Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

I ¡WOMAN'S WIDER WORLD.

News
Cite
Share

I ¡ WOMAN'S WIDER WORLD. BY TERESA BILLINGTON-GREIG. IIL—THE WOMAN WORKER: HER STATUS. Woman invented work. While all man Energies were still turned into avenues of de- struction she began the constructive work of the world. She stored up the fruits of the Hummer for winter use, and tended the plants that bore them; she built the first shelter, and wove the first garment. STHS MOTHBB'S INSTINCT. It was not because in herself and for her- celf she was possessed of more forethought and ability than her brother. It was be- cause the demand made upon her in this primal state was the demand of the preserva- tion of the child. For the child's eake she invented work; driven by its needs she jrrang from the untamed wilds food and covering, and set up a shelter against the elements. MAN THB MASTER. Yet the invention and practice of produc- tive industry, although it made possible our racial advance from savagery, has not brought to woman an equivalent of comfort, credit, and glory. It has served rather to ensure the enslavement of women to men. Woman, the worker, was possessed of a dual value to man. He desired her as woman, and he desired her that he might enjoy the fruits of her toil. In order to control both the woman and her industry, he made bonds lor her that were doubly strengthened be- cause of her double value. Man, the non- trorker, lived upon wcman's labour; and for generations after man had become a worker fens self he controlled woman's labour, and Jook the fruits of it as his awn. This has eontinued uven until to-day. Gradually, with the passing of the ages, man has ocrne to regard himself as the worker, and woman as a subject and nfeTior help. He has taken possession of the indus- trial world. From the position of sole world-worker woman has dropped to the position of the worker of lowest gr&de, un- paid or underpaid. There is no n°ed to trace the gradations by which this result has been peached. The problem of the present is suffi- cient for us. UNDERPAID LABOUR. The one general characterstie of all Women workers--the one condition common to them all from the lowest grade to the highest-is that they are underpaid. There jure a few exceptions, of course, but these ars rare, and have been thrust into wndue pro- minence by their very rarity. The cotton workers of Lancashire are worM-famous on this account. But, generally speaking, from the box-maker and tailor's finisher to the teacher and the journalist, the woman ,worker is paid less than the standard rate of yrages. And she is paid less simply because jhe is a woman. Wherever she has obtained a footing in the Labour market the same evil principle has been applied. She has been forced to work for what are called "women's wages." In plain terms, this precious phrase means that be- cause of the sex of the worker a portion of the wages really earned is kept back. Work is not paid for as work. It is paid for by the eex of the worker. The employer thinks iimself justified in robbing his women em- ployees, and many a man worker would con- eider it an unbearable affront if women ,were offered the same wages as he receives for his labours. FIOMS CONCRETE EXAMPLES. One can give only a few examples from the thousands that could be quoted. Among teachers the difference in salary merely be- ifcanse of sex varies from .£10 to JE150 per annum. Among shop assistants the wages of men are almost double those of the women. omen working at unskilled trades are in a similar position. In the tailoring trade the difference varies in different workshops and for different branches of work, but generally the advantage to the men is at least fifty per cenl. In lace-weaving—where the men and Women attend the same machines and the work is paid for by the piece—for the weav- ing of two identical pieces of lace, one woven by a man and one by the woman, two dif- ferent prices will be paid. The woollen in- dustry shows the same condition. Indeed, there is no part of the industrial market ?where this injustice does not crop up, an ex- isting remnant of the one-time serfdom of Woman. JTHK Aal OF CHIVALRY Taking the whole mass of women workers, the condition of deplorable underpayment from which they suffer becomes even more apparent. It can be described as nothing less than a national disgrace. British men alill pride themselves upon their chivalry, ad boast of the protection which they afford to the women of their race. Whatever they were in the past, these boasts to-day are mere empty words. For women are not protected by men in the labour market, where the A-eadliest battles of to-day are fought. They are left to suffer the worst penalties of an in- fcnman syetem-to sweat and suffer, to starve Imd die. Here are specimens of the wages paid to "free and protected" British women. {TERUIBXE STATISTICS. Women carding hooks and eyes earn an fcverage wage of 38.. per week. These human carding machines stitch 384 hooks and 384 eyes upon cards for the sum of one penny. The carding of buttons is a better trade. The women who work at this branch tan earn an average wage of 5s. 3d. weekly. Shawl fringers of some grades earn less than one halfpenny per hour. There are shirt ttakers who receive Is. 6d. to Is. 9d. for twenti-ciae hours of steady work, and who have to supply the thread, needles, and nachine tused for the work. Shirt finishers earn from a halfpenny to a penny per hour. In oua caee, quite a typical one, a woman sewed on ninety-six buttons, and clipped and bridged forty-eight seams for threepence. 21a women chain-makers of Cradley Heath earn from 6s. to 8s. per week. The average wage for Bible folders and sewers is from Gs. 9jd. to 6s 4d. for a week of sixty hours. By this bitterest of irony British women and gills are sacrificed in order that Bibles may be sent freely to the "dark places of the Jporld." These are but a few typical examples of thousands of investigated cases- They can be matched in any large towa T5»« army of 81reated women has" representatives in every corner of the land; in every corner of the land their needs clamour for attention, and their wrongs cry for redress But redress cornea nut-neither from the legislator, nor from man, the woman's fellow-worker. SZX PRIDE. The working man is son and husband and toother of the working woman. But he seems to have forgotten the fact. In his relations with women he is often as blindly selfish as the sweating employer. He seldom dreams of the; necessity for payment or for the ac- knowledgment of indebtedness to that least protected of all workers—the working man's Wtfe. This same spirit of indifference and aeglect is marked also in his treatment of Women working for wages. Working men, Who have most to gain by it, are the worst eaemies. of equal pay for equal work. They love their pride of sex more than their indus- trial safety. Even in the matter of trade imionism for women they are wanting. The boy, trained and apprestieed; and with the prejudices of the day in his favour, is always arged to protect himself by joining a union, but the unprotected girl is told that it does not matter, and the paltry fees that would amure her some measure of co-operative pro- tection are grudged. After all, she is only a girl. 8QUAL IarousTETit RIGHTS. There is no royal, and no s?ngls road, to the solution of this great problem. Neither legislation nor organisation alone will settle &. Both are needed, and the forces of both must be fully used. There are great compli- cations, and small ones, all of which will »eed to lie faced. They rango from the ques- tion of equal pay, and the status of the mar- ried woman worker, to the presence of the iMcket-BMHMy girl, and the servant problem. But be the problems what they may, they *iust be solved; and the principle by which We must guide ourselves in seeking for «oia- fctous is that woman has the same right to li'-e by the work of her hands and hex train m her mate and brother—man.

Advertising

--------_--r--* - 'x \A,'W\AW…

[No title]

Advertising

Food and Health' Notes.

APPETITE, DIGESTION AND GOOD…

MEALS PAST AND TO COME.

:MY CHRISTMAS BREAKFAST AND…

j HOW NDIMENTS AND SAUCES…

CHILDREN'S STOCKINGS: A NOVEL…

Husbands Know How It Is.

[No title]

Pictures from POJertrl Land

[No title]