Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 83.djvu/69

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65
WOMEN TEACHERS AND EQUAL PAY

WOMEN TEACHERS AND EQUAL PAY
By Mrs. ELFRIEDA HOCHBAUM POPE
ITHACA, N. Y.

ARGUMENTS opposing the progress of women are apt to begin with a praise of "typical, sweet" femininity, continue with a retailing of the fixed and inherent failings of women, add instances of selfish action on the part of individual women, such as taking away a man's seat, obstructing a man's view, getting in front of him in a ticket or bank line (forgetting that women have been carefully educated to consider themselves as creatures of privilege), and end with visions of race-extermination.

Arguments opposing the equal remuneration of women with men, where the services rendered are of equal value, have not escaped contamination from this kind of logic, in witness whereof we can point to two articles published in the Educational Review, in the past year, entitled "The Monopolizing Woman Teacher," by C. W. Bardeen, and "Women and 'Equal Pay,'" by Arthur C. Perry, Jr.

It was in 1869, forty-four years ago, that J. S. Mill wrote:

The general opinion of men is supposed to be, that the natural vocation of a woman is that of a wife and mother. I say, is supposed to be, because, judging from acts—from the whole of the present constitution of society—one might infer the direct contrary. They might be supposed to think that the alleged natural vocation of women was of all things the most repugnant to their nature; insomuch that if they are free to do anything else—if any other means of living, or occupation of their time and faculties, is open, which has any chance of appearing desirable to them—there will not be enough of them who will be willing to accept the condition said to be natural to them. If this is the real opinion of men in general, it would be well that it should be spoken out.

After nearly half a century's progress of civilization and thought, it remains for an educator to speak out this very sentiment in the following words, apropos of the granting of equal salaries to men and women in the schools of New York City:

Suppose society were to embark upon a world-wide attempt thus to abrogate natural and economic law by legislative fiat. A severe temptation would be placed upon all women wilfully to disown their natural mission in the scheme of nature. With the material reward before them double that which the normal life would yield, they would become unwilling to renounce the larger for the smaller. There would follow a gradual but sure lowering of the wage standard set for both men and women until both sexes were on a basis of self-support only. Under this condition neither sex could be expected to undertake the support of a family and the family would disappear.