer Dawson and her Women
Police Service! But now the metropolitan police are calling for the help
of her splendidly trained and reliable force.

And the Women's Reserve Ambulance Corps--I climbed and climbed to an
attic to visit their headquarters! There was the commandant in her
khaki, very gracious, but very upstanding, and maintaining the strictest
discipline. No member of the corps entered or left her office without
clapping heels together and saluting. The ambulance about which the
corps revolved, I often met in the streets--empty. But those women had
vision. They saw that England would need them some day. They had faith
in their ability to serve. So on and on they went, training themselves
to higher efficiency in body and mind. And to-day--well, theirs is
always the first ambulance on the spot to care for the injured in the
air-raids. The scoffers have remained to pray.

If Britain has a lesson for us it is an all-hail to non-official
societies, an encouragement to every idea, a blessing on every effort
which has behind it honesty of purpose. Great Britain's activities are
as refreshingly diversified as her talents. They are not all under
one hat.

In the training for new industrial openings this same spirit of
non-official service showed itself. In munitions, for instance, private
employers were the first to recognize that they had in women-workers a
labor force worth the cost of training. The best of the skilled men in
many cases were told off to give the necessary instruction. The will to
do was in the learner; she soon mastered even complex processes, and at
the end of a few weeks was doing even better than men in the light work,
and achieving commendable output in the heavy. The suffrage
organizations, whenever a new line of skilled work was opened to women,
established well-equipped centers to give the necessary teaching. Not
until it became apparent that the new labor-power only needed training
to reach a high grade of proficiency, did County Councils establish, at
government expense, technical classes for girls and women.

[Illustration: Then--the offered service of the Women's Reserve
Ambulance Corps in England was spurned. Now--they wear shrapnel helmets
while working during the Zeppelin raids.]

Equipment of the army was obviously the first and pressing obligation.
Fields might lie fallow, for food in the early days could easily be
brought from abroad, but men had to be registered, soldiers clothed and
equipped. It was natural, then, that the new workers were principally
used in registration work and in making military supplies.

But in the second year of the war came the conviction that the contest
was not soon to be ended, and that the matter of raising food at home
must be met. Women were again appealed to. A Land Army mobilized by
women was created. At first this work was carried on under a centralized
division of the National Service Department, but there has been
decentralization and the Land Army is now a department of the Board of
Agriculture. It is headed by Miss M. Talbot as director. Under this
central body are Women's Agricultural Committees in each county, with an
organizing secretary whose duty it is to secure full-time recruits.

The part-time workers in a locality are obtained by the wife of the
squire or vicar acting as a volunteer registrar. Many of these
part-time workers register to do the domestic work of the lusty young
village housewife or mother while she is absent from home performing her
allotted task on a nearby farm. The full-time recruits are not only
secured by the organizers, but through registrations at every post
office. Any woman can ask for a registration card and fill it out, and
the postmaster then forwards the application to the committee. The next
step is that likely applicants are called to the nearest center for
examination and presentation of credentials. When finally accepted they
are usually sent for six weeks' or three months' training to a farm
belonging to some large estate. The landlord contributes the training,
and the government gives the recruit her uniform and fifteen shillings a
week to cover her board and lodging. At the end of her course she
receives an armlet signifying her rank in the Land Army and is ready to
go wherever the authorities send her.

The farmer in Great Britain no longer needs to be converted to the value
of the new workers. He knows they can do every kind of farm work as well
as men, and are more reliable and conscientious than boys, and he is
ready, therefore, to pay the required minimum wage of eighteen
shillings a week, or above that amount if the rate ruling in the
district is higher.

Equally well organized is the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, familiarly
known as the Waacs. The director is Mrs. Chalmers Watson. A would-be
Waac goes to the center in her county for examination, and then is
assigned to work at home or "somewhere in France" according to training
and capacity. She may be fitted as a cook, a storekeeper, a telephone or
telegraph operator, or for signalling or salvage work. Let us not say
she will supplant a man, but rather set a man free for fuller service.

My niece, a slip of a girl, felt the call of duty at the beginning of
the war. Her brothers were early volunteers in Kitchener's Army. They
were in the trenches and she longed for the sensation of bearing a
burden of hard work. She went to Woolwich Arsenal and toiled twelve
hours a day. She broke under the strain, recuperated, and took up
munition work again. She became expert, and was in time an overseer told
off to train other women. But she was never satisfied, and always
anxious to be nearer the great struggle. She broke away one day and went
to Southampton for a Waac examination, and found herself one of a group
of a hundred and fifty gentlewomen all anxious to enter active service
and all prepared for some definite work. They stood their tests, and
Dolly--that's the little niece's pet name, given to her because she is
so tiny--is now working as an "engine fitter" just behind the fighting
lines. Dainty Dolly, whom we have always treated as a fragile bit of
Sèvres china, clad in breeches and puttees, under the booming of the
great guns, is fitting patiently, part to part, the beating engine which
will lift on wings some English boy in his flight through the blue skies
of France.

But it must not be supposed that the magnificent service of British
women, devoted, efficient and well-organized from top to bottom,
realized itself without friction, any more than it will here. There were
certainly two wars going on in Great Britain for a long time, and the
internal strife was little less bitter than the international conflict.
The most active center of this contest of which we have heard so little
was in industry, and the combatants were the government, trade unions
and women. The unions were doing battle because of fear of unskilled
workers, especially when intelligent and easily trained; the government,
in sore need of munition hands, was bargaining with the unskilled for
long hours and low pay. Finally the government and the unions
reluctantly agreed that women must be employed; both wanted them to be
skillful, but not too skillful, and above all, to remain amenable. It
has been made clear, too, that women enter their new positions "for the
war only." At the end of hostilities--international hostilities--women
are to hand over their work and wages to men and go home and be content.
Will the program be fulfilled?

The wishes of women themselves may play some part. How do they feel?
Obviously, every day the war lasts they get wider experience of the
sorrows and pleasures of financial independence. Women are called the
practical sex, and I certainly found them in England facing the fact
that peace will mean an insufficient number of breadwinners to go around
and that a maimed man may have low earning power. The women I met were
not dejected at the prospect; they showed, on the contrary, a spirit not
far removed from elation in finding new opportunities of service. After
I had sat and listened to speech after speech at the annual conference
of the National Union of Women Workers, with delegates from all parts of
the country, presided over by Mrs. Creighton, widow of the late Bishop
of London, there was no doubt in my mind that British women desired to
enter paid fields of work, and regarded as permanent the great increase
in their employment. No regrets or hesitations were expressed in a
single speech, and the solutions of the problems inherent in the new
situation all lay in the direction of equality of preparation and
equality of pay with men.

The strongest element in the women's trade unions takes the same stand.
The great rise in the employment of women is not regarded as a "war
measure," and all the suggestions made to meet the hardships of
readjustment, such as a "minimum wage for all unskilled workers, men as
well as women," are based on the idea of the new workers being permanent
factors in the labor market.

The same conclusion was reached in the report presented to the British
Association by the committee appointed to investigate the "Replacement
of Male by Female Labor." The committee found itself in entire
disagreement with the opinion that the increased employment of women was
a passing phase, and made recommendations bearing on such measures as
improved technical training for girls as well as for boys, a minimum
wage for unskilled men as well as women, equal pay for equal work, and
the abolition of "half-timers." But while it was obvious that the
greatest asset of belligerent nations is the labor of women, while
learned societies and organizations of women laid down rules for their
safe and permanent employment, the British Government showed marked
opposition to the new workers. If the Cabinet did not believe the war
would be brief, it certainly acted as if Great Britain alone among the
belligerents would have no shortage of male industrial hands. At a time
when Germany had five hundred thousand women in munition factories,
England had but ten thousand.

There is no doubt that the country was at first organized merely for a
spurt. Boys and girls were pressed into service, wages were cut down for
women, hours lengthened for men. Government reports read like the
Shaftesbury attacks on the conditions of early factory days. We hear
again of beds that are never cold, the occupant of one shift succeeding
the occupant of the next, of the boy sleeping in the same bed with two
men, and three girls in a cot in the same room. Labor unrest was met at
first by the Munitions War Act prohibiting strikes and lockouts,
establishing compulsory arbitration and suspending all trade-union rules
which might "hamper production." Under the law a "voluntary army of
workers" signed up as ready to go anywhere their labor was needed, and
local munition committees became labor courts endowed with power to
change wage rates, to inflict fines on slackers, and on those who broke
the agreements of the "voluntary army."

To meet the threatening rebellion, a Health of Munition Workers
Committee under the Ministry of Munitions was appointed to "consider and
advise on questions of industrial fatigue, hours of labor and other
matters affecting the physical health and physical efficiency of workers
in munition factories and workshops." On this committee there were
distinguished medical men, labor experts, members of parliament and two
women, Miss R.E. Squire of the Factory Department and Mrs. H.J. Tennant.

The committee was guided by a desire to have immense quantities of
munitions turned out, and faced squarely the probability that the war
would be of long duration. Its findings, embodied in a series of
memoranda, have lessons for us, not only for war times, but for peace
times, for all time.

On a seven day week the verdict was that "if the maximum output is to be
secured and maintained for any length of time, a weekly period of rest
must be allowed." Overtime was advised against, a double or triple shift
being recommended.

In July, 1916, the committee published a most interesting memorandum on
experiments in the relation of output to hours. In one case the output
was increased eight percent by reducing the weekly hours from
sixty-eight to fifty-nine, and it was found that a decrease to fifty-six
hours per week gave the same output as fifty-nine. It need hardly be
said that there was no change in machinery, tools, raw material or
workers. All elements except hours of work were identical. Twenty-seven
workers doing very heavy work increased their output ten percent by
cutting weekly hours from sixty-one to fifty-five. In a munition plant
employing thirty-six thousand hands it was found that the sick rate
ranged from five to eight percent when the employees were working
overtime, and was only three percent when they were on a double shift.

The war has forced Great Britain to carry out the findings of this
committee and to consider more seriously than ever before, and for both
men and women, the problem of industrial fatigue, the relation of
accidents to hours of labor, industrial diseases, housing, transit, and
industrial canteens. The munition worker is as important as the soldier
and must have the best of care.

While the friction in the ranks of industrial women workers was still
far from being adjusted, the government met its Waterloo in the contest
with medical women. The service which they freely offered their country
was at first sternly refused. Undaunted, they sought recognition outside
the mother country. They knew their skill and they knew the soldiers'
need. They turned to hospitable France, and received official
recognition. On December 14, 1914, the first hospital at the front under
British medical women was opened in Abbaye Royaumont, near Creil. It
carries the official designation, "Hôpital Auxiliaire 301." The doctors,
the nurses, the cooks, are all women. One of the capable chauffeurs I
saw running the ambulance when I was in Creil. She was getting the
wounded as they came down from the front. The French Government
appreciated what the women were doing and urged them to give more help.
At Troyes another unit gave the French army its first experience of
nursing under canvas.

After France had been profiting by the skill of British women for
months, Sir Alfred Keogh, Medical Director General, wisely insisted that
the War Office yield and place a hospital in the hands of women. The
War Hospital in Endell Street, London, is now under Dr. Flora Murray,
and every office, except that of gateman, is filled by women. From the
doctors, who rank as majors, down to the cooks, who rank as
non-commissioned officers, every one connected with Endell Street has
military standing. It indicated the long, hard road these women had
traveled to secure official recognition that the doctor who showed me
over the hospital told me, as a matter for congratulation, that at night
the police brought in drunken soldiers to be sobered. "Every war
hospital must receive them," she explained, "and we are glad we are not
passed over, for that gives the stamp to our official standing."

It was a beautiful autumn day when I visited Endell Street. The great
court was full of convalescents, and the orderlies in khaki, with veils
floating back from their close-fitting toques, were carefully and
skillfully lifting the wounded from an ambulance. I spoke to one of the
soldier boys about the absence of men doctors and orderlies, and his
quick query was, "And what should we want men for?" It seems that they
always take that stand after a day or two. At first the patient is
puzzled; he calls the doctor "sister" and the orderly "nurse," but ends
by being an enthusiastic champion of the new order. Not a misogynist did
I find. One poor fellow who had been wounded again and again and had
been in many hospitals, declared, "I don't mean no flattery, but this
place leaves nothink wanting."

The first woman I met on my last visit to England upset my expectation
of finding that war pushed women back into primitive conditions of toil,
crushed them under the idea that physical force rules the world, and
made them subservient. I chanced upon her as she was acting as
ticket-puncher at the Yarmouth station. She was well set-up, alert,
efficient, helpful in giving information, and, above all, cheerful.
There were two capable young women at the bookstall, too. One had lost a
brother at the front, the other her lover. I felt that they regarded
their loss as one item in the big national accounting. They were
heroically cheerful in "doing their bit."

Throughout my stay in England I searched for, but could not find, the
self-effacing spinster of former days. In her place was a capable woman,
bright-eyed, happy. She was occupied and bustled at her work. She jumped
on and off moving vehicles with the alertness, if not the
unconsciousness, of the expert male. She never let me stand in omnibus
or subway, but quickly gave me her seat, as indeed she insisted upon
doing for elderly gentlemen as well. The British woman had found herself
and her muscles. England was a world of women--women in uniforms; there
was the army of nurses, and then the messengers, porters, elevator
hands, tram conductors, bank clerks, bookkeepers, shop attendants. They
each seemed to challenge the humble stranger, "Superfluous? Not I, I'm a
recruit for national service!" Even a woman doing time-honored womanly
work moved with an air of distinction; she dusted a room for the good of
her country. Just one glimpse was I given of the old-time daughter of
Eve, when a ticket-collector at Reading said: "I can't punch your
ticket. Don't you see I'm eating an apple!"

One of the reactions of the wider functioning of brain and muscle which
struck me most forcibly was the increased joyfulness of women. They were
happy in their work, happy in the thought of rendering service, so happy
that the poignancy of individual loss was carried more easily.

This cheerfulness is somewhat gruesomely voiced in a cartoon in _Punch_
touching on the allowance given to the soldier's wife. She remarks,
"This war is 'eaven--twenty-five shillings a week and no 'usband
bothering about!" We have always credited _Punch_ with knowing England.
Truth stands revealed by a thrust, however cynical, when softened by
challenging humor.

There was no discipline in the pension system. No work was required. The
case of a girl I met in a country town was common. She was working in a
factory earning eleven shillings a week. A day or two later I saw her,
and she told me she had stopped work, as she had "married a soldier, and
'e's gone to France, and I get twelve and six separation allowance a
week." Never did the strange English name, "separation allowance," seem
more appropriate for the wife's pension than in this girl's story.
Little wonder was it that in the early months of the war there was some
riotous living among soldiers' wives!

And the comments of women of influence on the drunkenness and waste of
money on foolish finery were as striking to me as the sordid condition
itself. The woman chairman of a Board of Poor Law Guardians in the north
of England told me that when her fellow-members suggested that
Parliament ought to appoint committees to disburse the separation
allowances, she opposed them with the heroic philosophy that women can
be trained in wisdom only by freedom to err, that a sense of
responsibility had never been cultivated in them, and the country would
have to bear the consequences. In reply to my inquiry as to how the
Guardians received these theories, I learned that "they knew she was
right and dropped their plan."

The faith of leading women that experience would be the best teacher for
the soldier's wife has been justified. A labor leader in the Midlands
told me that an investigation by his trade union showed that only one
hundred women in the ten thousand cases inquired into were mis-spending
their allowances. And when I was visiting a board school in a poor
district of London, and remarked to the head teacher that the children
looked well cared for, she told me that never had they been so well fed
and clothed. There seemed no doubt in her mind that it was best to have
the family budget in the hands of the mother. In the sordid surroundings
of the mean streets of great cities, there is developing in women
practical wisdom and a fine sense of individual responsibility.

Perhaps of greater significance than just how separation allowances are
being spent is the fact that women have discovered that their work as
housewives and mothers has a value recognized by governments in hard
cash. It makes one speculate as to whether wives in the warring nations
will step back without a murmur into the old-time dependence on one man,
or whether these simple women may contribute valuable ideas towards the
working out of sound schemes of motherhood pensions.

The women of Great Britain are experiencing economic independence, they
are living in an atmosphere of recognition of the value of their work as
housewives and mothers. Women leaders in all classes give no indication
of regarding pensions or remuneration in gainful pursuits as other than
permanent factors in social development, and much of the best thought of
men as well as women is centered on group experiments in domestic
coöperation, in factory canteens, in municipal kitchens, which are a
natural concomitant to the wider functioning of women.

Great Britain is not talking about feminism, it is living it. Perhaps
nothing better illustrates the national acceptance of the fact than the
widespread amusement touched with derision caused by the story of the
choleric gentlemen who, on being asked at the time of one of the
government registrations whether his wife was dependent upon him or not,
roared in rage, "Well, if my wife isn't dependent on me, I'd like to
know what man she is dependent on!"

Only second to Britain's lesson for us in the self-reliance of its
women, and the thorough mobilization of their labor-power and executive
ability, is its lesson in protection for all industrial workers. It
stands as one people against the present enemy, and in its effort does
not fail to give thought to race conservation for the future.

[Footnote 2: Through the courtesy of the Editors of _The Outlook_, I am
at liberty to use in this and the following chapter, some of the
material published in an article by me in _The Outlook_ of June
28, 1916.]



Compared with the friction in the mobilization of woman-power in Great
Britain, the readjustment in the lives of women in France was like the
opening out of some harmonious pageant in full accord with popular
sympathy. But who has not said, "France is different!"

It is different, and in nothing more so than in its attitude toward its
women. Without discussion with organizations of men, without hindrance
from the government, women filled the gaps in the industrial army. It
was obvious that the new workers, being unskilled, would need training;
the government threw open the technical schools to them. A spirit of
hospitality, of helpfulness, of common sense, reigned.

[Illustration: The French poilu on furlough is put to work harrowing.]

And it was not only in industry that France showed herself wise. I found
that the government had coöperated unreservedly with all the
philanthropic work of women and had given them a wide sphere in which
they could rise above amateurish effort and carry out plans calling for
administrative ability.

When the Conseil National des Femmes Françaises inaugurated its work to
bring together the scattered families of Belgium and northern France,
and when the Association pour l'Aide Fraternelle aux Évacués
Alsaciens-Lorrains began its work for the dispersed peoples of the
provinces, an order was issued by the government to every prefect to
furnish lists of all refugees in his district to the headquarters of the
women's societies in Paris. It was through this good will on the part of
the central government that these societies were able to bring together
forty thousand Belgian families, and to clothe and place in school, or
at work, the entire dispersed population of the reconquered districts of

Nor did these societies cease work with the completion of their initial
effort. They turned themselves into employment bureaus and with the aid
and sanction of the government found work for the thousands of women who
were thrown out of employment. They had the machinery to accomplish
their object, the Council being an old established society organized
throughout the country, and the Association to Aid the Refugees from
Alsace-Lorraine (a nonpartisan name adopted, by the way, at the request
of the Minister of the Interior to cover for the moment the patriotic
work of the leading suffrage society) had active units in every

One of the admirable private philanthropies was the canteen at the St.
Lazarre station in Paris. I am tempted to single it out because its
organizer, Countess de Berkaim, told me that in all the months she had
been running it--and it was open twenty-four hours of the day--not a
single volunteer had been five minutes late. The canteen was opened in
February, 1915, with a reading and rest room. Six hundred soldiers a day
have been fed. The two big rooms donated by the railway for the work
were charming with their blue and white checked curtains, dividing
kitchen from restaurant and rest room from reading room. The work is no
small monument to the reliability and organizing faculty of
French women.

It was in France, too, that I found the group of women who realized that
the permanent change which the war was making in the relation of women
to society needed fundamental handling. Mlle. Valentine Thomson, founder
of La Vie Féminine, held that not only was the war an economic struggle
and not only must the financial power of the combatants rest on the
labor of women, but the future of the nations will largely depend upon
the attitude which women take toward their new obligations. Realizing
that business education would be a determining factor in that attitude,
Mlle. Thomson persuaded her father, who was then Minister of Commerce,
to send out an official recommendation to the Chambers of Commerce to
open the commercial schools to girls. The advice was very generally
followed, but as Paris refused, a group of women, backed by the
Ministry, founded a school in which were given courses of instruction in
the usual business subjects, and lectures on finance, commercial law and
international trade.

Mlle. Thomson herself turned her business gifts to good use in a
successful effort to build up for the immediate benefit of artists and
workers the doll trade of which France was once supreme mistress.
Exhibitions of the art, old and new, were held in many cities in the
United States, in South America and in England. The dolls went to the
hearts of lovers of beauty, and what promised surer financial return, to
the hearts of the children.

To do something for France--that stood first in the minds of the
initiators of this commercial project. They knew her people must be
employed. And next, the desire to bring back charm to an old art
prompted their effort. Mlle. Thomson fully realizes just what "Made in
Germany" signifies. The peoples of the world have had their taste
corrupted by floods of the cheap and tawdry. Germany has been steadily
educating us to demand quantity, quantity mountains high. There is
promise that the doll at least will be rescued by France and made worth
the child's devotion.

In industry, as well as in all else, one feels that in France there has
not been so much a revolution as an orderly development. Women were in
munition factories even before the war, the number has merely swelled.
The women of the upper and lower bourgeois class always knew their
husband's business, the one could manage the shop, the other could
bargain with the best of them as to contracts and output. Women were
trained as bookkeepers and clerks under Napoleon I; he wanted men as
soldiers, and so decreed women should go into business. And the woman of
the aristocratic class has merely slipped out of her seclusion as if
putting aside an old-fashioned garment, and now carries on her
philanthropies in more serious and coördinated manner. We know the
practical business experience possessed by French women, and so are
prepared to learn that many a big commercial enterprise, the owner
having gone to the front, is now directed by his capable wife. That is
but a development, too, is it not? For we had all heard long ago of Mme.
Duval, even if we had not eaten at her restaurants, and though we had
never bought a ribbon or a carpet at the Bon Marché, we had heard of the
woman who helped break through old merchant habits and gave the world
the department store.

But nothing has been more significant in its growth during the war than
the small enterprises in which the husband and wife in the domestic
munition shop, laboring side by side with a little group of assistants,
have been turning out marvels of skill. The man is now in the trenches
fighting for France, and the woman takes command and leads the
industrial battalion to victory. She knows she fights for France.

A word more about her business, for she is playing an economic part that
brings us up at attention. She may be solving the problem of adjustment
of home and work so puzzling to women. There are just such domestic
shops dotted all over the map of France; in the Paris district alone
there are over eighteen hundred of them. The conditions are so
excellent and the ruling wages so high, that the minimum wage law passed
in 1915 applied only to the sweated home workers in the clothing trade,
and not to the domestic munition shops.

A commission which included in its membership a trade unionist, sent by
the British government in the darkest days to find why it was that
France could produce so much more ammunition than England, found these
tiny workshops, with their primitive equipment, performing miracles. The
output was huge and of the best. The woman, when at the head, seemed to
turn out more than the man, she worked with such undying energy. The
commission said it was the "spirit of France" that drove the workers
forward and renewed the flagging energies. But even the trade unionist
referred to the absence of all opposition to women on the part of
organizations of men. Perhaps the spirit of France is undying because in
it is a spirit of unity and harmony.

It seemed to me there was one very practical explanation of the
unmistakable energy of the French worker, both man and woman. The whole
nation has the wise custom of taking meal time with due seriousness. The
break at noon in the great manufactories, as well as in the family
workshop, is long, averaging one hour and a half, and reaching often to
two hours. The French never gobble. Because food is necessary to animal
life, they do not on that account take a puritanical view of it. They
dare enjoy it, in spite of its physiological bearing. They sit down to
it, dwell upon it, get its flavor, and after the meal they sit still and
as a nation permit themselves unabashed to enjoy the sensation of hunger
appeased. That's the common sense spirit of France.

Of course the worker is renewed, hurls herself on the work again with
ardor, and losing no time through fatigue, throws off an
enormous output.

Wages perform their material share in spurring the worker. Louis Barthou
says that the woman's average is eight francs a day. Long ago--it seems
long ago--she could earn at best five francs in the Paris district. She
works on piece work now, getting the same rate as men. And think of
it!--this must indeed be because of the spirit of France--this woman
does better than men on the light munition work, and equals, yes, equals
her menfolk on the heavy shells. I do not say this, a commission of men
says it, a commission with a trade union member to boot. The coming of
the woman-worker with the spirit of win-the-war in her heart is the same
in France as elsewhere, only here her coming is more gracious. Twelve
hundred easily take up work on the Paris subway. They are the wives of
mobilized employees. The offices of the Post, the Telegraph and
Telephone bristle with women, of course, for eleven thousand have taken
the places of men. Some seven thousand fill up the empty positions on
the railways, serving even as conductors on through trains. Their number
has swollen to a half million in munitions, and to over half that number
in powder mills and marine workshops; in civil establishments over three
hundred thousand render service; and even the conservative banking world
welcomes the help of some three thousand women.

[Illustration: Has there ever been anything impossible to French women
since the time of Jeanne d'Arc? The fields must be harrowed--they have
no horses.]

Out on the land the tally is greatest of all. Every woman from the
village bends over the bosom of France, urging fertility. The government
called them in the first hours of the conflict. Viviani spoke
the word:--

"The departure for the army of all those who can carry arms, leaves the
work in the fields undone; the harvest is not yet gathered in; the
vintage season is near. In the name of the entire nation united behind
it, I make an appeal to your courage, and to that of your children,
whose age alone and not their valour, keeps them from the war.

"I ask you to keep on the work in the fields, to finish gathering in the
year's harvest, to prepare that of the coming year. You cannot render
your country a greater service.

"It is not for you, but for her, that I appeal to your hearts.

"You must safeguard your own living, the feeding of the urban
populations and especially the feeding of those who are defending the
frontier, as well as the independence of the country, civilization
and justice.

"Up, then, French women, young children, daughters and sons of the
country! Replace on the field of work those who are on the field of
battle. Strive to show them to-morrow the cultivated soil, the harvests
all gathered in, the fields sown.

"In hours of stress like the present, there is no ignoble work.
Everything that helps the country is great. Up! Act! To work! To-morrow
there will be glory for everyone.

"Long live the Republic! Long live France!"

Women instantly responded to the proclamation. Only the old men were
left to help, only decrepit horses, rejected by the military
requisition. More than once I journeyed far into the country, but I
never saw an able-bodied man. What a gap to be filled!--but the French
peasant woman filled it. She harvested that first year, she has sowed
and garnered season by season ever since. Men, horses, machinery were
lacking, the debit yawned, but she piled up a credit to meet it by
unflagging toil.

With equal devotion and with initiative and power of organization the
woman of leisure has "carried on." The three great societies
corresponding with our Red Cross, the Société de Secours aux Blessés,
the Union des Femmes de France, and the Association des Dames
Françaises, have established fifteen hundred hospitals with one hundred
and fifteen thousand beds, and put forty-three thousand nurses in active
service. Efficiency has kept pace with this superb effort, as is
testified to by many a war cross, many a medal, and the cross of the
Legion of Honor.

Up to the level of her means France sets examples in works of human
salvage worthy the imitation of all nations. The mairie in each
arrondissement has become no less than a community center. The XIV
arrondissement in Paris is but the pattern for many. Here the wife of
the mayor, Mme. Brunot, has made the stiff old building a human place.
The card catalogue carrying information about every soldier from the
district, gives its overwhelming news each day gently to wife or mother,
through the lips of Mme. Brunot or her women assistants. The work of Les
Amis des Orphelins de Guerre centers here, the "adopted" child receiving
from the good maire the gifts in money and presents sent by the
Americans who are generously filling the role of parent. The widows of
the soldiers gather here for comfort and advice.

And the mairie holds a spirit of experiment. It houses not only courage
and sympathy, but progress. The "XIV" has ventured on a Cuisine
Populaire under Mme. Brunot's wholesome guidance. And so many other
arrondissements have followed suit that Paris may be regarded as making
a great experiment in the municipal feeding of her people. It is not
charity, the food is paid for. In the "XIV" fifteen hundred persons eat
a meal or two at the mairie each day. The charge is seventy-five
centimes--fifteen cents, and one gets a soup, meat and a vegetable,
and fruit.

The world seems to be counselling us that if we wish to be well and
cheaply fed we must go where there are experts to cook, where buying is
done in quantity, and where the manager knows about nutritive values.

If a word of praise is extended to the maire of the XIV arrondissement
for his very splendid work, an example to all France, he quickly urges,
"Ah, but Mme. Brunot!" And so it is always, if you exclaim, "Oh, the
spirit of the men of France!" and a Frenchman's ears catch your words,
he will correct, "Ah, but the women!"

And the women do stand above all other women, they have had such
opportunity for heroism. Whose heart does not beat the faster when the
names Soisson and Mme. Macherez are spoken! The mayor and the council
gone, she assumes the office and keeps order while German shells fall
thick on the town. And then the enemy enters, and asks for the mayor,
and she replies, "Le maire, c'est moi." And then do we women not like to
think of Mlle. Deletete staying at her post in the telegraph office in
Houplines in spite of German bombardments, and calmly facing tormentors,
when they smashed her instruments and threatened her with death.
One-tenth of France in the enemy's hands, and in each village and town
some woman staying behind to nurse the sick and wounded, to calm the
population when panic threatens, to stand invincible between the people
and their conquerors!

It is very splendid!--the French man holding steady at the front, the
French woman an unyielding second line of defense. But what of France?
Words of praise must not swallow our sense of obligation. Let us with
our hundred millions of people face the figures. The death rate in
France, not counting the military loss, is twenty per thousand, with a
birth rate of eight per thousand. In Paris for the year ending August,
1914, there were forty-eight thousand nine hundred and seventeen births;
in the year ending in the same month, 1916, the births dropped to
twenty-six thousand one hundred and seventy-nine. The total deaths for
that year in all France were one million, one hundred thousand, and the
births three hundred and twelve thousand.

France is profoundly, infinitely sad. She has cause. I shall never
forget looking into the very depths of her sorrow when I was at Creil. A
great drive was in progress, the wounded were being brought down from
the front, troops hurried forward. Four different regiments passed as I
sat at déjeuner. The restaurant, full of its noonday patrons, was a
typical French café giving on the street. We could have reached out and
touched the soldiers. They marched without music, without song or word,
marched in silence. Some of the men were from this very town; their
little sons, with set faces, too, walked beside them and had brought
them bunches of flowers. The people in the restaurant never spoke above
a whisper, and when the troops passed were as silent as death. There was
no cheer, but just a long, wistful gaze, the soldiers looking into their
eyes, they into the soldiers'.

But France can bear her burden, can solve her problem if we lift our
full share from her bent shoulders. Her women can save the children if
the older men, relieved by our young soldiers, come back from the
trenches, setting women free for the work of child saving. France can
rebuild her villages if her supreme architects, her skilled workers are
replaced in the trenches by our armies. France can renew her spirit and
save her body if her experts in science, if her poets and artists are
sent back to her, and our less great bare their breasts to the Huns.



The military mobilization of Germany was no more immediate and effective
than the call to arms for women. On August 1, 1914, the summons went
out, and German women were at once part of the smooth running machine of

The world says the Kaiser has been preparing for war for forty years.
The world means that he has been preparing the fighting force. The sword
and guns were to be ready. But the military arm of the nation, the
German government believes, is but the first line of attack; the people
are the second line, and so they, too, in all their life activities,
were not forgotten. The military aristocracy has never neglected the
function of women in the state. The definition of their function may
differ from ours, but that there is a function is recognized, and it is
related to the other vital social organs.

Slowly, through the last half of the nineteenth century, there had grown
up clubs among German women focusing on a definite bit of work, or
crystallizing about an idea. Germany even had suffrage societies.
Politics, however, were forbidden by the government; women were not
allowed to hang on the fringe of a meeting held to discuss men's
politics. But the women of the Fatherland were free to pool their ideas
in philanthropic and hygienic corners, and venture out at times on
educational highways. The Froebel societies had many a contest with the
government, for to the military mind, the gentle pedagogue's theories
seemed subversive of discipline as enforced by spurs and bayonets.

These clubs, covering every trade and profession, every duty and every
aspiration of women, were dotted over the German Empire. At last they
drew together in a federation. The government looked on. It saw a
machine created, and believing in thorough organization, no doubt gave
thought to the possibilities of the Bund deutscher, Frauenvereine. At
the outbreak of war, Dr. Gertrud Baumer was president of the Bund. She
was a leader of great ability, marshalling half a million of women. No
other organization was so widespread and well-knit, except perhaps Der
Vaterlandische Frauenverein with its two thousand one hundred and fifty
branches. It was evangelical and military. The Empress was its patron.
Its popular name is the "Armée der Kaiserin."

There the two great national societies stood--one aristocratic, the
other democratic, one appealing to the ruling class, the other holding
in bonds of fellowship the rich and the poor, the urban and the rural,
the professional and the industrial woman.

Every belligerent president or premier has faced exactly the same
perplexity. What woman, what society, is to be recognized as leader? The
question has brought beads of perspiration to the foreheads of

France solved the difficulty urbanely. It said "yes" to each and all. It
promised coöperation and kept the promise. By affably--always affably
and hospitably--accepting this service from one society, and suggesting
another pressing need to its competitor, it sorted out capabilities, and
warded off duplication. Perhaps this did not bring the fullest
efficiency, but the loss was more than made up, no doubt, by a free
field for initiative. Britain ignored all existing organizations of
women, and after a year and a half of puzzlement created a separate
government department for their mobilization. America struck out still
another course. It took the heads of several national societies, bound
them in one committee, to which it gave, perhaps with the idea of
avoiding any danger of friction, neither power nor funds.

Germany faced the same critical moment for decision. The government
wanted efficient use of woman-power on the land, in the factory, in the
home, and that quickly. It made use of the best existing machinery. Dr.
Gertrud Baumer visited the Ministerium des Innern, and on August 1 she
issued a call for the mobilization of women for service to the
Fatherland in the Nationale Frauendienst. Under the aegis of the
government, with the national treasury behind her, Dr. Baumer summoned
the women of the Empire. By order, every woman and every organization of
women was to fall in line under the Frauendienst in each village and
city for "the duration of the war." [3]

In each army district, the government appointed a woman as directress,
and by order to town and provincial authorities made the Frauendienst
part of local executive affairs.

Among the immediate duties laid upon the Frauendienst by the authorities
was the task of registering all needy persons, of providing cheap eating
places, opening workrooms, and setting up nurseries for children,
especially for those who were motherless and those whose fathers had
fallen at the front and whose mothers were in some gainful pursuit. With
these duties went the administrative service of coöperating with the
government in "keeping up an even supply of foodstuffs, and controlling
the buying and selling of food."

Germany anticipated as did no other belligerent the unemployment which
would follow a declaration of war, and prepared to meet the condition. A
great deal of army work, such as tent sewing, belts for cartridges,
bread sacks, and sheets for hospitals, was made immediately available
for the women thrown out of luxury trades. In the first month of the war
the Frauendienst opened work-rooms in all great centers; machinery was
installed by magic and through the six work-rooms in Berlin alone
twenty-three thousand women were given paid employment in one week.

Such efforts could not, of course, absorb the surplus labor, for
unemployment was very great. Eighty percent of the women's hat-makers
and milliners were out of work, seventy-two percent of the workers in
glass and fifty-eight percent in china. The Frauendienst investigated
two hundred and fifty-five thousand needy cases, and in Berlin alone
found sixty thousand women who had lost their employment. Charity had to
render help. Here, again, it is an example of the alertness of the
organization and its close connection with the government that the
Berlin magistracy deputed to twenty-three Hilfscommissionen from the
Frauendienst the work of giving advice and charity relief to the
unemployed. Knitting rooms were opened, clothing depots, mending rooms,
where donated clothing was repaired, and in one month fifty-six thousand
orders for milk, five hundred thousand for bread, and three hundred
thousand for meals were distributed for the city authorities.

The adjustment to war requirements went on more quickly in Germany than
in any other country. Before a year had passed the surplus hands had
been absorbed, and a shortage of labor power was beginning to be felt.

And now opens the war drama set with the same scene everywhere. Women
hurry forward to take up the burden laid down by men, and to assume the
new occupations made necessary by the organization of the world for
military conflict. To tell of Germany is merely to speak in bigger
numbers. Women in munitions? Of course, well over the million mark.
Trolley conductors? Of course, six hundred in Berlin alone before the
first Christmas. Women are making the fuses, fashioning the big shells,
and at the same heavy machines used by the men. That speaks volumes--the
same heavy machines. Great Britain and France have in every case
introduced lighter machinery for their women. But, whatever the
conditions, in Germany the women are handling high explosives, sewing
heavy saddlery, operating the heaviest drill machines. Women have been
put on the "hardest jobs hitherto filled by men." In the
German-Luxemburg Mining and Furnace Company at Differdingen, they are
found doing work at the slag and blast furnaces which had always
required men of great endurance. They work on the same shifts as the
men, receive the same pay, but are not worked overtime "because they
must go home and perform their domestic duties."

One feels the weight of the German system. Patient women shoulder double
burdens. They always did.

In the Post and Telegraph department there is an army of fifty thousand
women. The telephone service is entirely in their hands, and running
more smoothly than formerly. Dr. Käthe Schirmacher declares comfortingly
in the _Kriegsfrau_ that "one must not forget that these women know many
important bits of information--and keep silent." Women have learned to
keep a secret!

One hundred and eighty nurses, experts with the X-ray, were in the front
line dressing stations in the early days of the war, and before a week
of conflict had passed women were in the Field Post, and Frau Reimer,
organizer of official chauffeurs, was on the western line of attack.

Agriculture claims more women than any occupation in Germany. They were
always on the farm, perhaps they are happier there now since they
themselves are in command. It is said that "the peasants work in the
boots and trousers of their husbands and ride in the saddle." War has
liberated German women from the collar and put them on horseback!

But strangest and most unexpected of all is the professional and
administrative use of women. The government has sent women architects
and interior decorators to East Prussia to plan and carry through
reconstruction work. Over a hundred--to be exact, one hundred and
sixteen at last accounts--have taken the places of men in
administrative departments connected with the railways. Many widows who
have shown capacity have been put in government positions of importance
formerly held by their husbands. Women have become farm managers,
superintendents of dairy industries, and representatives of landed

The disseminating of all instruction and information for women on war
economies was delegated to the League of Women's Domestic Science Clubs.
The Berlin course was held in no less a place than the Abgeordnetenhaus,
and the Herrenhaus opened its doors wide on Rural Women's Day when
Agricultural Week was held at the capital.

When the full history of the war comes to be written, no doubt one
reason for Germany's marvelous power to stand so long against the world
will be found in her use of every brain and muscle of the nation. This
has been for her no exclusive war. Her entire people to their last ounce
of energy have been engaged.

And this supreme service on the part of German women seeks democratic
expression. From them comes the clearest, bravest word that has reached
us across the border. The most hopeful sign is this manifesto from the
suffrage organizations to the government: "Up to the present Germany
has stood in the lowest rank of nations as regards women's rights. In
most civilized lands women already have been given a large share in
public affairs. German women have been granted nothing except within the
most insignificant limits. In New Zealand, Australia and most American
States, and even before the war in Finland and Norway, they had been
given political rights; to-day, Sweden, Russia and many other countries
give them a full or limited franchise. The war has brought a full
victory to the women of England, Canada, Russia and Denmark, and large
concessions are within sight in France, Holland and Hungary.

"Among us Germans not only the national but even the commercial
franchise is denied, and even a share in the industrial and commercial
courts. In the demand for the democratization of German public life our
legislators do not seem even to admit the existence of women.

"But during the war the cooperation of women in public life has
unostentatiously grown from year to year until to-day the number of
women engaged in various callings in Germany exceeds the number of men.

"The work they are doing includes all spheres of male activity; without
them it would no longer be possible to support the economic life of the
people. Women have done their full share in the work of the community.

"Does not this performance of duty involve the right to share in the
building up and extension of the social order?

"The women protest against this lack of political rights, in virtue both
of their work for the community and of their work as human beings. They
demand political equality with men. They demand the direct, equal and
secret franchise for all legislative bodies, full equality in the
communes and in legal representation of their interests.

"This first joint pronouncement on women's demands will be followed by
others until the victory of our cause is won."

[Footnote 3: "Die Frauenvereine jeder Stadt verbinden sich für die Dauer
des Krieges zur Organization Nationaler Frauendienst die zu Berlin am
1ten August begründet wurde."]



American women have begun to go over the top. They are going up the
scaling-ladder and out into All Man's Land. Perhaps love of adventure
tempts them, perhaps love of money, or a fine spirit of service, but
whatever the propelling motive, we are seeing them make the venture.

There is nothing new in our day in a woman's being paid for her
work--some of it. But she has never before been seen in America
employed, for instance, as a section hand on a railway. The gangs are
few and small as yet, but there the women are big and strong specimens
of foreign birth. They "trim" the ballast and wield the heavy "tamping"
tool with zest. They certainly have muscles, and are tempted to use them
vigorously at three dollars a day.

In the machine shops where more skill than strength is called for, the
American element with its quick wits and deft fingers predominates.
Young women are working at the lathe with so much precision and accuracy
that solicitude as to what would become of the world if all its men
marched off to war is in a measure assuaged. In the push and drive of
the industrial world, women are handling dangerous chemicals in making
flash lights, and T.N.T. for high explosive shells. The American college
girl is not as yet transmuting her prowess of the athletic field into
work on the anvil, as is the university woman in England, but she has
demonstrated her manual strength and skill on the farm with plough
and harrow.

Women and girls answer our call for messenger service, and their
intelligence and courtesy are an improvement upon the manners of the
young barbarians of the race. Women operate elevators, lifting us with
safety to the seventh heaven, or plunging us with precision to the
depths. There were those at first who refused to entrust their lives to
such frail hands, and there are still some who look concerned when they
see a woman at the lever; but on the whole the elevator "girl" has
gained the confidence of her public, and has gained it by skill, not by
feminine wiles, for even men won't shoot into space with a woman at the
helm whose sole equipment is charm. With need of less skill than the
elevator operator, but more patience and tact in managing human nature,
the woman conductor is getting her patrons into line. We are still a
little embarrassed in her presence. We try not to stare at the
well-set-up woman in her sensible uniform, while she on her part tries
to look unconscious, and with much dignity accomplishes the common aim
much more successfully than do we. She is so attentive to her duties, so
courteous, and, withal, so calm and serious that I hope she will abide
with us longer than the "duration of the war."

In short, America is witnessing the beginning of a great industrial and
social change, and even those who regard the situation as temporary
cannot doubt that the experience will have important reactions. The
development is more advanced than it was in Great Britain at a
corresponding time, for even before the United States entered the
conflict women were being recruited in war industries. They have opened
up every line of service. There is not an occupation in which a woman is
not found.

When men go a-warring, women go to work.

A distinguished general at the end of the Cuban War, enlarging upon the
poet's idea of woman's weeping rôle in wartime, said in a public speech:
"When the country called, women put guns in the hands of their soldier
boys and bravely sent them away. After the good-byes were said there was
nothing for these women to do but to go back and wait, wait, wait. The
excitement of battle was not for them. It was simply a season of anxiety
and heartrending inactivity." Now the fact is, when a great call to arms
is sounded for the men of a nation, women enlist in the industrial army.
If women did indeed sit at home and weep, the enemy would soon conquer.

The dull census tells the thrilling story. Before our Civil War women
were found in less than a hundred trades, at its close in over four
hundred. The census of 1860 gives two hundred and eighty-five thousand
women in gainful pursuits; that of 1870, one million, eight hundred and
thirty-six thousand. Of the Transvaal at war, this story was told to me
by an English officer. He led a small band of soldiers down into the
Boer country, on the north from Rhodesia, as far as he dared. He "did
not see a man," even boys as young as fifteen had joined the army. But
at the post of economic duty stood the Boer woman; she was tending the
herds and carrying on all the work of the farm. She was the base of
supplies. That was why the British finally put her in a concentration
camp. Her man could not be beaten with her at his back.

War compels women to work. That is one of its merits. Women are forced
to use body and mind, they are not, cannot be idlers. Perhaps that is
the reason military nations hold sway so long; their reign continues,
not because they draw strength from the conquered nation, but because
their women are roused to exertion. Active mothers ensure a virile race.

The peaceful nation, if its women fall victims to the luxury which
rapidly increasing wealth brings, will decay. If there come no spiritual
awakening, no sense of responsibility of service, then perhaps war alone
can save it. The routing of idleness and ease by compulsory labor is the
good counterbalancing some of the evil.

The rapidly increasing employment of women to-day, then, is the usual,
and happy, accompaniment of war. But the development has its opponents,
and that is nothing new, either. Let us look them over one by one. The
most mischievous objector is the person, oftenest a woman, who says the
war will be short, and fundamental changes, therefore, should not be
made. This agreeable prophecy does not spring from a heartening belief
in victory, but only from the procrastinating attitude, "Why get ready?"
To prepare for anything less certain than death seems folly to many of
the sex, over-trained in patient waiting.

Then there is the official who constantly sees the seamy side of
industrial life and who concludes--we can scarcely blame him--that "it
would be well if women were excluded entirely from factory life." The
bad condition of industrial surroundings bulks large in his mind, and
the value of organized work to us mortals bulks small. We are all too
inclined to forget that the need for work cannot be eliminated, but the
unhealthy process in a dangerous trade can. Clean up the factory, rather
than clean out the women, is a sound slogan.

And then comes the objector who is exercised as to the effect of paid
work upon woman's charm. Solicitude on this score is often buried in a
woman's heart. It was a woman, the owner of a large estate, who when
proposing to employ women asked how many men she would have to hire in
addition, "to dig, plough and do all the hard work." On learning that
the college units do everything on a farm, she queried anxiously, "But
how about their corsets?" To the explanation, "They don't wear any,"
came the regret, "What a pity to make themselves so unattractive!"

I have heard fear expressed, too, lest sex attraction be lost through
work on army hats, the machinery being noisy and the operative, if she
talk, running the danger of acquiring a sharp, high voice. One could but
wonder if most American women work on army hats.

Among the women actually employed, I have found without exception a fine
spirit of service. So many of them have a friend or brother "over
there," that backing up the boys makes a strong personal appeal. But
some of the women who have left factory life behind are adopting an
attitude towards the present industrial situation as lacking in vision
as in patriotism. Throughout a long discussion in which some of these
women participated I was able to follow and get their point of view. To
them a woman acting as a messenger, an elevator operator, or a trolley
conductor, was anathema, and the tempting of women into these
employments seemed but the latest vicious trick of the capitalist. The
conductor in her becoming uniform was most reprehensible, and her
evident satisfaction in her job suggested to her critics that she merely
was trying to play a melodramatic part "as a war hero." In any case, the
conductor's occupation was one no woman should be in, "crowded and
pushed about as she is." It was puzzling to know why it was regarded as
right for a woman to pay five cents and be pushed, and unbecoming for
another woman to be paid eighteen dollars and ninety cents a week and
run the risk of a jolt when stepping outside her barrier.

But the ideals of yesterday fail to make their appeal. It is not the
psychological moment to urge, on the ground of comfort, the woman's
right to protection. The contrast between the trenches and the street
car or factory is too striking. But it is, however, the exact moment to
plead for better care of workers, both women and men, because their
health and skill are as necessary in attaining the national aim as the
soldiers' prowess and well-being. It is the time to advocate the
protection of the worker from long hours, because the experience of
Europe has proved that a greater and better output is achieved when a
short day is strictly adhered to, when the weekly half-holiday is
enjoyed, and Sunday rest respected. The United States is behind other
great industrial countries in legal protection for the workers. War
requirements may force us to see in the health of the worker the
greatest of national assets. Meantime, whether approved or not, the
American woman is going over the top. Four hundred and more are busy on
aeroplanes at the Curtiss works. The manager of a munition shop where
to-day but fifty women are employed, is putting up a dormitory to
accommodate five hundred. An index of expectation! Five thousand are
employed by the Remington Arms Company at Bridgeport. At the
International Arms and Fuse Company at Bloomfield, New Jersey, two
thousand, eight hundred are employed. The day I visited the place, in
one of the largest shops women had only just been put on the work, but
it was expected that in less than a month they would be found handling
all of the twelve hundred machines under that one roof alone.

The skill of the women staggers one. After a week or two they master the
operations on the "turret," gauging and routing machines. The best
worker on the "facing" machine is a woman. She is a piece worker, as
many of the women are, and is paid at the same rate as men. This woman
earned, the day I saw her, five dollars and forty cents. She tossed
about the fuse parts, and played with that machine, as I would with a
baby. Perhaps it was in somewhat the same spirit--she seemed to
love her toy.

Most of the testers and inspectors are women. They measure the parts
step by step, and weigh the completed fuse, carrying off the palm for
reliability. The manager put it, "for inspection the women are more
conscientious than men. They don't measure or weigh just one piece,
shoving along a half-dozen untouched and let it go at that. They test
each." That did not surprise me, but I was not prepared to hear that the
women do not have so many accidents as men, or break the machines so
often. In explanation, the manager threw over an imaginary lever with
vigor sufficient to shake the factory, "Men put their whole strength on,
women are more gentle and patient."

Nor are the railways neglecting to fill up gaps in their working force
with women. The Pennsylvania road, it is said, has recruited some seven
hundred of them. In the Erie Railroad women are not only engaged as
"work classifiers" in the locomotive clerical department, but hardy
Polish women are employed in the car repair shops. They move great
wheels as if possessed of the strength of Hercules. And in the
locomotive shops I found women working on drill-press machines with
ease and skill. Just as I came up to one operator, she lifted an engine
truck-box to the table and started drilling out the studs. She had been
at the work only a month, and explained her skill by the information
that she was Swedish, and had always worked with her husband in their
auto-repair shop. All the other drill-press hands and the "shapers,"
too, were Americans whose husbands, old employees, were now "over
there." Not one seemed to have any sense of the unusual; even the little
blond check-clerk seated in her booth at the gates of the works with her
brass discs about her had in a few months' time changed a revolution
into an established custom. She and the discs seemed old friends. Women
are adaptable.

[Illustration: _Copyright by Underwood and Underwood_
The daily round in the Erie Railroad workshops.]

But everywhere I gathered the impression that the men are a bit uneasy.
A foreman in one factory pointed out a man who "would not have voted for
suffrage" had he guessed that women were "to rush in and gobble
everything up." I tried to make him see that it wasn't the vote that
gave the voracious appetite, but necessity or desire to serve. And in
any case, women do not push men out, they push them up. In not a single
instance did I hear of a man being turned off to make a place for a
woman. He had left his job to go into the army, or was advanced to
heavier or more skilled work.

As to how many women have supplanted men, or poured into the new war
industries, no figures are available. One guess has put it at a million.
But that is merely a guess. I have seen them by the tens, the hundreds,
the thousands. The number is large and rapidly increasing. We may know
that something important is happening when even the government takes
note. The United States Labor Department has recognized the new-comers
by establishing a Division of Women's Work with branches in every State.
It looks as if these bureaus of employment would not be idle, with a
showing of one thousand, five hundred applicants the first week the New
York office was opened. It is to be hoped that this government effort
will save the round pegs from getting into the square holes.

But even the round peg in the round hole brings difficulties. When Adam
Smith asserted that of all sorts of luggage man was the most difficult
to move, he forgot woman! The instant women are carried into a new
industry, they bring with them puzzling problems. Where shall we put
their coats and picture hats, how shall we cover up their hair, what
shall we feed them with? They must have lockers and rest rooms, caps
and overalls, and above all, canteens. The munition workers, the
conductors, in fact, all women in active work, get prodigiously hungry.
They have made a regiment of dietitians think about calories. Here is
what one of the street railways in New York City offered them on a
given day:--

Tomato soup         10c. or with an order 5c.
Roast leg of veal   16c.
Beef                16c.
Lamb fricassee      16c.
Ham steak           16c.
Liver and onions    16c.
Sirloin steak       30c.
Small steak         20c.
Ham and eggs        20c.
Ham omelet          20c.
_Regular dinner_
  Soup, meat,
  Dessert, coffee   25c.
Rice pudding         5c.
Pie                  5c.
Cake                 5c.
Banana or orange     5c.

The canteen is open every hour of the twenty-four, and the women
conductors at the end of each run usually take a bite, and then have a
substantial meal during the long break of an hour and a half in the
middle of the ten-hour day.

Another problem brought to us by women in industry is, how can we house
them? The war industries have drawn large numbers to new centers. The
haphazard accommodation which men win put up with, won't satisfy women.
They demand more, and get more. To attract the best type of women the
munition plants are putting up dormitories to accommodate hundreds of
workers, and are making their plants more attractive, with rest rooms
and hospital accommodation. Take, for instance, the Briggs and Stratton
Company, which in order to draw high grade workers built its new factory
in one of the best sections of Milwaukee. The workrooms are as clean as
the proverbial Dutch woman's doorstep. From the top of the benches to
the ceiling the walls are glass to ensure daylight in every corner, and
by night the system of indirect lighting gives such perfectly diffused
light that not a heavy shadow falls anywhere. And the hospital room and
nurse--well, one would rejoice to have an accident daily!

The factory may become the exemplar for the home. The professional
woman is going over the top, and with a good opinion of herself. "I can
do this work better than any man," was the announcement made by a young
woman from the Pacific Coast as she descended upon the city hall in an
eastern town, credentials in her hand, and asked for the position of
city chemist. There was not a microbe she did not know to its undoing,
or a deadly poison she could not bring from its hiding place. The town
had suffered from graft, and the mayor, thinking a woman might scare the
thieves as well as the bacteria, appointed the chemist who believed in
herself. And she is just one of many who have been taking up such work.

Formerly two-thirds of the positions filled by the New York
Intercollegiate Bureau of Occupations were secretarial or teaching
positions; now three-fourths of its applicants have been placed as
physicists, chemists, office managers, sanitary experts, exhibit
secretaries, and the like. The temporary positions used to outnumber the
permanent placements; at present the reverse is true. Of the women
placed, four times as many as formerly get salaries ranging above
eighteen hundred dollars a year.

The story told at the employment bureaus in connection with professional
societies and clubs such as the Chemists' Club is the same. Women are
being placed not merely as teachers of chemistry or as routine
laboratory workers in hospitals, but also as experimental and control
chemists in industrial plants. In the great rolling mills they are
testing steel, at the copper smelters they are found in the
laboratories. The government has thrown doors wide open to
college-trained women. They are physicists and chemists in the United
States Bureaus of Standards, Mines, and Soils, sanitary experts in
military camps, research chemists in animal nutrition and fertilizers at
state experiment stations.

But the industrial barrier is the one most recently scaled. Women are
now found as analytical, research or control chemists in the canneries,
in dye and electrical works, in flour and paper mills, in insecticide
companies, and cement works. They test the steel that will carry us
safely on our journeys, they pass upon the chemical composition of the
flavor in our cake, as heads of departments in metal refining companies
they determine the kind of copper battery we shall use, and they have a
finger in our liquid glues, household oils and polishes.

And the awakened spirit of social responsibility has opened new
callings. The college woman not only is beginning to fill welfare
positions inside the factory, but is acting as protective officer in
towns near military camps. Perhaps one of the newest and most
interesting positions is that of "employment secretary." The losing of
employees has become so serious and general that big industries have
engaged women who devote their time to looking up absentees and finding
out why each worker left.

And so we see on all hands women breaking through the old accustomed

Not only as workers but as voters, the war has called women over the
top. Since that fateful August, 1914, four provinces of Canada and the
Dominion itself have raised the banner of votes for women. Nevada and
Montana declared for suffrage before the war was four months old, and
Denmark enfranchised its women before the year was out. And when America
went forth to fight for democracy abroad, Arkansas, Michigan, Vermont,
Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, began to lay the foundations of
freedom at home, and New York in no faltering voice proclaimed full
liberty for all its people. Lastly Great Britain has enfranchised its
women, and surely the Congress of the United States will not lag behind
the Mother of Parliaments!

The world is facing changes as great as the breaking up of the feudal
system. Causes as fundamental, more wide-spread, and more cataclysmic
are at work than at the end of the Middle Ages. Among the changes none
is more marked than the intensified development in what one may call,
for lack of a better term, the woman movement. The advance in political
freedom has moved steadily forward during the past quarter of a century,
but in the last three years progress has been intense and striking.

The peculiarity in attainment of political democracy for women has lain
in the fact that while for men economic freedom invariably preceded
political enfranchisement, in the case of women the conferring of the
vote in no single case was related to the stage which the enfranchised
group had attained in the matter of economic independence. Nowhere were
even those women who were entirely lacking in economic freedom, excluded
on that account from any extension of suffrage. Even in discussions of
the right of suffrage no reference has ever been made, in dealing with
women's claim, to the relation, universally recognized in the case of
men, of political enfranchisement to economic status. Serfdom gave way
to the wage system before democracy developed for men, and the colored
man was emancipated before he was enfranchised. For this reason the
coming of women as paid workers over the top may be regarded as

In any case, self-determination is certainly a strong element in
attaining any real political freedom.

Complete service to their country in this crisis may lead women to that
economic freedom which will change a political possession into a
political power. But the requirement is readiness to do, and to do well,
the task which offers. Man-power must give itself unreservedly at the
front. Women must show not only eagerness but fitness to substitute for
man-power. It will hearten the nation, help to make the path clear, if
individual women declare that though the call to them has not yet come
for a definite service, the time of waiting will not be spent in
complaint, nor yet in foolish busy-ness, but in careful and
conscientious training for useful work.

Each woman must prepare so that when the nation's need arises, she can
stand at salute and say, "Here is your servant, trained and ready."
Women are not driven over the top. Through self-discipline, they go over
it of their own accord.



No woman is a cross between an angel and a goose. She is a very human
creature. She has many of man's sins and some virtues of her own.

Moving up from slavery through all the various forms of
serfdom--attachment to the soil, confinement to a given trade, exclusion
from citizenship, payment in kind, on to full economic freedom, men have
shown definite reactions at each step. Women respond to the
same stimuli.

The free man is a better worker than slave or serf. So is the free
woman. All the old gibes at her ineptitudes have broken their points
against the actualities of her ability as a wage worker. The free man is
more alert to obligation, more conscientious in performance, than the
bond servant. So is the free woman. With pay envelope, or pension, Eve
is a better helpmate and mother than ever before.

The free man carries a lighter heart than the villain. So does the free
woman. Men have always borne personal grief more easily than women;
observers remarked the fact. The reason is the same. An absorbing
occupation, ordered and regarded as important, which brings a return
allowing the recipient to patronize what he or she thinks wise, that
brings happiness, not boisterous, but dignified. It may be a holocaust
through which Eve gains that pay envelope, but the material possession
brings gratification nevertheless. It is a tiny straw showing the set of
the wind that leisure class British women, however large their unearned
bank account, show no reluctance to accept pay for their work, and full
responsibility in their new position of employee.

Women are supposed to have liked to serve for mere love of service, for
love of child, love of husband. There is, of course, many a subtle
relation which can't be weighed and paid for; but toil, even for one's
very own hearthstone, can be valued in hard cash. The daughters of Eve,
no less than the sons of Adam, react happily to a recognition that
expresses itself in a fair wage.

The verdict comes from all sides that women were never more content. Of
course they are content. The weight of suppression is being lifted. For
many their drudgery is for the first time paid for. Is not that
invigorating? The pay envelope is equal to that of men. Is not that a
new experience giving self-respect? Eve often finds her pay envelope
heavier than that of the man working at her side. Right there in her
hand, then, she holds proof that the old prejudice against her as an
inferior worker is ill-founded.

Women are finding themselves. Even America's Eve discovers that pains
and aches are not "woman's lot." She is under no curse in the twentieth
century. With eighteen dollars a week for ringing up fares, and a
possible thirty-five for "facing" fuse-parts, nothing can persuade her
to be poor-spirited. She radiates the atmosphere, "I am needed!" Doors
fly open to her. She is welcome everywhere. No one seems to be able to
get too many of her kind. Politicians compete for her favor, employers
quarrel over her. It makes her breathe deep to have the Secretary of the
Navy summon her to the United States arsenals, pay her for her work, and
call her a patriot.

[Illustration: In the well-lighted factory of the Briggs and Stratton
Company, Milwaukee, the girls are comfortably and becomingly garbed
for work.]

And with the pay envelope women remain clearly human. Their purchases
often reflect past denials, rather than present needs or even tastes.
When set free one always buys what the days of dependence deprived one
of. One of Boston's leading merchants told me that Selfridge in London
was selling more jaunty ready-to-wear dresses than ever before. It was
part of John Bull's discipline in ante-bellum dependent days to keep his
women folk dowdy. The Lancashire lass with head shawl and pattens, the
wearer of the universal sailor hat, in these days of independence and
pounds, shillings and pence, are taking note of the shop windows. And
John is not turning his eyes away from his women folk in their day of

But it is not to be concluded that it is all beer and skittles for Eve.
With a pay envelope and a vote come responsibilities. Public sympathy
has backed up laws cutting down long hours of work for women. The trade
unions, with a thought to possible competitors, have favored protecting
them from night work. Has Eve been a bit spoiled? Has she let herself
too easily be classed with children and allowed a line to be drawn
between men and women in industry? Is it a bit of woman's proverbial
logic to demand special protection, and at the same time insist upon
"equal pay for equal work"?

The hopelessness of attaining the promise of the slogan is well
illustrated in the case of a gray haired woman I once met in a London
printing shop. In her early days she had been one of the women taken on
by the famous printing firm of McCorquodale. That was before protective
legislation applied to women. She became a highly skilled printer,
earning more than any man in the shop. When there was pressure of work
she was always one of the group of experts chosen to carry through the
rush order. That meant on occasion overtime or night work. Then she went
on to tell me how her skill was checked in her very prime. Regulations
as to women's labor were gradually fixed in the law. All the printers in
the shop, she said, favored the laws limiting her freedom but not
theirs. Soon her wages reflected the contrast. Her employer called her
to his office one day and explained, "I cannot afford to pay you as much
as the men any longer. You are not worth as much to me, not being able
to work Saturday afternoon, at night, or overtime." She was put on lower
grade work and her pay envelope grew slight.

This woman was not discussing the value of shorter working hours, she
was pointing out that "equal pay" cannot rule for an entire group of
workers when restrictions apply to part of the group and not to the
whole body. We meet here, not a theory, but an incontrovertible fact.
Pay is not equal, and cannot be, where conditions are wholly unequal.
Protection for the woman worker means exactly what it would mean for the
alien man if by law he were forbidden to work Saturday afternoon,
overtime or at night, while the citizen worker was without restriction.
The alien would be cut off from advancement in every trade in which he
did not by overwhelming numbers dominate the situation, he would be kept
to lower grade processes, he would receive much lower pay than the
unprotected worker.

What common sense would lead us to expect in the hypothetical case of an
alien man, has happened for the woman worker. Oddly enough she has not
herself asked for this protection, but it has been urged very largely by
women not of the industrial class. Women teachers, doctors, lawyers,
women of leisure are the advocates of special legislation for industrial
women. And yet in their own case they are entirely reasonable, and ask
no favors. The woman teacher, and quite truly, insists that she works as
hard and as long hours as the man in her grade of service, and on that
sound foundation she builds her just demand for equal pay. Women doctors
and lawyers have never asked for other than a square deal in their

It would be well, perhaps, if industrial women were permitted to guide
their own ship. They have knowledge enough to reach a safe harbor. There
was a hint that they were about to assume the helm when the rank and
file of union workers voted down at the conference of the Women's Trade
Union League the resolution proposing a law to forbid women acting as
conductors. It was also suggestive when a woman rose and asked of the
speaker on dangerous trades, whether "men did not suffer from exposure
to fumes, acids and dust."

Women have so long been urging that they are people, that they have
forgotten, perchance, that men are people also. Men respond to rest and
recreation as do human beings of the opposite sex. All workers need, and
both sexes should have, protection. But if only one sex in industrial
life can have bulwarks thrown up about it, men should be the favored
ones just now. They are few, they are precious, they should be wrapped
in cotton wool.

The industrial woman should stand unqualifiedly for the exclusion of
children from gainful pursuits. Many years ago the British government
had Miss Collett, one of the Labor Correspondents of the Board of
Trade, make a special study of the influence of the employment of
married women on infant mortality. The object was to prove that there
was direct cause and effect. The investigator, after an exhaustive study
covering many industrial centers, brought back the report, "Not proven."
But the statistics showed one most interesting relation. In districts
where the prevailing custom permitted the employment of children as
early as the law allowed, infant mortality was high, and in districts
where few children were employed, infant mortality was low. No
explanation of this striking revelation was made in the report, but many
who commented on the tables, pointed out that the wide-spread employment
of the population in its early years sapped the vitality of the
community to such an extent that its offspring were weakened. In other
words, the employment of the immature child, more than the employment of
that child when grown and married, works harm to the race.

The woman with a pay envelope must not, then, be willing to swell the
family budget by turning her children into the wage market. For if she
does, she creates a dangerous competitor for herself, and puts in
certain jeopardy the virility of her nation. But in this war time women
have secured more than new and larger pay envelopes, for each
belligerent has reckoned up the woman's worth as mother in coin of the
realm. It is enough to turn Eve's head--pay and pensions accorded her
all at once.

Allowances to dependents are more, however, than financial expedients.
They are part of the psychological stage-setting of the Great War. The
fighting man must be more than well-fed, well-clothed, well-equipped,
more than assured of care if ill or wounded; he must have his mind
undisturbed by conditions at home. Governments now know that there must
be no just cause for complaint in the family at the rear, if the man at
the front is to be fully effective. In the interest of the fighting
line, governments dare not leave the home to the haphazard care
of charity.

And so the great belligerents have adopted systems for an uninterrupted
flow of money aid to the hearthstone. The wife feels dependence on the
nation for which she and her man are making sacrifices, the soldier has
a sense of closer relationship with the country's cause for which he
fights. Content at home and sense of gratitude in the trenches build up
loyalty everywhere. The state allowance answers an economic want and a
psychological necessity.

It is part of our national lack of technique that we were slow to make
provision for the dependents of enlisted men, and even then were not
whole hearted. It may have been our inherited distrust of the conscript
that led us to feel that only by his volunteering something will a
precious antidote be administered to the spirit of the drafted man. To
protect his individualism from taint, the United States soldier must
bear part of the financial burden. Europe, on the other hand, is working
on a basis of reciprocity. The nation exacts service from the man and
gives complete service to his dependents. In America the man is bound to
serve the community, but the community is not bound to serve him. And
yet in our case there is peculiar need of this even exchange of
obligations. The care of parents in the United States falls directly
upon their children, while some of our allies had, even before the war,
carefully devised laws regulating pensions to the aged.

But first let us get the simple skeleton of the various allowance laws
in mind. The scale of the allowance in different countries adapts itself
to national standards and varying cost of living. The Canadian allowance
seems the most generous. At least one-half of the soldier's pay is
given directly to his dependents. The government gives an additional
twenty dollars and the donations of the Patriotic Fund bring up the
monthly allowance of a wife with three children to sixty dollars. The
allowance, as might be expected, is low in Italy. The soldier's wife
gets eight-tenths of a lira a day, each child four-tenths lira, and
either a father or mother alone eight-tenths lira, or if both are
living, one and three-tenths lire together. The British allowance is
much higher, the wife getting twelve shillings and sixpence a week. If
she has one child, the weekly allowance rises to nineteen and sixpence;
if two children, to twenty-four and sixpence; if three, to twenty-eight
shillings; and if there are four or more children, the mother receives
three shillings a week for each extra child.

Between the extremes of Italy and England stands France, the wife
receiving one franc twenty-five centimes a day, each child under sixteen
years of age twenty-five centimes, and a dependent parent seventy-five
centimes. Japan grants no government allowance. A Japanese official, in
response to my inquiry, wrote, "Relations the first and friends the next
try to help the dependents as far as possible, but if they have neither
relatives nor friends who have sufficient means to help them, then the
association consisting of ladies or the municipal officials afford
subvention to them."

Under the law passed by Congress in October, 1917, an American private
receiving thirty-three dollars a month when on service abroad must allot
fifteen dollars a month to his wife, and the government adds to this
twenty-five dollars, and if there is one child, an additional ten
dollars, with five dollars for each additional child. A man can secure
an allowance from the government of ten dollars a month to a dependent
parent, if he allots five dollars a month. Such are the bare bones of
the allowance schemes of the Allies on the western front.

In the United States the general policy of exemption boards, as
suggested by the central authorities, is most disciplinary as regards
women. Their capacity for self-support is rigidly inquired into. Our men
are definitely urging women to a position of economic independence. The
aim is, while securing soldiers for the army, to relieve the government
of the expense of dependency on the part of women. There is no doubt
that our men at least are faced toward the future. No less indicative
is it of a new world that the allowance laws of all the western
belligerents recognize common-law marriages. In our own law, marriage is
"presumed if the man and woman have lived together in the openly
acknowledged relation of husband and wife during two years immediately
preceding the date of the declaration of war." And the illegitimate
child stands equal with the legitimate provided the father acknowledges
the child or has been "judicially ordered or decreed to contribute" to
the child's support.

Men are feminists. Their hearts have softened even towards the wife's
relatives, for the word "parent" is not only broad enough to cover the
father, mother, grandparents or stepfather and mother of the man, but
"of the spouse" also. Thus passeth the curse of the mother-in-law.

One need not be endowed with the spirit of prophecy to foretell that
"allowances" in war time will broaden out into motherhood pensions in
peace times. It would be an ordinary human reaction should the woman
enjoying a pension refuse to give up, on the day peace is declared, her
quickly acquired habit of holding the purse strings. That would be
accepting international calm at the expense of domestic differences.
The social value of encouraging the mother's natural feeling of
responsibility toward her child by putting into her hands a state
pension is being, let us note, widely tested, and may demonstrate the
wisdom and economy of devoting public funds to mothers rather than to
crêches and juvenile asylums.

The allowance laws may prove the charter of woman's liberties;
her pay envelope may become her contract securing the right of



"Employ them." This was the advice given to a large conference of women
met to discuss business opportunities for their sex. The advice was
vouchsafed by a young lawyer after the problem of opening wider fields
to women in the legal profession had been looked at from every angle,
only to end in the question, "What can we do to increase their
practice?" She spoke with animation, as if she had found the key to the
situation, "Employ them." Perhaps more self-accusation than
determination to mend their ways was roused by the short and
pointed remark.

The advice has wider application. Taking thirty names of women at
random, I learned in response to an inquiry that only four had women
physicians, two had women lawyers, and only one, a woman dentist.
Twenty-five women of large real estate holdings had never even for the
most unimportant work secured the services of an architect of their own
sex. Further inquiry brought out the fact that of a long list of
women's clubs and associations which have built or altered property for
their purposes, only one had engaged a woman architect.

Perhaps it is indicative of a lack of nothing more serious than a sense
of humor, that we women unite and, apparently without embarrassment,
demand that masculine presidents, governors, mayors and legislatures
shall appoint women to office. This unabashed faith in the good will of
men seems not misplaced, for not only do public men show some confidence
in the official capacity of women, but to my inquiry as to whom was due
their opportunities to "get on," business women invariably replied,
"To men."

However, the loyalty of women to women is increasing, and their
solidarity on sound lines of service is a thing of steady growth.
Thoughtful women, for instance, do not wish a woman put in a position of
responsibility simply because she is a woman, but they are even more
opposed to having a candidate of peculiar fitness overlooked merely
because she is not a man. While the conscientious and poised women are
not willing to urge any and every woman for a given office, they do
tenaciously hold that there are positions which cry aloud for women and
for which the right women should he found. In conquering a fair field,
women will have to pool their brains even more effectively than they
have in the past.

Our efforts at combination are a mere mushroom growth compared with the
generations of training our big brothers have had in pooling brains. War
and the chase gave them their first lessons in cooperation, nor has war
been a bad teacher for women.

Just as the Crimean War and our Civil War put Florence Nightingale and
Clara Barton and the trained nurse on the map, this war is bringing the
medical woman to the fore. Women surgeons and doctors, unlike many other
groups, offer themselves fully trained for service. They know they have
something to give, and they know the soldiers' need.

According to an official statement, the emergency call of the army for
men physicians and surgeons fell two thousand short of being answered.
The necessity of the soldier and the skill of the women will no doubt in
the end be brought effectively together; for although the government of
the United States, like Great Britain in the early days of the war, has
left to ever farseeing France the honor of extending hospitality to
American women doctors, their strong national organization, with a
membership of four thousand, will in time, no doubt, persuade Uncle Sam
to take his plucky women doctors over the top under the Stars and
Stripes! Organization crystallized about an unselfish desire and skilled
ability to serve is irresistible.

The pooling of the brains of women that has been going on on a
country-wide scale for more than a half-century bears analyzing. These
associations have almost invariably centered about a service to be
rendered. Even the first petition for political enfranchisement urged it
as the "duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves the
elective franchise." Unselfishness draws numbers as a magnet draws steel
filings. The spirit of service lying at the heart of the great national
organizations made possible quick response to new duties immediately
upon our entrance into the war. The suffragists said, We wish to serve
and we are ready for service. The government used their wide-spread net
of local centers for purposes of registrations and war appeals.

Naturally there were many efforts more foolish than effective in the
universal rush to help. America was not peculiar in this, nor for the
matter of that, were women. War!--it does make the blood course through
the veins. Every generous citizen cries aloud, "What can I do?" Perhaps
men are a little more voluble than women, their emotions not finding
such immediate and approved vent along clicking needles and tangled
skeins of wool. On the whole, the initiative and organizing ability of
women has stood out supremely.

Of the two departments of the Red Cross which are still left in the
command of women, the Bureau of Nursing, with Miss Delano at its head,
mobilized immediately three thousand of the fourteen thousand nurses
enrolled. The first Red Cross Medical Unit with its full quota of
sixty-five nurses completely equipped stood on European soil before an
American soldier was there. Of the forty-nine units ready for service,
twelve, with from sixty-five to one hundred nurses each, are now in
France. Two of the five units organized for the navy, each with its
forty active nurses and twenty reserves, are established abroad, and two
hundred and thirty nurses are already in active naval service here. Miss
Delano holds constantly in reserve fifteen hundred nurses as emergency
detachments, a reservoir from which some eight hundred have been drawn
for cantonment hospitals. An inflow of nearly one thousand nurses each
month keeps the reservoir ready to meet the drain.

The Chapter work-rooms sprang up at a call in the night. No one can help
admiring their well-ordered functioning. There may be criticism,
grumbling, but the work-room is moving irresistibly, like a well-oiled
machine. And women are the motive power from start to finish. The
Chapters, with their five million members joined in three thousand units
over the United States, are so many monuments to the ability of women
for detail. Once mobilized, the women have thus far been able to serve
two thousand war hospitals with surgical dressings, and to send abroad
thirteen million separate articles packed carefully, boxed, labelled and
accounted for on their books.

Not only does this directing of manual work stand to the credit of the
Chapters, but they have given courses of lectures in home nursing and
dietetics to thirty-four thousand women, and in first aid; ten thousand
classes have been held and seventy-five thousand certificates issued to
the proficient. Certainly one object of the Red Cross, "to stimulate the
volunteer work of women," has been accomplished.

It is difficult to understand why, with such examples of women's
efficiency before it, the Red Cross, founded by Clara Barton, places
merely two bureaus in the hands of a woman, has chosen no woman as an
officer, has put but one woman on its central and executive committee,
and not a single woman on its present controlling body, the War Council.
It may be that the protest against the centralization of all volunteer
effort in the Red Cross, in spite of President Wilson's appeal, was due
to the fact that women feared that their energies, running to other
lines than nursing and surgical dressings, would be entirely

The honor of the splendid war work of the Young Women's Christian
Association belongs to women. The War Work Council of the National Board
of Young Women's Christian Associations shows an example of how
immediately efficient an established organization can be in an
emergency. As one sees its great War Fund roll up, one exclaims, "What
money raisers women are!" The immediate demands upon the fund are for
Hostess Houses at cantonments where soldiers can meet their women
visitors, dormitories providing emergency housing for women employees at
certain army centers, the strengthening of club work among the younger
girls of the nation, profoundly affected by war conditions, and the
sending of experienced organizers to coöperate with the women leaders
of France and Russia and to install nurses' huts at the base hospitals
of France. It makes one's heart beat high to think of women spending
millions splendidly, they who have always been told to save pennies
frugally! Well, those hard days were times of training; women learned
not to waste.

A very worthy pooling of brains, because springing up with no tradition
behind it, was the National League for Woman's Service. In six months it
drew to itself two hundred thousand members and built organizations in
thirty-nine States, established classes to train women for the new work
opening to them, opened recreation centers and canteens at which were
entertained on a single Sunday, at one center, eighteen hundred soldiers
and sailors. So excellent was its Bureau of Registration and Information
for women workers that the United States Department of Labor took over
not only the files and methods of the Woman's League for Service, but
the entire staff with Miss Obenauer at its head. If imitation is the
sincerest flattery, what shall we say of complete adoption of work and
workers, with an honorable "by your leave" and outspoken praise! And
nothing could show a finer spirit of service than this yielding up of
work initiated by a civil society and the willing passing of it into
government hands.

Not only the Labor Department has established a special women's division
with a woman at its head, but the Ordnance Office of the War Department
has opened in its Industrial Service Section a woman's division, putting
Miss Mary Van Kleeck in charge.

But still our government lags behind our Allies in mobilizing woman's
power of initiative and her organizing faculty. The Woman's Committee
of the Council of National Defense, appointed soon after the outbreak of
war, still has no administrative power. As one member of the Committee
says, "We are not allowed to do anything without the consent of the
Council of National Defense. There is no appropriation for the Woman's
Committee. We are furnished with headquarters, stationery, some printing
and two stenographers, but nothing more. It is essential that we raise
money to carry on the other expenses. The great trouble is that now, as
always, men want women to do the work while they do the overseeing."

[Illustration: The women of the Motor Corps of the National League for
Woman's Service refuting the traditions that women have neither strength
nor endurance.]

Perhaps holding the helm has become second nature to men simply because
they have held the helm so long, but I am inclined to think they have a
very definite desire to have women help steer the ship. Surely the
readiness with which they are sharing their political power with women,
would seem to indicate their wish for cooperation on a plan of
perfect equality.

In any case, it is not necessary to hang on the skirts of government.
America has always shown evidence of greater gift in private enterprise
than state action. Perhaps women will demonstrate the national
characteristic. It was farsightedness and enterprise that led the
Intercollegiate Bureaus of Occupations, societies run for women by
women, to strike out in this crisis and open up new callings for their
clients, and still better, to persuade colleges and schools to modify
curricula to meet the changed demands.

Women are often passed over because they are not prepared.

The Bureaus have found the demand for women in industrial chemistry and
physics, for instance, to be greater than the supply because the
graduates of women's colleges have not been carried far enough in
mathematics, and in chemistry have been kept too much to theoretical
text-book work. For example, the head of a certain industry was willing
to give the position of chemist at his works to a woman. He needed some
one to suggest changes in process from time to time, and to watch waste.
He set down eight simple problems such as might arise any day in his
factory for the candidates to answer. Some of the women, all college
graduates, who had specialized in chemistry, could not answer a single
problem, and none showed that grip of the science which would enable
them to give other than rule of thumb solutions. He engaged a man.

In answering the questionnaire which the New York Bureau of Occupations
sent to one hundred and twenty-five industrial plants, the manager in
almost every case replied, in regard to the possibility of employing
women in such positions as research or control chemists, that applicants
were "badly prepared." As hand workers, too, women are handicapped by
lack of knowledge of machinery. In this tool age, high school girls are
cut off from technical education, although they are destined to carry on
in large measure our skilled trades. I am told that in Germany many
factories had to close because only women were available as managers,
and they had not been fitted by business and technical schools for
the task.

If women individually are looking for a soft place, if they are afraid,
as one manager expressed it, "to put on overalls and go into a vat,"
even when their country is so in need of their service, it is futile for
them to ask collectively for equal opportunity and equal pay; if they
individually fail to prepare as for a life work, regarding themselves as
but temporarily in business or a profession, their collective demand
upon the world for a fair field and no favor will be as ineffective as

The doors stand wide open. It rests with women themselves as to whether
they shall enter in.

To the steady appeals of the employment bureaus, backed by the stern
facts of life, the colleges are yielding. On examination I found that
curricula are already being modified. None but the sorriest pessimist
could doubt the nature of the final outcome, on realizing the pooling of
brains which is going on in such associations as the Intercollegiate
Bureau of Occupations and the League for Business Opportunities. They
work to the end of having young women not only soundly prepared for the
new openings, but sensitive to the demands of a world set towards
stern duty.

Not only is there call for a pooling of brains to look after the timid
and unready, but there is need of combination to open the gates for the
prepared and brave. Few who cheered the Red Cross nurses as they made
their stirring march on Fifth Avenue, knew that those devoted women
would, on entering the Military Nurse Corps, find themselves the only
nurses among the Allies without a position of honor. The humiliation to
our nurses in placing them below the orderlies in the hospitals is not
only a blow to their esprit de corps, but a definite handicap to their
efficiency. A nurse who was at the head of the nursing staff in a state
hospital wrote from the front: "There is one thing the Nursing Committee
needs to work for, and work hard, too, and that is, to make for nurses
the rank of lieutenant. The Canadians have it, why not the Americans?
You will find that it will make a tremendous difference. You see, there
are no officers in our nursing personnel. One of our staff says we are
the hired extras! It is really a great mistake." Uncle Sam may merely be
waiting for a concentrated drive of public opinion against his tardy

[Illustration: Down the street they come, beginning their pilgrimage of
alleviation and succor on the battlefields of France.]

And why should it be necessary to urge that while scores of young men
are dashing to death in endeavors to learn to fly, there are women
unmobilized who know how to soar aloft in safety? They have never, it is
true, been submitted to laboratory tests in twirlings and twistings, but
they reach the zenith. Two carried off the records in long distance
flights, but both have been refused admission to the Flying Corps. Will
it need a campaign to secure for our army this efficient service? Must
women pool their brains to have Ruth Law spread her protecting wings
over our boys in France?

To any one who realizes the significance of the military situation as it
stands, and who is cognizant of the contrast between Germany's use of
her entire people in her national effort, and the slow mobilization of
woman-power among the Allies and entire lack of anything worthy the name
of mobilization of the labor-power of women in the United States, there
will come a determination to bury every jealousy between woman and
woman, all prejudice in men, to cut red tape in government, with the one
object of combining all resources.

The full power of our men must be thrown into military effort. And,
then, if as a nation we have brains to pool, we will not stand niggling,
but will throw women doctors in to render their service, grant to the
nurse corps what it needs to ensure efficiency, throw open the technical
schools to girls as well as to boys, modify the college course to meet
the facts of life. Each woman unprepared is a national handicap, each
prejudice blocking the use of woman-power is treachery to our cause.

As to the final outcome of united thought and group action among women,
no one can doubt. Contacts will rub off angles, capable service will
break down sex prejudice and overcome government opposition. But there
is not time to wait for the slow development of "final outcomes."

Women must pool their brains against their own shortcomings, and in
favor of their own ability to back up their country now and here.



It is a platitude to say that America is the most extravagant nation on
earth. The whole world tells us so, and we do not deny it, being,
indeed, a bit proud of the fact. Who is there among us who does not
respond with sympathetic understanding to the defense of the bride
reprimanded for extravagance by her mother-in-law (women have
mothers-in-law), "John and I find we can do without the necessities of
life. It's the luxuries we must have." One of the obstacles to complete
mobilization of our country is extravagance. And at the center of this
national failing sits the American woman enthroned.

Europe found it could not allow old-time luxury trades to go on, if the
war was to be won. "Business as usual" is not in harmony with victory.

I remember the first time I heard the slogan, and how it carried me and
everyone else away. The Zeppelins had visited London the night before.
A house in Red Lion Mews was crushed down into its cellar, a heap of
ruins. Every pane of glass was shattered in the hospitals surrounding
Queen's Square, and ploughed deep, making a great basin in the center of
the grass, lay the remnants of the bomb that had buried itself in the
heart of England. The shops along Theobald's Road were wrecked, but in
the heaps of broken glass in each show window were improvised signs such
as, "Don't sympathize with us, buy something." The sign which was
displayed oftenest read, "Business as usual."

The first I noticed was in the window of a print shop, the owner a
woman. I talked to her through the frame of the shattered glass. She
looked very pale and her face was cut, but she and everyone else was
calm. And no one was doing business as usual more composedly than a wee
tot trudging along to school with a nasty scratch from a glass splinter
on her chubby cheek.

"Business as usual" expressed the fine spirit, the courage, the
determination of a people. As the sporting motto of an indomitable race,
it was very splendid. But war is not a sport, it is a cold, hard
science, demanding every energy of the nation for its successful
pursuit. In proportion as our indulgence in luxury has been greater
than that of any European nation, our challenge to every business must
be the more insistent. There must be a straight answer to two questions:
Does this enterprise render direct war service, or, if not, is it
essential to the well-being of our citizens?

But the discipline will not come from the gods. Nor will our government
readily turn taskmaster. The effort must come largely as
self-discipline, growing into group determination to win the war and the
conviction that it is impossible to achieve victory and conserve the
virility of our people, if any considerable part of the community
devotes its time, energy and money to creating useless things. A nation
can make good in this cataclysm only if it centers its whole power on
the two objects in view: military victory, and husbanding of life and
resources at home.

Let me hasten to add that the act of creating a thing does not include
only the processes of industry. The act of buying is creative. The riot
of luxury trades in the United States will not end so long as the
American woman remains a steady buyer of luxuries. The mobilization of
women as workers is no more essential to the triumph of our cause, than
the mobilization of women for thrift. The beginning and end of saving
in America rests almost entirely in the hands of women. They are the
buyers in the working class and in the professional class. Among the
wealthy they set the standard of living.

Practically every appeal for thrift has been addressed to the rich. I am
not referring to the supply of channels into which to pour savings, but
to appeals to make the economies which will furnish the means to buy
stamps or bonds. Those appeals are addressed almost wholly to the
well-to-do, as for example, suggestions as to reducing courses at dinner
or cutting out "that fourth meal."

Self-denial, no doubt, is supposed to be good for the millionaire soul,
but to such it is chiefly recommended, I think, as an example sure of
imitation. What the rich do, other women will follow, is the idea. But
the steady insistence that we fight in this war for democracy has put
into the minds of the people very definite demands for independence and
for freedom.

In such a democratic world the newly adopted habits of the wealthy will
not prove widely convincing. Economy needs other than an
aristocratic stimulus.

[Illustration: How can business be "as usual" when in Paris there are
about 1800 of these small workshops where a woman dips Bengal Fire and
grenades into a bath of paraffin!]

I do not mean to under-estimate the value of economy in the well-to-do
class. There is no doubt that shop windows on Fifth Avenue are a severe
commentary upon our present intelligence and earnestness of purpose. No
one, I think, would deny that it would be a service if the woman of
fashion ceased to drape fur here, there and everywhere on her gowns
except where she might really need the thick pelt to keep her warm, and
instead saved the price of the garment which serves no purpose but that
of display, and gave the money in Liberty Bonds to buy a fur-lined coat
for some soldier, or food for a starving baby abroad. And overburdened
as the railways are with freight and ordinary passenger traffic, I am
sure the general public will not fail to appreciate to the full a
self-denial which leads patrons of private cars, Pullman and dining
coaches to abandon their self-indulgence.

Undoubtedly economy among the rich is of value. I presume few would
gainsay that it would have been well for America if the use of private
automobiles had long since ceased, and the labor and plants used in
their making turned to manufacturing much-needed trucks and ambulances.
But while not inclined to belittle the work of any possible saving and
self-sacrifice on the part of those of wealth, it seems to me that the
most fruitful field for war economy lies among simple people. Thrift
waits for democratization.

We of limited means hug some of the most extravagant of habits. The
average working-class family enjoys none of the fruits of coöperation We
keep each to our isolated family group, while the richer a person is the
more does she gather under her roof representatives of other families.
Her cook may come from the Berri family, the waitress may be an
Andersen, the nurse an O'Hara.

The poor might well practice the economy of fellowship.

The better-off live in apartment houses where the economy of central
heating is practised, while the majority of the poor occupy tenements
where the extravagance of the individual stove is indulged in. The
saving of coal is urged, but the authorities do not seek to secure for
the poor the comfort of the true method of fuel saving.

The richer a family is, the more it saves by the use of skilled service.
The poor, clinging to their prejudices and refusing to trust one
another, do not profit by coöperative buying, or by central kitchens run
by experts. Money is wasted by amateurish selection of food and
clothing, and nutritive values are squandered by poor cooking.

Unfortunately Uncle Sam does not suggest how many War Saving Stamps
could be bought as a result of economy along these lines.

The woman with the pay envelope may democratize thrift. She knows how
hard it is to earn money, and has learned to make her wages reach a long
way. Then, too, she has it brought home to her each pay day that health
is capital. She finds that it is economy to keep well, for lost time
brings a light pay envelope. Every woman who keeps herself in condition
is making a war saving. There has been no propaganda as yet appealing to
women to value dress according to durability and comfort rather than
according to its prettiness, to bow to no fashion which means the
lessening of power. To corset herself as fashion dictates, to prop
herself on high heels, means to a woman just so much lost efficiency,
and even the most thoughtless, if appealed to for national saving, might
learn to turn by preference in dress, in habits, in recreation, to the
simple things.

The Japanese, I am told, make a ceremony of going out from the city to
enjoy the beauties of a moonlight night. We go to a stuffy theatre and
applaud a night "set." Nature gives her children the one, and the
producer charges his patrons for the other. A propaganda of democratic
war economy would teach us to delight in the beauties of nature.

In making the change from business as usual to economy, Europe suffered
hardship, because although the retrenchments suggested were fairly
democratic it had not created channels into which savings might be
thrown with certainty of their flowing on to safe expenditures. Europe
was not ready with its great thrift schemes, nor had the adjustments
been made which would enable a shop to turn out a needed uniform, let us
say, in place of a useless dress.

Definite use of savings has been provided for in the United States. The
government needs goods of every kind to make our military effort
successful. Camps must be built for training the soldiers, uniforms,
guns and ammunition supplied. Transportation on land and sea is called
for. The government needs money to carry on the industries essential to
winning the war.

If a plucky girl who works in a button factory refuses to buy an
ornament which she at first thought of getting to decorate her belt, and
puts that twenty-five cents into a War Saving Stamp, all in the spirit
of backing up her man at the front, she will not find herself thrown
out of employment; instead, while demands for unnecessary ornamental
fastenings will gradually cease, she will be kept busy on
government orders.

Profiting by the errors of those nations who had to blaze out new paths,
the United States knit into law, a few months after the declaration of
war, not only the quick drafting of its man-power for military service,
but methods of absorbing the people's savings. If we neither waste nor
hoard, we will not suffer as did Europe from wide-spread unemployment.
There is more work to be done than our available labor-power can meet.

There is nothing to fear from the curtailment of luxury; our danger lies
in lack of a sound definition of extravagance. Uncle Sam could get more
by appeals to simple folk than by homilies preached to the rich. The
Great War is a conflict between the ideals of the peoples. 'Tis a
people's war, and with women as half the people. The savings made to
support the war must needs, then, be made by the people, for the people.

There has been no compelling propaganda to that end. The suggestion of
mere "cutting down" may be a valuable goal to set for the well-to-do,
but it is not a mark to be hit by those already down to bed rock. The
only saving possible to those living on narrow margins is by
coöperation, civil or state.

It is a mad extravagance, for instance, to kill with autos children at
play in the streets. A saving of life could easily be achieved through
group action, by securing children's attendants, by opening play-grounds
on the roofs of churches and public buildings, by shutting off streets
dedicated to the sacred right of children to play. This would be a war
saving touching the heart and the enthusiasm of the people.

Central municipal heating is not a wild dream, but a recognized economy
in many places. Municipal kitchens are not vague surmisings, but facts
achieved in the towns of Europe. They are forms of war thrift. In
America no such converting examples of economy are as yet given, and not
an appeal has been made to women to save through solidarity.

Uncle Sam has been commendably quick and wise in offering a reservoir to
hold the tiny savings, but slow in starting a democratic propaganda
suggesting ways of saving the pennies.

If business as usual is a poor motto, so is life as usual, habits as



Man's admiration for things as mother used to do them is as great an
obstacle as business as usual in the path of winning the war and
husbanding the race. The glamour surrounding the economic feats of
mother in the past hides the shortcomings of today.

I once saw one of her old fortresses, a manor home where in bygone days
she had reigned supreme. In the court yard was the smoke house where she
cured meat and fish. In the cellar were the caldrons and vats where long
ago she tried tallow and brewed beer. And there were all the utensils
for dealing with flax. In the garret I saw the spindles for spinning
cotton and wool, and the hand looms for weaving the homespun. In her
day, mother was a great creator of wealth.

But then an economic earthquake came. Foundations were shaken, the roof
was torn off her domestic workshop. Steam and machinery, like cyclones,
carried away her industries, and nothing was left to her but odds and
ends of occupations.

Toiling in the family circle from the days of the cave dwellers, mother
had become so intimately associated in the tribal mind with the
hearthstone that the home was called her sphere. Around this segregation
accumulated accretions of opinion, layer on layer emanating from the
mind of her mate. Let us call the accretions the Adamistic Theory. Its
authors happened to be the government and could use the public treasury
in furtherance of publicity for their ideas set forth in hieroglyphics
cut in stone, or written in plain English and printed on the front page
of an American daily.

One of the few occupations left to mother after the disruption of her
sphere at the end of the eighteenth century was the preparation of food.
In the minds of men, food, from its seed sowing up to its mastication,
has always been associated with woman. Mention food and the average man
thinks of mother. That is the Adam in him. And so, quite naturally, one
must first consider this relation of women to food in the
Adamistic Theory.

[Illustration: Countess de Berkaim and her canteen in the Gare de St.
Lazarre, Paris.]

When the world under war conditions asked to be fed, Adam, running true
to his theory, pointed to mother as the source of supply, and declared
with an emphasis that came of implicit faith, that the universe need
want for nothing, if each woman would eliminate waste in her kitchen and
become a voluntary and obedient reflector of the decisions of state and
national food authorities. This solution presupposed a highly developed
sense of community devotion in women running hand in hand with entire
lack of gift for community action. Woman, it was expected, would display
more than her proverbial lack of logic by embracing with enthusiasm
state direction and at the same time remain an exemplar of
individualistic performance. The Adamistic scheme seems still further to
demand for its smooth working that the feminine group show
self-abnegation and agree that it is not itself suited to reason out
general plans.

It is within the range of possibility, however, that no comprehensive
scheme of food conservation or effective saving in any line can be
imposed on women without consulting them. The negro who agreed "dat de
colored folk should keep in dar places," touched a fundamental note in
human nature, over-running sex as well as racial boundaries, when he
added, "and de colored folk must do de placin'." It might seem to run
counter to this bit of wisdom for women to be told that the welfare of
the world depends upon them, and then for no woman to be given
administrative power to mobilize the group.

But the contest between man's devotion to the habits of his ancestry in
the female line, and the ideas of his very living women folk, is as
trying to him as it is interesting to the outside observer. The
conflicting forces illustrate a universal fact. It is always true that
the ruling class, when a discipline and a sacrifice are recognized as
necessary, endeavors to make it appear that the new obligation should be
shouldered by the less powerful. For instance, to take an illustration
quite outside the domestic circle, when America first became convinced
that military preparation was incumbent upon us, the ruling class would
scarcely discuss conscription, much less adopt universal service. That
is, it vetoed self-discipline. In many States, laws were passed putting
off upon children in the schools the training which the voting adults
knew the nation needed.

In the same way, when food falls short and the victualing of the world
becomes a pressing duty, the governing class adopts a thesis that a
politically less-favored group can, by saving in small and painful ways,
accumulate the extra food necessary to keep the world from starving.
The ruling class seeks cover in primitive ideas, accuses Eve of
introducing sin into the world, and calls upon her to mend her
wasteful ways.

Men, of course, know intellectually that much food is a factory product
in these days, but emotionally they have a picture of mother, still
supplying the family in a complete, secret, and silent manner.

This Adamistic emotion takes command at the crisis, for when human
beings are suddenly faced with a new and agitating situation, primitive
ideas seize them. Mother, it is true, did create the goods for immediate
consumption, and so the sons of Adam, in a spirit of admiration, doffing
their helmets, so to speak, to the primitive woman, turn in this time of
stress and call confidently upon Eve's daughters to create and save. The
confidence is touching, but perhaps the feminine reaction will not be,
and perchance ought not to be just such as Adam expects.

Women have passed in aspiration, and to some extent in action, out of
the ultra-individualistic stage of civilization.

The food propaganda reflects the hiatus in Adam's thought. I have looked
over hundreds of publications issued by the agricultural departments
and colleges of the various States. They tell housewives what to "put
into the garbage pail," what to "keep out of the garbage pail," what to
substitute for wheat, how to make soap, but, with a single exception,
not a word issued suggests to women any saving through group action.

This exception, which stood out as a beacon light in an ocean of
literature worthy of the Stone Age, was a small pamphlet issued by the
Michigan Agricultural College on luncheons in rural schools. Sound
doctrine was preached on the need of the children for substantial and
warm noon meals, and the comparative ease and economy with which such
luncheons could be provided at the school house. Children can of course
be better and more cheaply fed as a group than as isolated units
supplied with a cold home-prepared lunch box. And yet with the whole
machinery of the state in his hands, Adam's commissions, backed by the
people's money, goad mother on to isolated endeavor. She plants and
weeds and harvests. She dries and cans, preserves and pickles. Then she
calculates and perchance finds that her finished product is not always
of the best and has often cost more than if purchased in the
open market.

It may be the truest devotion to our Allies to challenge the
individualistic rôle recommended by Adam to mother, for it will hinder,
not help, the feeding of the world to put women back under eighteenth
century conditions. Food is short and expensive because labor is short.
And even when the harvest is ripe, the saving of food cannot be set as a
separate and commendable goal, and the choice as to where labor shall be
expended as negligible. It is a prejudiced devotion to mother and her
ways which leads Adam in his food pamphlets to advise that a woman shall
sit in her chimney corner and spend time peeling a peach "very thin,"
when hundreds of bushels of peaches rot in the orchards for lack of
hands to pick them.

Just how wide Adam's Eve has opened the gate of Eden and looked out into
the big world is not entirely clear, but probably wide enough to glimpse
the fact that all the advice Adam has recently given to her runs counter
to man's method of achievement. Men have preached to one another for a
hundred years and more and practiced so successfully the concentration
in industry of unlimited machinery with a few hands, that even mother
knows some of the truths in regard to the creation of wealth in the
business world, and she is probably not incapable of drawing a
conclusion from her own experience in the transfer of work from the
home to the factory.

If they are city dwellers, women have seen bread and preserves
transferred; if farm dwellers, they have seen the curing of meat and
fish transferred, the making of butter and cheese. They know that
because of this transfer the home is cleaner and quieter, more people
better fed and clothed, and the hours of the factory worker made shorter
than those "mother used to work." With half an eye women cannot fail to
note that the labor which used to be occupied in the home in
interminable hours of spinning, baking and preserving, has come to
occupy itself for regulated periods in the school, in business, in
factory or cannery. And lo, Eve finds herself with a pay envelope able
to help support the quieter, cleaner home!

All this is a commonplace to the business man, who knows that the
evolution has gone so far that ten percent of the married women of
America are in gainful pursuits, and that capital ventured on apartment
hotels brings a tempting return.

But the Adamistic theory is based on the dream that women are
contentedly and efficiently conducting in their flats many occupations,
and longing to receive back into the life around the gas-log all those
industries which in years gone by were drawn from the fireside and
established as money making projects in mill or work-shop. And so Adam
addresses an exhortation to his Eve: "Don't buy bread, bake it; don't
buy flour, grind your own; don't buy soap, make it; don't buy canned,
preserved, or dried food, carry on the processes yourself; don't buy
fruits and vegetables, raise them."

Not a doubt seems to exist in Adam's mind as to the efficiency of
functioning woman-power in this way. According to the Adamistic theory,
work as mother used to do it is unqualifiedly perfect. This flattering
faith is naturally balm to women's hearts, and yet there are skeptics
among them. When quite by themselves women speculate as to how much of
the fruit and vegetables now put up in the home will "work."

They smile when the hope is expressed that the quality will rise above
the old-time domestic standard. The home of the past was a beehive in
which women drudged, and little children were weary toilers, and the
result was not of a high grade. Statistics have shown that seventy-five
percent of the home-made bread of America was a poor product. I lived as
a child in the days of home-made bread. Once in so often the batch of
bread "went sour," and there seemed to be an unfailing supply of stale
bread which "must be eaten first." Those who cry out against a city of
bakers' bread, have never lived in a country of the home-made loaf. It
is the Adamistic philosophy, so complimentary to Eve, that leads us to
expect that all housewives can turn out a product as good as that of an
expert who has specialized to the one end of making bread, and who is
supplied with expensive equipment beyond the reach of the individual to
possess. But there are rebellious consumers who point out that the baker
is under the law, while the housewife is a law unto herself. Against the
baker's shortcomings such brave doubters assure us we have redress, we
can refuse to patronize him; against the housewife there is no appeal,
her family must swallow her product to the detriment of digestion.

It may be the brutal truth, taking bread as the index, that only a
quarter of the processes carried on in the home turn out satisfactorily,
while of the other three-quarters, a just verdict may show that mother
gets a "little too much lye" in the soap, cooks the preserves a "little
too hard," "candies the fruit just a little bit," and grinds the flour
in the mill "not quite fine enough."

But perhaps even more than the quality of the product does the question
of the economical disposition of labor-power agitate some women. They
are asking, since labor is very scarce, whether the extreme
individualistic direction of their labor-power is permissible. The vast
majority of American homes are without servants. In those homes are the
women working such short hours that they can, without dropping important
obligations, take over preserving, canning, dehydrating, the making of
bread, soap, and butter substitute? Has the tenement-house dweller
accommodation suitable for introducing these industrial processes into
her home? Would the woman in the small ménage in the country be wise in
cutting down time given, for instance, to the care of her baby and to
reading to the older children, and using the precious moments
laboriously to grind wheat to flour? My observation convinces me that
conscientious housewives in servantless or one-servant households, with
work adjusted to a given end, with relative values already determined
upon, are not prepared by acceptance of the Adamistic theory to return
to primitive occupations.

But even if business and home life could respond to the change without
strain, even if both could easily turn back on the road they have come
during the last hundred years, commerce yielding up and the home
re-adopting certain occupations, we should carefully weigh the economic
value of a reversion to primitive methods.

The Adamistic attitude is influenced, perhaps unconsciously but no less
certainly, by the fact that the housewife is an unpaid worker. If an
unpaid person volunteers to do a thing, it is readily assumed that the
particular effort is worth while. "We get the labor for nothing" puts to
rout all thought of valuation. No doubt Adam will have to give over
thinking in this loose way. Labor-power, whether it is paid for or not,
must be used wisely or we shall not be able to maintain the structure of
our civilization.

Then, too, the Adamistic theory weighs and values the housewife's time
as little as it questions the quality of the home product. Any careful
reader of the various "Hints to Housewives" which have appeared, will
note that the "simplifying of meals" recommended would require nearly
double the time to prepare. The simplification takes into consideration
only the question of food substitutions, price and waste. Mother is
supposed to be wholly or largely unemployed and longing for unpaid
toil. Should any housewife conscientiously follow the advice given her
by state and municipal authorities she would be the drudge at the center
of a home quite medieval in development.

Let us take a concrete example:--In a recently published and widely
applauded cookbook put out by a whole committee of Adamistic
philosophers, it is stated that the object of the book is to give
practical hints as to the various ways in which "economies can be
effected and waste saved;" and yet no saving of the woman's time, nerves
and muscles is referred to from cover to cover. The housewife is told,
for instance, to "insist upon getting the meat trimmings." The fat "can
be rendered." And then follows the process in soap-making. Mother is to
place the scraps of fat on the back of the stove. If she "watches it
carefully" and does not allow it to get hot enough to smoke there will
be no odor. No doubt if she removes her watchful eye and turns to bathe
her baby, her tenement will reek with smoking fat. She is to pursue this
trying of fat and nerves day by day until she has six pounds of grease.
Next, she is to "stir it well," cool it, melt it again; she is then to
pour in the lye, "slowly stirring all the time." Add ammonia. Then
"stir the mixture constantly for twenty minutes or half an hour."

In contrast to all this primeval elaboration is the simple, common-sense
rule: Do not buy the trimmings, make the butcher trim meat before
weighing, insist that soap-making shall not be brought back to defile
the home, but remain where it belongs, a trade in which the workers can
be protected by law, and its malodorousness brought under regulation.

In the same spirit the Adamistic suggestion to Eve to save coal by a
"heatless day" is met by the cold challenge of the riotous extravagance
of cooking in twelve separate tenements, twelve separate potatoes, on
twelve separate fires.

The Adamistic theory, through its emphasis on the relation of food to
Eve, and the almost religious necessity of its manipulation at the altar
of the home cook-stove, has drawn thought away from the nutritive side
of what we eat. While the child in the streets is tossing about such
words as calories and carbohydrates with a glibness that comes of much
hearing, physiology and food values are destined to remain as far away
as ever from the average family breakfast table. Segregating a sex in
the home, it is true, centralizes it in a given place, but it does not
necessarily train the individual to function efficiently. Mother, as she
"used to do," cooks by rule of thumb; in fact, how could she do
otherwise, since she must keep one eye on her approving Adam while the
other eye glances at the oven. The Adamistic theory requires
individualistic action, and disapproves specialization in Eve.

The theory also demands economic dependence in the home builder.
Mother's labor is not her own, she lives under the truck system, so to
speak. She is paid in kind for her work. Influenced by the Adamistic
theory, the human animal is the only species in which sex and economic
relations are closely linked, the only one in which the female depends
upon the male for sustenance. Mother must give personal service to those
about her, and in return the law ensures her keep according to the
station of her husband, that is, not according to her ability or
usefulness, but according to the man's earning capacity.

The close association of mother with home in the philosophy of her mate,
has circumscribed her most natural and modest attempts at relaxation.
Mother's holiday is a thing to draw tears from those who contemplate it.
The summer outing means carrying the family from one spot to another,
and making the best of new surroundings for the old group. The "day off"
means a concentration of the usual toil into a few hours, followed by a
hazy passing show that she is too weary to enjoy. The kindly farmer
takes his wife this year to the county fair. She's up at four to "get
on" with the work. She serves breakfast, gives the children an extra
polish in honor of the day, puts on the clean frocks and suits with an
admonition "not to get all mussed up" before the start. The farmer
cheerily counsels haste in order that "we may have a good long day of
it." He does not say what "it" is, but the wife knows. At last the house
is ready to be left, and the wife and her brood are ready to settle down
in the farm wagon.

The fair grounds are reached. Adam has prepared the setting. It has no
relation to mother's needs. It was a most thrilling innovation when in
the summer of 1914 the Women's Political Union first set up big tents at
county fairs, fitted with comfortable chairs for mother, and cots and
toys, nurses and companions for the children. The farmer's wife for the
first time was relieved of care, and could go off to see the sights with
her mind at rest, if she desired anything more active than rocking
lazily with the delicious sensation of having nothing to do.

Women must not blame Adam for lack of thoughtfulness. He cannot put
himself in mother's place. She must do her own thinking or let women who
are capable of thought do it for her.

Men are relieved when mother is independent and happy. The farmer
approved the crèche tent at the county fairs. It convinced him that
women have ideas to contribute to the well-being of the community. The
venture proved the greatest of vote getters for the suffrage referendum.

In fact, men themselves are the chief opponents of the Adamistic theory
to-day. The majority want women to organize the home and it is only a
small minority who place obstacles in the way of the wider functioning
of women. It is Eve herself who likes to exaggerate the necessity of her
personal service. I have seen many a primitive housewife grow hot at the
suggestion that her methods need modifying. It seemed like severing the
silken cords by which she held her mate, to challenge her pumpkin pie.

But women are slowly overcoming Eve. Take the item of the care of
children in city parks. The old way is for fifty women to look after
fifty separate children, and thus waste the time of some thirty of them
in keeping fifty miserable children in segregation. The new way, now
successfully initiated, is to form play groups of happy children under
the leadership of capable young women trained for such work.

Salvaging New York City's food waste was a very splendid bit of
coöperative action on the part of women. Mrs. William H. Lough of the
Women's University Club found on investigation that thousands of tons of
good food are lost by a condemnation, necessarily rough and ready, by
the Board of Health. She secured permission to have the sound and
unsound fruits and vegetables separated and with a large committee of
women saved the food for consumption by the community by dehydrating and
other preserving processes.

This was not as mother used to do.

Mother's ways are being investigated and discarded the whole world
round. At last accounts half the population of Hamburg was being fed
through municipal kitchens and in Great Britain an order has been issued
by Lord Rhondda, the Food Controller, authorizing local authorities to
open kitchens as food distributing centers. The central government is to
bear twenty-five percent of the cost of equipment and lend another
twenty-five percent to start the enterprise.

Mother's cook stove cannot bear the strain of war economies.

Dropping their old segregation, women are going forth in fellowship with
men to meet in new ways the pressing problems of a new world.



Great Britain, France and Germany have mobilized a land army of women;
will the United States do less? Not if the farmer can be brought to have
as much faith in American women as the women have in themselves. And why
should they not have faith; the farm has already tested them out, and
they have not been found wanting. In face of this fine accomplishment
the minds of some men still entertain doubt, or worse, obliviousness, to
the possible contribution of women to land service.

The farmer knows his need and has made clear statement of the national
dilemma in the form of a memorial to the President of the United States.
In part, it is as follows:

"If food is to win the war, as we are assured on every side, the farmers
of America must produce more food in 1918 than they did in 1917. Under
existing conditions we cannot equal the production of 1917, much less
surpass it, and this for reasons over which the farmers have no control.

"The chief causes which will inevitably bring about a smaller crop next
year, unless promptly removed by national action, are six in number, of
which the first is the shortage of farm labor.

"Since the war began in 1914 and before the first draft was made there
is reason to believe that more farm workers had left farms than there
are men in our army and navy together. Those men were drawn away by the
high wages paid in munition plants and other war industries, and their
places remain unfilled. In spite of the new classification, future
drafts will still further reduce the farm labor supply."

With a million and a half men drawn out of the country and ten billion
dollars to be expended on war material, making every ammunition factory
a labor magnet, it seems like the smooth deceptions of prestidigitation
to answer the cry of the farmer with suggestion that men rejected by the
draft or high school boys be paroled to meet the exigency. The farm
can't be run with decrepit men or larking boys, nor the war won with
less than its full quota of soldiers. Legislators, government officials
and farm associations by sudden shifting of labor battalions cannot
camouflage the fact that the front line trenches of the fighting army
and labor force are undermanned.

Women can and will be the substitutes if the experiments already made
are signs of the times.

Groups of women from colleges and seasonal trades have ploughed and
harrowed, sowed and planted, weeded and cultivated, mowed and harvested,
milked and churned, at Vassar, Bryn Mawr and Mount Holyoke, at Newburg
and Milton, at Bedford Hills and Mahwah. It has been demonstrated that
our girls from college and city trade can do farm work, and do it with a
will. And still better, at the end of the season their health wins high
approval from the doctors and their work golden opinions from
the farmers.

Twelve crusaders were chosen from the thirty-three students who
volunteered for dangerous service during a summer vacation on the Vassar
College farm. The twelve ventured out on a new enterprise that meant
aching muscles, sunburn and blisters, but not one of the twelve "ever
lost a day" in their eight hours at hard labor, beginning at four-thirty
each morning for eight weeks during one of our hottest summers. They
ploughed with horses, they ploughed with tractors, they sowed the seed,
they thinned and weeded the plants, they reaped, they raked, they
pitched the hay, they did fencing and milking. The Vassar farm had
bumper crops on its seven hundred and forty acres, and its
superintendent, Mr. Louis P. Gillespie, said, "A very great amount of
the work necessary for the large production was done by our students.
They hoed and cultivated sixteen acres of field corn, ten acres of
ensilage corn, five acres of beans, five acres of potatoes; carried
sheaves of rye and wheat to the shocks and shocked them; and two of the
students milked seven cows at each milking time. In the garden they laid
out a strawberry bed of two thousand plants, helped to plant corn and
beans, picked beans and other vegetables. They took great interest in
the work and did the work just as well as the average man and made good
far beyond the most sanguine expectations."

At first the students were paid twenty-five cents an hour, the same rate
as the male farm hands. The men objected, saying that the young women
were beginners, but by the end of the summer the critics realized that
"brains tell" and said the girls were worth the higher wage, though they
had only been getting, in order to appease the masculine prejudice,
seventeen and a half cents an hour. There is no pleasing some people! If
women are paid less, they are unfair competitors, if they are paid
equally they are being petted--in short, fair competitors.

Mt. Holyoke and Bryn Mawr have made experiments, and, like Vassar,
demonstrated not only that women can, and that satisfactorily, work on
the land, but that they will, and that cheerfully. The groups were happy
and they comprehended that they were doing transcendently important
work, were rendering a patriotic service by filling up the places left
vacant by the drafted men.

The Women's Agricultural Camp, known popularly as the "Bedford Unit,"
proved an experiment rich in practical suggestion. Barnard students,
graduates of the Manhattan Trade School, and girls from seasonal trades
formed the backbone of the group. They were housed in an old farmhouse,
chaperoned by one of the Barnard professors, fed by student dietitians
from the Household Arts Department of Teachers College, transported from
farm to farm by seven chauffeurs, and coached in the arts of Ceres by an
agricultural expert. The "day laborers" as well as the experts were
all women.

[Illustration: An agricultural unit, in the uniform approved by the Woman's
Land Army of America.]

In founding the camp Mrs. Charles W. Short, Jr., had three definite
ideas in mind. First, she was convinced that young women could without
ill-effect on their health, and should as a patriotic service, do all
sorts of agricultural work. Second, that in the present crisis the
opening up of new land with women as farm managers is not called for,
but rather the supply of the labor-power on farms already under
cultivation is the need. Third, that the women laborers must, in groups,
have comfortable living conditions without being a burden on the
farmer's wife, must have adequate pay, and must have regulated hours
of work.

With these sound ideas as its foundation the camp opened at Mt. Kisco,
backed by the Committee on Agriculture of the Mayor's Committee of Women
on National Defense of New York City, under the chairmanship of Virginia
Gildersleeve, Dean of Barnard College.

At its greatest enrolment the unit had seventy-three members. When the
prejudice of the fanners was overcome, the demand for workers was
greater than the camp could supply. Practically the same processes were
carried through as at Vassar, and the verdict of the farmer on his new
helpers was that "while less strong than men, they more than made up for
this by superior conscientiousness and quickness." Proof of the
genuineness of his estimate was shown in his willingness to pay the
management of the camp the regulation two dollars for an eight hour
working day. And it indicated entire satisfaction with the experiment,
rather than abstract faith in woman, that each farmer anxiously urged
the captain of the group at the end of his first trial to "please bring
the same young ladies tomorrow." He was sure no others so good existed.

The unit plan seems a heaven-born solution of many of the knotty
problems of the farm. In the first place, the farmer gets cheerful and
handy helpers, and his over-worked wife does not find her domestic cares
added to in the hot summer season. The new hands house and feed
themselves. From the point of view of the worker, the advantage is that
her food at the camp is prepared by trained hands and the proverbial
farm isolation gives way to congenial companionship.

These separate experiments growing out of the need of food production
and the shortage of labor have brought new blood to the farm, have
turned the college girl on vacation and, what is more important, being a
solution of an industrial problem, the unemployed in seasonal trades,
into recruits for an agricultural army. And by concentrating workers in
well-run camps there has been attracted to the land a higher order
of helper.

One obstacle in the way of the immediate success of putting such women
on the land is a wholly mistaken idea in the minds of many persons of
influence in agricultural matters that the new labor can be diverted to
domestic work in the farm house. This view is urged in the following
letter to me from the head of one of our best agricultural colleges:
"The farm labor shortage is much more acute than is generally understood
and I have much confidence in the possibility of a great amount of
useful work in food production being done by women who are physically
strong enough and who can secure sufficient preliminary training to do
this with some degree of efficiency. Probably the larger measure of
service could be done by relieving women now on the farms of this State
from the double burden of indoor work and the attempt to assist in farm
operations and chores. If farm women would get satisfactory domestic
assistance within the house they could add much to the success of field
husbandry. Women who know farm conditions and who could largely take the
place of men in the management of outdoor affairs can accomplish much
more than will ever be possible by drafting city-bred women directly
into garden or other forms of field work."

The opinions expressed in this letter are as generally held as they are
mistaken. In the first place, the theory that the country-bred woman in
America is stronger and healthier than the city-bred has long since been
exploded. The assumption cannot stand up under the facts. Statistics
show that the death rate in the United States is lower in city than in
farm communities, and if any added proof were needed to indicate that
the stamina of city populations overbalances the country it was
furnished by the draft records. Any group of college and Manhattan Trade
School girls could be pitted against a group of women from the farms and
win the laurels in staying powers. Nor must it be overlooked that we are
not dealing here with uncertainties; the mettle of the girls has
been proved.

In any case the fact must be faced that these agricultural units will
not do domestic work. Nine-tenths of the farm houses in America are
without modern conveniences. The well-appointed barn may have running
water, but the house has not. To undertake work as a domestic helper on
the average farm is to step back into quite primitive conditions. The
farmer's wife can attract no one from city life, where so much
cooperation is enjoyed, to her extreme individualistic surroundings.

A second obstacle to the employment of this new labor-force is due to
the government's failure to see the possibility of saving most valuable
labor-power and achieving an economic gain by dovetailing the idle
months of young women in industrial life into the rush time of

One department suggests excusing farm labor from the draft, as if we had
already fulfilled our obligation in man-power to the battlefront of our
Allies. The United States Senate discusses bringing in coolie and
contract labor, as if we had not demonstrated our unfitness to deal with
less advanced peoples, and as if a republic could live comfortably with
a class of disfranchised workers. The Labor Department declares it will
mobilize for the farm an army of a million boys, as if the wise saw,
"boys will be boys," did not apply with peculiar sharpness of flavor to
the American vintage, God bless them, and as if it were not our plain
duty at this world crisis to spur up rather than check civilizing
agencies and keep our boys in school for the full term.

Refusing to be in the least crushed by government neglect, far-seeing
women determined to organize widely and carefully their solution of the
farm-labor problem. To this end the Women's National Farm and Garden
Association, the Garden Clubs of America, the Young Women's Christian
Association, the Woman's Suffrage Party, the New York Women's University
Club, and the Committee of the Women's Agricultural Camp, met with
representatives of the Grange, of the Cornell Agricultural College, and
of the Farmingdale State School of Agriculture, and formed an advisory
council, the object of which is to "stimulate the formation of a Land
Army of Women to take the places on the farms of the men who are being
drafted for active service." This is to be on a nationwide scale.

The Council has put lecturers in the Granges to bring to the farmer by
the spoken word and lantern slides the value of the labor of women, and
is appealing to colleges, seasonal trades and village communities to
form units for the Land Army. It is asking the coöperation of the labor
bureaus to act as media through which units may be placed where labor is
most needed.

This mobilization of woman-power is not yet large or striking. The
effort is entirely civil. But all the more is it praiseworthy. It shows
on the part of women, clear-eyed recognition of facts as they exist and
vision as to the future.

The mobilization of this fresh labor-power should of course be taken in
hand by the government. Not only that, it should be led by women as in
Great Britain and Germany. But the spirit in America today is the same
as in England the first year of the war,--a disposition to exclude women
from full service.

But facts remain facts in spite of prejudice, and the Woman's Land Army,
with faith and enthusiasm in lieu of a national treasury, are
endeavoring to bring woman-power and the untilled fields together. The
proved achievement of the individual worker will win the employer, the
unit plan with its solution of housing conditions and dreary isolation
will overcome not only the opposition of the farmer's wife, but that of
the intelligent worker. When the seed time of the movement has been
lived through by anxious and inspired women, the government may step in
to reap the harvest of a nation's gratitude.

The mobilization of woman-power on the farm is the need of the hour, and
the wise and devoted women who are trying to answer the need, deserve an
all-hail from the people of the United States and her Allies.



Men have played--all honor to them--the major part in the actual
conflict of the war. Women will mobilize for the major part of binding
up the wounds and conserving civilization.

The spirit of the world might almost be supposed to have been looking
forward to this day and clearly seeing its needs, so well are women
being prepared to receive and carry steadily the burden which will be
laid on their shoulders. For three-quarters of a century schools and
colleges have given to women what they had to confer in the way of
discipline. Gainful pursuits were opened up to them, adding training in
ordered occupation and self-support. Lastly has come the Great War, with
its drill in sacrifice and economy, its larger opportunities to function
and achieve, its ideals of democracy which have directly and quickly led
to the political enfranchisement of women in countries widely separated.

Fate has prepared women to share fully in the saving of civilization.

Whether victory be ours in the immediate future, or whether the dangers
rising so clearly on the horizon develop into fresh alignments leading
to years of war, civilization stands in jeopardy. Political ideals and
ultimate social aims may remain intact, but the immediate, practical
maintenance of those standards of life which are necessary to ensure
strong and fruitful reactions are in danger of being swept away.

We have been destroying the life, the wealth and beauty of the world.
The nobility of our aim in the war must not blind us to the awfulness
and the magnitude of the destruction. In the fighting forces there are
at least thirty-eight million men involved in international or civil
conflict. Over four million men have fallen, and three million have been
maimed for life. Disease has taken its toll of fighting strength and
economic power. In addition to all this human depletion, we have the
loss of life and the destruction of health and initiative in harried
peoples madly flying across their borders from invading armies.

Starvation has swept across wide areas, and steady underfeeding rules in
every country in Europe and in the cities of America, letting loose
malnutrition, that hidden enemy whose ambushes are more serious than the
attacks of an open foe. The world is sick.

And the world is poor. The nations have spent over a hundred billions on
the war, and that is but part of the wealth which has gone down in the
catastrophe. Thousands of square miles are plowed so deep with shot and
shell and trench that the fertile soil lies buried beneath unyielding
clay. Orchards and forests are gone. Villages are wiped out, cities are
but skeletons of themselves. In the face of all the need of
reconstruction we must admit, however much we would wish to cover the
fact,--the world is poor.

[Illustration: A useful blending of Allied women. Miss Kathleen Burke
(Scotch) exhibiting the X-ray ambulance equipped by Mrs. Ayrlon
(English) and Madame Curie (French).]

And still, as in no other war, the will to guard human welfare has
remained dominant. The country rose to a woman in most spirited fashion
to combat the plan to lower the standards of labor conditions in the
supposed interest of war needs. With but few exceptions the States have
strengthened their labor laws. In its summary the American Association
for Labor Legislation says:

"Eleven States strengthened their child labor laws, by raising age
limits, extending restrictions to new employments, or shortening hours.
Texas passed a new general statute setting a fifteen-year minimum age
for factories and Vermont provided for regulations in conformity with
those of the Federal Child Labor Act. Kansas and New Hampshire
legislated on factory safeguards, Texas on fire escapes, New Jersey on
scaffolds, Montana on electrical apparatus, Delaware on sanitary
equipment, and West Virginia on mines. New Jersey forbade the
manufacture of articles of food or children's wear in tenements.

"Workmen's compensation laws were enacted in Delaware, Idaho, New
Mexico, South Dakota, and Utah, making forty States and Territories
which now have such laws, in addition to the Federal Government's
compensation law, for its own half-million civilian employees. In more
than twenty additional States existing acts were amended, the changes
being marked by a tendency to extend the scope, shorten the working
period, and increase provision for medical care."

The Great War, far from checking the movement for social welfare, has
quickened the public sense of responsibility. That fact opens the widest
field to women for work in which they are best prepared by nature
and training.

Many keen thinkers are concerned over the question of population. One of
our most distinguished professors has thrown out a hint of a possibility
that considering the greater proportion of women to men some form of
plurality of wives may become necessary. The disturbed balance of the
sexes is a thing that will right itself in one generation. Need of
population will be best answered by efforts to salvage the race. The
United States loses each year five hundred thousand babies under twelve
months of age from preventable causes. An effort to save them would seem
more reasonable than a demand for more children to neglect. Life will be
so full of drive and interest, that the woman who has given no hostages
to fortune will find ample scope for her powers outside of motherhood.
The "old maid" of tomorrow will have a mission more honored and
important than was hers in the past.

But whatever the conclusions as to the wisest method of building up
population, there is no doubt that government and individuals will make
strict valuation of the essentials and non-essentials in national life.
In our poverty we will test all things in the light of their benefit to
the race and hold fast that which is good.

The opinions of women will weigh in this national accounting. There will
be no money to squander, and women to a unit will stand behind those men
who think a recreation field is of more value than a race track. It will
be the woman's view, there being but one choice, that it is better to
encourage fleetness and skill in boys and girls than in horses. If we
have just so much money to spend and the question arises as to whether
there shall be corner saloons or municipal kitchens, public sentiment,
made in good measure by women, will eschew the saloon.

The things that lend themselves to the husbanding of the race will draw
as a magnet those who have borne the race. The tired world will need for
its rejuvenation a broadened and deepened medical science. Women are too
wise to permit sanitation and research to fall to a low level. On the
contrary, they will wish them to be more thorough. There will be economy
along the less essential lines to meet the cost.

The flagging spirit needs the inspiration of art and music. To secure
them in the future, state and municipal effort will be demanded. Women
are born economizers. They have been trained to pinch each penny. With
their advent into political life, roads and public buildings will cost
less. Through careful saving, funds will be made available for the
things of the spirit.

One of the men conductors on the New York street railways somewhat
reproachfully remarked to me, "No one ever came to look at the
recreation room and restaurant at the car barns until women were taken
on. Men don't seem to count." Is the reproach deserved? Have women been
narrow in sympathy? Perhaps we have assumed that men can look out for
themselves. They could, but in private life they never do. Women have to
do the mothering. A trade-unionist is ready enough to regulate wages and
hours, but he gives not a thought to surroundings in factory
and workshop.

An act of protection generally starts with solicitude about a woman or
child. Factory legislation took root in their needs. There was no mercy
for the man worker. His only chance of getting better conditions was
when women entered his occupation, and the regulation meant for her
benefit indirectly served his interest.

"Men suffer more than women in certain dangerous trades, but I did not
suppose you were generous enough to care anything about them," came in
answer to an inquiry at a labor conference at the end of a most
admirable paper on women in dangerous trades, given by one of the
doctors in the New York City Department of Health. He was speaking to an
audience of working women. I doubt if his hearers had given a thought to
men workers.

Perhaps this is natural, since there has been going on at the same time
with the development of factory legislation in America a strong
propaganda directed especially at political freedom for women. We have
been laying stress on the wrongs of woman and demanding very
persistently and convincingly her rights. The industrial needs and
rights of the man have been overlooked.

With increasing numbers of women entering the industrial world, with
ever widening extension of the vote to women, and the consequent
quickening of public responsibility, together with the recent experience
of Europe demonstrating the importance of care for all workers, both men
and women, there is ground for hope that even the United States, where
protective legislation is so retarded in development, will enter upon
wide and fundamental plans for conservation of all our human resources.

Protection of the worker, housing conditions, the feeding of factory
employees and school children, play grounds and recreation centers, will
challenge the world for first consideration. These are the social
processes which command most surely the hearts and minds of women. The
churning which the war has given humanity has roused in women a
realization that upon them rests at least half the burden of saving
civilization from wreck. Here is the world, with such and such needs
for food, clothing, shelter, with such and such needs for sanitation,
hospitals, and above all, for education, for science, for the arts, if
it is not to fall back into the conditions of the Middle Ages. How can
women aid in making secure the national position? Certainly not by
idleness, inefficiency, an easy policy of laissez faire. They must
labor, economize, and pool their brains.

Women can save civilization only by the broadest coöperative action, by
daring to think, by daring to be themselves. The world is entering an
heroic age calling for heroic women.





CONFIDENTIAL. Reference No: J.W. 21 [o.]

Joint Woman's V.A.D. Department.


_Return to Secretary,
V.A.D Department.
Devonshire House,
Piccadilly, S.W.I._

Territorial Force Associations,
British Red Cross Society.
Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Telegrams [unreadable]
Telephone Mayfair 4707

_B.R.C.S. or Order of St. John ..._


Will you kindly fill up the following form of Medical Certificate,
returning it to the address given above.

Your communication will be received as strictly confidential.

It is urgently requested that Members'
names and detachment numbers should
be filled in legibly.

Yours faithfully,



 1. Name

 2. County             No. of Detachment

 3. How long have you been acquainted with her?

 4. Have you attended her professionally?

 5. For what complaint?

 6. Is she intelligent and of active habits?

 7. General health?

 8. Has she flat feet, hammer-toe, or any other defect?

 9. Is her vision good in each eye?

10. Is her hearing perfect?

11. Has she sound teeth, and if not, have they been properly
    attended to by a Dentist lately?

12. Has she shown any tendency to Rheumatism, Anaemia,
    Tuberculosis, or other illness?

13. When?

14. What?

15. Has she ever had influenza?

16. Does she suffer from headaches?

17. Any form of fits?

18. Heart disease or varicose veins?

19. Is she subject to any functional disturbance?

       *       *       *       *       *

I have on the     day of        191   seen and
examined                                   and
hereby certify that she is apparently in good health, that she
is not labouring under any deformity, and is, in my opinion,
both physically and mentally competent to undertake duty in
a Military Hospital, and is [*]A. Fit for General Service.
                             B. Fit for Home Service only.
                             C. Unfit.

_Date                     (Signed)

[Footnote *: Kindly delete categories which do not apply.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Reference No.: J.W. 19c.

Territorial Forces Association. British Red Cross Society. Order of St.
John of Jerusalem.

       *       *       *       *       *

of Members of Women's Voluntary Aid Detachments for Nursing Service or
General Service.

       *       *       *       *       *

1. (a) Name in full (_Mrs. or Miss_).
   (b) If Married state Maiden Name.

2. Permanent Postal Address.
   Present Postal Address.

3. Telephone No.

4. Telegraphic Address.

5. Detachment County and No.
      St. John Brigade.
      St. John Association.

6. Name and Address of Commandant of Detachment.

7. Rank in Detachment.

8. Time of Service in Detachment.

9. Age and Date of Birth.

10. Place and Country of Birth.

11. Nationality at Birth.

12. Present Nationality.

13. Height.

14. Weight.

15. Where Educated.

16. At what age did you leave school?

17. Whether Single, Married, or Widow.

18. If not Single, state Nationality of Husband.

19. Name and Address of Next-of-Kin or Nearest Relation
    residing in the British Isles.

20. Father's Nationality at Birth.

21. Mother's Nationality at Birth.

22. Father's Profession.

23. Religion.

24. (a) If you volunteer for nursing duties state what experience
    you have had in wards.

    (b) Name and address of hospital.

    (c) Date.

25. Certificates held.

26. (a) Nursing.      (f) Motor Driver.
    (b) Kitchen.      (g) Laboratory Attendant.
    (c) Clerical.     (h) X-Ray Attendant.
    (d) Storekeeping. (i) House Work.
    (e) Dispenser.    (j) Pantry Work.

27. State what experience and qualifications you have had
    for Categories in No. 26.

28. Have you been inoculated against Enteric Fever?
      If so, what date?
      If not, are you willing to be?

    Have you been vaccinated?
      It so, what date?
      If not, are you willing to be?

29. Your usual Occupation or Profession?
    Your present Occupation or Profession?

30. Give the Names and Addresses of two British Householders with
    permanent addresses in the British Isles who have known applicant for
    two or more years, but are not related to applicant, to act as
    References, having previously obtained their permission to use
    their names.

    (a) (Mayor, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, Minister of Religion,
        Barrister, Physician, Solicitor or Notary Public).
        Acquaintance dating from year   ________
    (b) Lady.
        Acquaintance dating from year   _______

31. Name and Address of Head of College or School, recent Business
    Employer, Head of Government Department, Secretary of Society or some
    other person who can be referred to for a report on your
    qualifications for the work selected. (The Quartermaster of your
    V.A.D. could be given if you have worked in her department.)

    In what capacity employed?

    How long employed?

32. Are you willing to serve at home or abroad?

33. Are you willing to serve in Civil Hospitals from which
    personnel have been withdrawn for War Service?

34. Are you willing to serve:--

   (a) With pay,
   (b) For expenses only,
   on the terms of service laid down in our terms of service?

   N. B.--Members who can afford to work for their expenses only are
   urgently needed.

35. Date after which you will be available for duty.

36. (a) Are you pledged to serve in any other organisation?
    (b) If so, what?

37. (a) Have you served with the Women's Legion or any
        similar organisation?
    (b) If so, what?

I hereby declare that the above statements are complete and correct to
the best of my knowledge and belief.

Date .......... Usual Signature ..........

_For Office Purposes_, please add your full Christian Names and Surname
legibly written.

I certify that the above declaration is, to the best of my knowledge and
belief, true; and that M ............ is a fit and proper person to be
employed by the Joint V.A.D. Committee.


Date .......... Signed ....................

Date .......... Countersigned ....................
                              _County Director_.

NOTE.--Commandants are held responsible for all statements on this form
being accurate so far as it is possible for them to find out, also for
the fact that the member who signs it is a British subject, and in every
way suitable for appointment by the Joint V.A.D. Committee.

This form must be signed by the Commandant, who should then send it to
the County Director for counter signature and forwarding to

_Application No._

_For Official use only_.



N.B.--No woman need apply who is not prepared to offer her services for
the duration of the war and to take up work wherever she is required.

1.  Name in Full (Mrs. or Miss).

2.  Permanent Postal Address.

2a. State nearest Railway Station.

3.  Surname at birth, if different.

4.  For what work do you offer your services? State your
    qualifications for this work. (The occupations for which women are
    required are set out in the accompanying leaflet.)

5.  Are you willing to serve:--
    (a) At Home and Abroad as may be required.
    (b) At Home only.

6.  If selected and enrolled how many days' notice will you require before
    your services are available?

7.  Age and date of birth.

8.  Place and Country of Birth.

9.  Nationality at Birth.

10. Present Nationality
    (if naturalised give date).

11. Whether single, married or widow.
    If married state number of children,
      (a) under 12 years old.
      (b)   "    5   "    "

12. If not single state Nationality of Husband.
      (a) Is your husband serving with the Forces?
      (b) If so, where?

13. Father's Nationality at Birth.

14. Mother's Nationality at Birth.

15. Father's Occupation.

16. State school or college where educated.
    At what age did you leave School?

17. Particulars of any other Training, stating Certificates held.

18. (a) Name and Address of your present employer
        (_see Note on other side_).

    N.B.--(The employer will not be referred to unless he is given as a
    reference under paragraph 20 below.)

    (b) Nature of his business.

    (c) Capacity in which you are employed.

    (d) Length of your service with him.

    (e) Salary which you are now receiving.

19. Previous business experience (if any) giving dates, salaries
    received, and names of Employers.

20. Give below for purposes of reference the names of two or more
    British householders with their permanent addresses, one of whom
    should be, if possible, your present or previous Employer, a Teacher,
    a Town Councillor, Mayor or Provost, Justice of Peace, Minister of
    Religion, Doctor or Solicitor, who has known you for two or more
    years, but is not related to you. One of the references must be
    a woman.

    (a) Name.
        Profession or Occupation.

    (b) Name.
        Profession or Occupation.

    (c) Name.
        Profession or Occupation.

An offer of Service can in no way be regarded as a final enrolment.

_I hereby declare that the above statements are complete and correct to
the best of my knowledge and belief_.

_Date_ ___________   _Usual Signature_ ____________

This Form should be filled in by the Applicant and returned
to:--Employment Exchange _________________________

       *       *       *       *       *


Women who are already engaged in any of the following occupations will
not be accepted unless they bring with them a letter from their Employer
or Head of Department stating that they have permission to volunteer:--

(i)   Government Service.

(ii)  Munition work.

(iii) Work in a Controlled Establishment.

(iv)  Full-time work in an establishment engaged on contract
      work for a Government Department.

(v)   V.A.D. Military Hospitals and Red Cross Hospitals.

(vi)  School Teaching.

(vii) Local Government Service.

No woman who is a National Service Volunteer or is employed in
Agriculture will be accepted.

N.B.--Applicants are urged not to give up any present employment until
they are called upon to do so.

(Part of the application form used in England by the
Women's Land Army.)

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


There are three Sections of the Women's Land Army.



(3). FORAGE.

If you sign on for A YEAR and are prepared to go wherever you are sent,
you can join which Section you like.


1. To sign on in the Land Army for ONE YEAR.

2. To come to a Selection Board when summoned.

3. To be medically examined, free of cost.

4. To be prepared if PASSED by the Selection Board to take up work
   after due notice.



1. A MINIMUM WAGE to workers of 18/- a week. After they have passed
   an efficiency test the wages given are £1 a week and upwards.

2. A short course of FREE INSTRUCTION if necessary.


4. FREE MAINTENANCE in a Depôt for a term not exceeding 4 weeks if
   the worker is OUT OF EMPLOYMENT through no fault of her own.

5. FREE RAILWAY travelling, when taking up or changing Employment.

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