Votes for Women a Practical Necessity, ca. 1912

From The Revolution in women's work makes votes for women a practical necessity. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1912.


During the past hundred years there has been a complete revolution in industrial and social conditions.

In consequence of this, the position of women and their conditions of work have undergone a change nothing short of revolutionary.

A hundred years ago women in their own homes spun the cloth, made the clothes for the family, cured the meat, preserved and canned the fruits and vegetables, baked the bread, made the butter, made the soap and candles, had charge of the entire education of girls and the early education of boys, and took care of all the sick. Women then could protect their children from evil influences, their daughters from unhealthy and demoralizing conditions and their homes from infectious clothing and impure food.

To-day industrial conditions have completely changed. The cloth is now spun not in the home but in the factory. The clothes are made not in the home but in the sweat shop. The meat is cured not in the home but by the beef trust. The fruits and vegetables are canned not in the home but in the factory. The bread is baked not in the home but in the bake shop. The butter is made not in the home but in the creamery. The soap, candles, etc., are made not in the home but in the factory. The girls and boys are educated not in the home but in the public school. The sick are cared for not in the home but in the hospital.

As woman's work has gone out of the home into the factory many women have been forced to follow their work into the factory, and there are to-day nearly eight million women in the United States working outside the home. The hours of labor of these women and their conditions of work, both moral and sanitary, depend upon the laws, and yet the women have no voice in the making or enforcing of the laws.

The women who are left in the home are trying to bring up their children and to keep their homes free from evil influences, both physical and moral. Under present day conditions, the homemakers are directly dependent upon the outside world for all the things which are necessary for the very life of their families, and yet women have no voice in the making or enforcing of the laws which regulate the conditions under which these things are produced.

Women in their work as homemakers and mothers are even more intimately touched by the influences which reach their children from the outside world. The playgrounds, the school, the saloon, public amusements, etc., all influence their powers to make their homes what they should be, and yet women have no voice in making the laws which for good or for evil so vitally affect their work.

A hundred years ago the government of this country was primarily concerned with establishing its independence from other nations.

To-day the government of this country is primarily concerned with social and industrial problems, which vitally affect the lives of women and children.

History proved that governments pay attention to the demands of the people who keep them in power and not to the demands of a disfranchised class.

For this reason Votes for Women is a natural and necessary result of present day conditions.

Women need Votes now in order to do the work which Women have always done.

Working conditions of 8,000,000 women

2,000,000 little children at work

Sweat shops

Adulterated and impure food

Unsanitary tenements

Demoralizing living conditions

The White Slave Traffic