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March 22

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Molly Schepps on Woman Suffrage



Molly Schepps

      In a speech in the 1912 Wage Earner's Suffrage League, Molly Schepps said:
      "We want men's admiration, but we do not think that is all there is to live for. Since economic conditions force us to fight our battle side by side with man in the industrial field, we do not see why we should not have the same privileges in the political field in order to better the conditions under which we must work... We demand a voice as to how politics shall be conducted. Yes, we want man's admiration, but not the kind that looks well on paper or sounds good when you say it. [Applause] What we want men to do is to practice, to stop talking of the great comfort that they have provided for us. We know in most of the cases we are the providers; we also want them to know that in these days they will have to try to win our admiration....
      "... Another reason is given against woman suffrage; it is said that equal say will enable the women to get equal pay, and equal pay is dangerous. Why? Because it would keep the women from getting married. Well, then, if long, miserable hours and starvation wages are the only means man can find to encourage marriage, it is a very poor compliment to themselves. In the name of a purer marriage, we must have equal voice in making the laws for we have found out from experience that it is not only men who have to get married....
      "[The mayor] could not be bothered with any striking shirt-waist makers. Had that same committee represented 30,000 men, men who would have a vote at the next election, you can bet that the committee would have received a different answer ... This is the kind of respect, admiration and devotion we received from our admirers the politicians when we fight for better conditions and a decent wage...
      "...we can not, and must not, wait until our sisters that live in comforts get the votes for us... The ballot used as we mean to use it will abolish the burning and crushing of our bodies for the profit of a very few."

      (The burning refers to the terrible Shirt Waist factory fire and the crushing to police and judges actions against striking women.)
            -- pp. 216-7, America's Working Women, A Documentary History-1600 to the Present. Compiled and edited by Rosalyn Baxandall, Linda Gordon, and Susan Reverby. New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1976. ISBN 0-394-72208-6. [America's Working Women demolishes the propaganda that the women's movement and suffrage movement was the work of a few women in the middle and upper classes and did not reflect the majority of women.]

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B. 03-22-1822, Rosa Bonheur, one of the most successful of all women artists and considered one of the great (either sex) artists. Her huge Horse Fair is one of the beauties in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (so skillfully placed that you turn a corner and are overwhelmed by the scene). Her father was a minor painter and by an early age, she showed an aptitude for sketching live animals. Before long she dressed in boys' clothing so she could go into the fields and stockyards to study animals (in the days of skirts to the ground). By the time she was 19, two of her paintings were exhibited in the annual Parisian Salon and at 23 she received her first medal. She became financially secure in her early 30's and received a royal dispensation to wear men's clothing, allegedly for going around the countryside to examine animals close-up. She did live in an acknowledged lesbian relationship for most of her life.

B. 03-22-1912, Agnes Martin, abstract expressionist of almost legendary status. Left penniless, her widowed mother raised Agnes and her children by renovating and selling old houses.

B. 03-22-1956, Kathleen McNally Saville, rower and explorer who with her husband rowed a boat from North Africa to the West Indies.

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Coming soon... your patience is appreciated.

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