From Transcribe Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

I hold in my hand a report made by Mary Anderson, the wonderful director of the Woman's bureau department of labor of U. S. Government. The report gives the results of an investigation of women in Industry in the State of Virginia in response to a request of our Governor Hon. W. Davis. The investigation was made in cooperation with the bureau of labor and Industrial Statistics of Virginia of which Mr. Howard T. Colvin is the head and Miss Mary Schaill of the Women's department. Governor Davis' desire for this investigation was to obtain reliable first hand information of the industrial activities of the women of the state as a basis for legislation that might be enacted in the interest of women in industry. Inspections were made in all the cities and larger towns of the state, of course including Norfolk, and facts obtained relating chiefly to hours and working conditions, although the question of wages is recognized as of supreme importance we will have to defer it to another time as it is not pertinent to the subject I was asked to bring before you, namely the Legislation to be asked of our Leg. next January. There are today more than 226,000 wage earning women in the state, and they constitute nearly 54% of all workers in industry. Women are therefore indespensable [sic] to the industries of Virginia and the conditions under which they work must be recognized as a definite asset or menace, as well as a social point of view. The double burden of family responsibility and work in the factory which is carried by so many women is a tax on their strength which renders them more susceptible than men to the dangers of many existing industrial conditions and therefore, in the last anylasis [sic] it is the community or state which bears the cost of industry's failure to care for its human machinery especially women. When you reflect that every morning in Virginia 226,000 women leave their homes to follow women's imnumorial [sic] business of weaving, spinning, carding knitting, canning, food making in all its forms and all other occupations necessary to the comfort, health and education of the family, you wonder how anyone can still repeat that backneyed [sic] old statement, woman's place is in the home. She must go out of the home to get the means whereby to make a home. To do her woman's imnumorial [sic] business of providing for the family she must work in mill, factory, shop, store, counting house and office. Those are regulated by the laws of the state. Laws made by the legislature, the U. S. Congress and the city fathers. Not a woman's voice nor opinion expressed in one. Experience has been proven that men do not always know what is best for women, how can they? and yet until last year women were not only dented the right to make rules concerning their own labor, but denied the right to even choose the men who made those rules. Thanks to the nineteenth amendment we can now do both; and it is to help you prepare yourselves for this great priviledge [sic] and duty that I was asked to come before you tonight. Except for the limitation of hours there has been very little attention given to the regulation of working conditions for women by the laws of Virginia. While the laws of many states have gone into great detail to provide such regulations, and while in many other states industrial commissions are empowered to establish the necessary standards and have done so with the utmost care and etringency [sic], the Virginia Bureau of labor and Industrial Statistic has very few laws to enforce and no power to make regulations, therefore we believe now is the time for Virginia to establish standards for the protection of its wage earning women which will equal those of other progressive industrial communities. Of course we will have to go slowly, studying carefully every step of the way, and being sure of what we want before we sponsor any bill before our Legislature or council also being surethat [sic] the character and past political history of any candidate up for election to that Legislature, are such as will guarantee us consideration of viewpoint.