November 22, 1913.
The question of ‘Votes for Women’ has very often been argued in connection with its relation to rates of pay. Suffragists not infrequently urge that the wages of women will have a tendency to rise if they get the vote. In this respect the remarks of the Postmaster-General on his return from a tour in Canada and the United States may be quoted.
He said: “It was interesting to notice the effect of the policy which was adopted both in Canada and in the Unites States some years ago of paying the same wages to women as to men. The result practically has been that no more women have been taken into the service - in fact, the post office in Canada is almost closed as an avenue for the employment of women, and in the United States it is open to them only to a very moderate extent.”
The principle underlying the demand for votes in order to advance wages is a thoroughly vicious one. If it were a principle largely believed in, and largely operated upon, we might well say goodbye to purity in politics. The highest bidder would get support, and we should have Tammany Hall politics a regular thing.
The Sweated Trades Exhibition, recently held at Westminster, was in every way valuable from the point of view of showing up the enormities of those trades which exploit the labour of the women of the “submerged tenth”, but why connect it with the demands for votes for women?
The franchise for men in the lowest ranks of labour has not availed them nearly as much as have their trade unions, and why the vote should operate differently in the case of women has not been made abundantly clear by the advocates of Women Suffrage.
It would be near the mark, perhaps, to urge that it is an unworthy exploitation of women’s sufferings to gain support for the cause of votes for women by parading the evils under which some women have to exist.
France has declared against Women Suffrage by 311 votes to 133 in the Chamber of Deputies. This is a much more emphatic vote that the British House of Commons gave, and does not give much hope to the Suffragists across the Channel.