Page:On the Political Status of Women (Annie Besant).pdf/13

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herald of revolt. Further, do men think of what they are doing when they taunt the present agitators with the indifference shown by women? They are, in effect, telling us, that if we are in earnest in this matter, we must force it on their attention; we must agitate till every home in England rings with the subject; we must agitate till mass meetings in every town compel them to hear us; we must agitate till every woman has our arguments at her fingers' ends. Ah! you are not wise to throw in our teeth the indifference of women. You are stinging us into a determination that this indifference shall not last; you are nerving us to a struggle which will be fiercer than you dream; you are forcing us into an agitation which will convulse the State. You dare to make indifference a plea for injustice? Very well; then the indifference shall soon be a thing of the past. You have as yet the frivolous, the childish, the thoughtless on your side; but the cream of womanhood is against you. We will educate women to reason and to think, and then the mass will only want a leader.

"Women are sufficiently represented as it is." By whom? by those whose interests lie in keeping them in subjection. So the masters told the workmen: "We represent you; we take care of your interests." The workmen answered: "We prefer to represent ourselves; we like to have our interests guarded by our own hands." And such is our answer to our "representatives." We don't agree with some of your views; we don't like some of your laws; we object to some of your theories for us. You do not really represent us at all; what you represent is your own interests, which, in many cases, touch ours. The laws you pass are passed in the interest of men, and not of women; and naturally so, for you are made legislators by men, and not by women. There are a few rare cases where men are really the representatives of women. John Stuart Mill—now dead, alas!—noblest and most candid of philosophers and Statesmen; Professor Fawcett, a future leader; Jacob Bright, our steadfast friend: these, and a few others, might fairly be called representatives of women in Parliament. Outside the House, too, we have a few gallant champions, pre-eminent among whom is Moncure Conway, whose voice is always raised on the side of freedom and justice. But what we demand is the right to choose our own representatives, so that our voice may have its share