Women's Place on the Program

Date Published: 
August, 1925
Original Author: 
Miss Dewald
Original Publication: 
AACS Proceedings of the 39th Annual Convention

Last Thursday during the Convention of the Memorial Craftsmen in Cleveland, Mr. Carter asked me to make a few remarks at this Convention, at our Convention. I asked him what I was to talk about and he said, "Oh, say something about the women, or women's place on the program." Now, from the various stories that Mr. Carter told at that Convention I am very frank to tell you that he would have been the logical person to tell about women, (Laughter) for he seemed to know all about our one piece dresses, our lost waist lines and how to smooth things over with candy and flowers and kisses (Laughter) and I am sure that he would have given us a wonderful talk on "The Women's place on the Program."

However, the word "program" reminds me of a story I heard a few weeks ago about Rastus and Mandy who met at a dance. Rastus said to Mandy, "is your program full", whereupon Mandy answered, "Now Rastus, I 'jes tell you it takes more'n olive and lettuce sandwiches to fill my program." You will all agree a woman could do a heap or talking to tell or a woman’s place on program. I did not have time to prepare a paper as I left Cleveland shortly after having talked with Mr. Carter, so I shall be very brief.

There is a town in the United States run entirely by woman, with the exception of a City Marshall who really doesn't count. It all started as a joke, a little josh on the women, but the women took the joke seriously and so did the townspeople, with the result that a perfectly good man-Mayor and several other masculine city officials are out of jobs. It seems the boys, prior to election, placed a ticket in the field just as they had done ever since the town had been organized. Some one just as a joke suggested a women's ticket in opposition. The idea spread. People voted who had not voted for forty years. The women were elected and are most efficient on the job. This city is Columbus, Iowa and the women in public offices like their jobs so well that very likely there will be some good electioneering to keep them in office.

Another town run by women is Jackson, Wyoming.  Jackson is a small town but small town problems are big town problems on a small scale. There is nothing wrong with the men at Jackson but they seemed to be easy going land their lax methods resulted in defeat. There was no cemetery excepting one high up on the hillside where a space had been set aside as a resting place for the dead. There was no road to it. In the summer the climb was made in a hot, unrelenting sun, in the winter the pall-bearers had to carry the caskets a mile up a rugged slope in four foot of snow. Two years ago they elected women to their public offices. The women went to work, they made a budget; bids were asked on improvements; they passed health laws and etc. and instituted clean up week, the people turning it into a real town holiday. Then the council faced the cemetery problem. They selected a site, built a fence around it and set up stones to mark the graves of the dead. They constructed culverts and built gravel roads which made it possible for automobiles to enter the cemetery.

What women lack in weight and muscular power, they make up in conscientious and keen endeavor. We do not know whether it is merely as social accident or a fact or nature but as things are at present, there is little doubt that women are less inclined to be idle than men. Women have no. desire to displace men but to act as their complement.

Many insist that women’s place is in the home. We probably all agree but the word home is a comprehensive one whose boundaries extend beyond the place where one dwells and includes the city, state and nation in which we live. It is in such a sense that I contend that home-making applies to city as much as it does to the home. Therefore, it is woman's place on the program.

From the publication:
AACS - Proceedings of the 39th Annual Convention
Chicago, Illinois
August 24, 25, 26 and 27, 1925