Women Should Vote Essay
Jane Adams, “Why Women Should Vote” (1915) https://d1lexza0zk46za.cloudfront.net/history/am-docs/women-should-vote.pdf.
However much they ministered to immigrants and the poor, or lobbied for child labor laws, factory inspection regulations, and civil service reforms, female reformers such as Addams were hamstrung by their own inability to vote. As revealed in this 1910 article in the Ladies’ Home Journal, Addams was a determined advocate of voting rights for women. In 1916 the Democratic and Republican parties finally endorsed female suffrage. Three years later Congress approved the Nineteenth Amendment, and in 1920 the states ratified it.
Public-spirited women who wish to use the ballot, as I know them, do not wish to do the work of men nor to take over men’s affairs. They simply want an opportunity to do their own work and to take care of those affairs which naturally and historically belong to women, but which are constantly being overlooked and slighted in our political institutions. In a complex community like the modern city all points of view need to be represented; the resultants of diverse experiences need to be pooled if the community would make for sane and balanced progress. If it would meet fairly each problem as it arises, whether it be connected with a freight tunnel having to do largely with business men, or with the increasing death rate among children under five years of age, a problem in which women are vitally concerned, or with the question of more adequate streetcar transfers, in which both men and women might be said to be equally interested, it must not ignore the judgments of its entire adult population.
To turn the administration of our civic affairs wholly over to men may mean that the American city will continue to push forward in its commercial and industrial development, and continue to lag behind in those things which make a City healthful and beautiful. After all, woman’s traditional function has been to make her dwelling-place both clean and fair. Is that dreariness in city life, that lack of domesticity which the humblest farm dwelling presents, due to a withdrawal of one of the naturally cooperating forces? If women have in any sense been responsible for the gentler side of life which softens and blurs some of its harsher conditions, may they not have a duty to perform in our American cities?
In closing, may I recapitulate that if woman would fulfill her traditional responsibility to her own children; if she would educate and protect from danger factory children who must find their recreation on the street; if she would bring the cultural forces to bear upon our materialistic civilization; and if she would do it all with the dignity and directness fitting one who carries on her immemorial duties, then she must bring herself to the use of the ballot—that latest implement for self-government. May we not fairly say that American women need this implement in order to preserve the home?
What you will be doing here is finding a Voices of Freedom section. In that section, you will read the primary sources that are there. Usually it is 1 or 2 primary sources. Primary sources are contemporary accounts of a historical event / action / person / thing. So after you read these, you will answer the 2 (sometimes 3) questions that are at the end of the Voices of Freedom section, and include any sources you use as a reference page on an additional page. You will want to provide historic examples from your materials and any outside academic materials you wish to use. So essentially, you need to find one Voices of Freedom section in the chapters from the unit and answer the questions at the end of it.
Why Women Should Vote
Is that dreariness in city life, that lack of domesticity which the humblest farm dwelling presents, due to a withdrawal of one of the naturally cooperating forces?
The dullness that is currently experienced in the cities is largely due to the failure to involve women both at the planning and implementation stages. Traditionally, women played the role of making the dwelling places healthier and more beautiful (Addams 21). The modern cities lack so many aspects of beauty and health due to the existing androcentric ideologies. These ideologies place men at the center of city architecture, planning, and estate development. The result of this practice has been the building of less inhabitable cities. To attain more sustainable cities, both genders should be allowed to play their historical roles without any discrimination.
The inclusion of women in city life planning will aid in the alleviation of city problems linked to water and sanitation, food scarcity, and poor housing. The city development practices hinder the roles played by women (England 27). For instance, under city development, farming is highly discouraged by excessive development. If women are included in planning for city development, there is much likelihood that they will negotiate for farm-friendly cities, which will consequently boost sustainability. It will also help to raise healthier city communities.
If women have, in any sense, been responsible for the gentler side of life, which softens and blurs some of its harsher conditions, may they not have a duty to perform in our American cities?
Women have historically played gentler roles, which directly impact the harsher conditions and therefore have a role to play in the American cities. During the colonial era, the women played seemingly subtle roles that directly influenced the attainment of independence. For example, some women played the providence role while the men were fighting on battlefields. The ability of women to take up such roles in the past implies that they can play any other roles that emerge from necessity. Industrial and commercial development in the United States is partially dependent on the roles played by women. Women in American cities play roles which do not require much energy, such as lifting light weights and attending to clients. These roles have a major impact on the rate of industrialization in cities as well as added up to the city revenues (United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO] 4). Women also take care of family affairs when the men are out working in the cities, which gives the men ample time to work. The women who are actively involved in the workforce at times work on a part-time basis to take care of their homes.
May we not fairly say that American women need this implement in order to preserve the home?
Women’s suffrage is just as essential as men’s suffrage. During the period when women were pushing for their suffrage, their role was mainly centered in the home environment. Their need to vote, therefore, was supposed to enable them to preserve their homes even better. Women are known to suffer from bad governance with equal measure to men or even more (Lange). Mothers who spend most of their time attending to their children also want to make life better for their children an aspiration which can only be achieved through voting. The implement of women’s suffrage was vital in ensuring that women give equal help in the attainment of social justice. Good leaders would guide the society in equal development of all sectors, including the domestic spaces.
Addams, Jane. “Why Women Should Vote.” Ladies’ Home Journal (1910): 21-22.
England, Kim V. L. “Changing Suburbs, Changing Women: Geographic Perspectives on Suburban Women and Suburbanization.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 14.1 (1993): 24-43.
Lange, Allison. National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage. 2015. 11 June 2020. <http://www.crusadeforthevote.org/naows-opposition>.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization [UNIDO]. “Women, Industry and Environment.” Fourth World Conference on Women. Austria: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, n.d. 1-7.