The History of Woman Suffrage Volume VI Part 77

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About sixty societies for various purposes have declared their position by taking part officially in several of our public demonstrations.

A list was given of distinguished men who had become converted to woman suffrage. Men took a more prominent part in this convention than in any which had preceded, due princ.i.p.ally to the very active Hungarian Men's League for Woman Suffrage, which included a number well known in political and intellectual life. The International Alliance of Men's Leagues conducted an afternoon session in the Pester Lloyd hall with the Hon. Georg de Lukacs of Hungary, its president, in the chair. What can Men Do to Help the Movement for Woman Suffrage?

was discussed by Dr. C. V. Drysdale, Great Britain; Major C. V.

Mansfeldt, Netherlands, and Dr. Andre de Maday, Hungary. On Thursday evening this International League held a ma.s.s meeting in the Academy of Music with rousing speeches for woman suffrage by Hermann Bahr, Austria; M. Du Breuil de St. Germain, France; Major Mansfeldt; Keir Hardie, Great Britain; Senator Mechelin, Finland; Dr. Vazsonyi, M. P., Hungary; Professor Wicksell, Sweden; Professor Gustav Szaszy-Schwartz, Hungary.

A crowded ma.s.s meeting addressed by women took place one evening in the Academy of Music, with Mrs. Catt presiding. Mrs. Stritt, president of the National Suffrage a.s.sociation of Germany, spoke on Woman Suffrage and Eugenics; Mme. Maria Verone, a well known lawyer of Paris, made her impa.s.sioned address in French, and Dr. Gulli Petrini of Sweden spoke in French on Woman Suffrage and Democracy; Miss Schwimmer inspired the audience with Hungarian oratory; Miss Jane Addams of the United States gave a forceful address on Why the Modern Woman Needs the Ballot, and Dr. Shaw closed the meeting with an eloquent interpretation of the demand of women for the vote. One afternoon from 4 to 6 o'clock was devoted to a Young People's Meeting, addressed by delegates from eight countries. A forenoon was given to the discussion of the always vital question, What Relation Should Suffrage Organizations Bear toward Political Parties, led by Mrs. Anna B. Wicksell, Sweden, and Miss Courtney, Great Britain. A large audience heard one evening the Benefits of Woman Suffrage related by those who had been sent as official delegates from Governments that had given the vote to women, Mrs. Qvam, Miss Krog and Mrs. Spencer, and in supplementary speeches by Mrs. Jenny Forselius, member of Parliament from Finland; Miss A. Maude Royden, Great Britain; Mrs.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, United States, whose topic was New Mothers of a New World. A resume of all these addresses was made in Hungarian by Vilma Glucklich. During the convention much of the interpreting in English, French and German was done by Mrs. Maud Nathan of the United States, who also made an address in the three languages.

On the last day it seemed almost as if the men had taken possession of the congress, for they had secured the convention hall for the afternoon meeting, but the women did not like to discourage such exceptional interest. Woman Suffrage and Men's Economic, Ethical and Political Interest in it was discussed by Professor Emanuel Beke, Hungary; Dr. Emil von Hoffmansthal, Austria; Frederick Nathan and Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, United States. Vigorous speeches were made by Malcolm Mitch.e.l.l, Great Britain; Leo Ga.s.sman, Germany; the Rev. Benno Haypal, and Alexander Patay, Hungary. The hall was restored to the women at 5 o'clock for their final program under the general topic, How may women still bound by ancient custom, tradition and prejudice be awakened to a realization that these new times demand new duties and responsibilities? How to Reach the Home Woman, Mrs. Gisela Urban, Austria; Mrs. Irma V. Szirmay, Mrs. von Furth, Hungary; How to Reach the Church Woman, Mme. Jane BriG.o.de, Belgium, Mme. Girardet-Vielle, Switzerland; How to Reach the Society Woman, Miss Royden, Mme.

Schlumberger; How to Reach the Woman of Higher Education, Mrs. Crystal Eastman Benedict, United States; How to Reach the Wage-earning Woman, Miss Isabella O. Ford, Mrs. Clinny Dryer, Great Britain; How to Reach the Woman Social Worker, Miss Addams.

At the last business session the convention placed on record its appreciation of the unsurpa.s.sed hospitality shown by the Hungarians.

The delegates from this country expressed the pleasure it had been to welcome the women of all nations and the inspiration that had been received. The president, Mrs. Catt, asked them to part with the intention of coming to the next conference, each with a victory in her own country to celebrate.

There were many luncheons, teas and dinners in beautiful private homes. The social entertainment which will be longest remembered was the evening trip down the Danube with supper and music on board, a happy, congenial party with three hours of the exquisite scenery along the sh.o.r.es. Usually suffrage conventions closed in a burst of oratory at a grand ma.s.s meeting but not so in this pleasure loving Hungarian city. The last evening was given over to a banquet which taxed the capacity of the big convention hall. There were toasts and speeches and patriotic songs, and the presentation of the international pin, set with jewels, by the ladies of Budapest to Miss Schwimmer. She said in a clever acceptance that the women had done what the men never had succeeded in doing; it was the desire of all Hungarians to make this city the resort of the world and the women of the world had been the first to come. "These amba.s.sadors," she said, "who came, to quote the words of Mazzini, 'in the name of G.o.d and humanity,' will report to their countries the friendly reception they have met and will surely help the cause of international good feeling."

Several countries competed for the honor of the conference of the Alliance in 1915 and its regular convention in 1917. Mrs. May Wright Sewall, honorary president of the International Council of Women, presented an official invitation from the managers of the Panama Pacific Exposition to be held in San Francisco in 1915, endorsed by the California Suffrage a.s.sociation; the executive committee of the National Suffrage a.s.sociation of Germany extended an urgent request for the conference and that of France for the congress. The answer was referred to the board, and it later accepted the invitations to Berlin and Paris. This had been the largest meeting of the Alliance. Never had the prospects seemed so favorable for accomplishing its objects; never had the fraternity among the women of the different nations seemed so close. When they parted with affectionate farewells and the bright hope of meeting two years hence in Berlin they little dreamed that it would be seven long years before they came together again; that during this time the world would be devastated by the most terrible war in history and that the task must be once more commenced of developing among the women of the nations the spirit of confidence, friendship and cooperation.


On call of its president, Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt of the United States of America, the International Woman Suffrage Alliance was summoned to its Eighth congress June 6-12, 1920, in Geneva, Switzerland, seven instead of the usual two years after the last one.

The reason for the long interim was given in the opening sentences of the president's address on the first day: "It is seven years since last we met. In memory we live again those happy days of friendly camaraderie in Budapest. All the faces were cheerful. On every side one heard joyous laughter among the delegates and visitors. Every heart was filled with buoyant hopes and every soul was armored with dauntless courage. We had seen our numbers grow greater and our movement stronger in many lands and here and there the final triumph had already come.... Alas, those smiling, shining days seem now to have been an experience in some other incarnation, for the years which lie between are war-scarred and tortured and in 1920 there is not a human being in the world to whom life is quite the same as in 1913....

So we do not come smiling to Geneva as to Budapest."

On Sunday morning, June 6, for the first time in the history of Geneva a woman spoke in the National Church, the Cathedral of St. Peter, and standing in the pulpit of Calvin Miss A. Maude Royden of Great Britain preached in French and English to an audience that filled the ancient edifice to the doors. That morning at 9 o'clock Father Hall, sent by the Catholic ecclesiastical authorities from England for the purpose, delivered a sermon to the congress at a special ma.s.s in Notre Dame.[227] In the afternoon a reception was given by Mlle. Emilie Gourd, president of the Swiss National Suffrage a.s.sociation, in the lovely garden, Beau Sejour. At a public meeting in the evening at Plainpalais, M. J. Mussard, president of the Canton of Geneva; Mme.

Chaponniere Chaix, president of the Swiss National Council of Women, and Mlle. Gourd gave addresses of welcome, to which responses were made by Miss Annie Furuhjelm, Finland; Mme. De Witt Schlumberger, France, and Mrs. Anna Lindemann, Germany, officers of the Alliance.

Mrs. Catt then delivered her president's address. She described the physical, mental and moral chaos resulting from the war, the immense problems now to be solved, and said: "For the suffragists of the world a few facts stand forth with great clarity. The first is that war, the undoubted original cause of the age-old subjection of women the world around; war, the combined enemy of their emanc.i.p.ation, has brought to the women of many lands their political freedom!"

Mrs. Catt showed how the suffrage had come in some countries where no effort had been made for it, while in others where women had worked the hardest they were still disfranchised, and she gave a scathing review of the situation in the United States, where it had been so long withheld. She paid eloquent tributes to Susan B. Anthony, a founder of the Alliance, and to Dr. Anna Howard Shaw, who had helped to found it and had attended every congress but had died the preceding year. She pointed out to the enfranchised delegates the great responsibility that had been placed in their hands and through it the vast power they would have in re-creating the world and said: "I believe had the vote been granted to women twenty-five years ago, their national influence would have so leavened world politics that there would have been no world war." Among the many objects for the Alliance to accomplish she named the following: (1) Stimulate the spread of democracy and through it avoid another world war; (2) Discourage revolution by demonstrating that change may be brought about through peaceful political methods; (3) Encourage education and enlightenment throughout the world; (4) Keep the faith in self-government alive when it fails to meet expectations. Methods for achieving these results were suggested and it was impressed on the younger women that this would be their task, as the older ones had practically finished their work. This address of surpa.s.sing eloquence closed with these words:

G.o.d's order will come again to the world's stricken, unhappy, much-suffering people. It will come because the divine law of evolution never ceases to operate and the destiny of the race leads eternally on without pause. So much sacrifice and sorrow as the war has cost the world can not have been endured in vain....

As I view world politics the only possible hope for the happiness, prosperity and permanent peace of the world lies in the thorough democratization of all governments. There can be no democratization which excludes women and no safe or sound democracy which is not based upon an educated, intelligent electorate. Nor is it enough to establish democracy in individual nations--it must be extended to world politics. The old militarism must go and with it the old diplomacy, with its secret treaties, distrust and intrigues. No League of Nations can abolish war unless every government in the world is based on democracy.

In our home countries we should urge support of every movement for the extension of popular education, foster every agency which helps men and women to think for themselves, promote every endeavor to maintain honest elections, judicially conducted campaigns and high ideals in parties and parliaments, for democracy succeeds when and where independence and intelligence are greatest.

A few of the delegates wished to disband the Alliance; a few others desired to change the character of its objects, but by an overwhelming majority it was voted to continue it along the original lines, although broadened, until the women of all countries were enfranchised. The Congress was held in the Maison Communale de Plainpalais, the large town hall in a suburb of Geneva, and here one evening its munic.i.p.ality gave a reception to the members. The shady gardens and sunny terrace were the scene of many social gatherings.[228] The congress opened with a roll call of the suffrage victories and the responses showed the almost unbelievable record that twenty countries had enfranchised their women during the years of the war! The Official Report was edited by Miss Chrystal Macmillan, recording secretary of the International Alliance, and the Introduction was a graphic review, which said in part:

"Despite the difficulties of travel and the fact that only three months' notice had been given the gathering at Geneva was more widely representative than any previous meeting. Women were present from thirty-six countries. Of the twenty-six affiliated with the Alliance at the time of the last meeting, in 1913, the auxiliaries of nineteen showed their continued vitality by sending fully accredited delegates to Geneva. Representatives were also present from the former auxiliaries in Austria and Germany, who were accorded full membership rights. The Russian national president, a fugitive from her country, was unable to come but sent her greetings. The Belgian society abstained from taking part and from the Polish and Portuguese auxiliaries no answer was received.

"Four countries, Greece, Spain, Argentina and Uruguay, sent delegates from newly formed National Suffrage Societies, which were accepted in the Alliance. In addition there were present women from Armenia, the Crimea, Lettonia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey and Ukrainia. For the first time women from India and j.a.pan came to tell of the beginnings of the organized movement among the women of the East. It was only the difficulties of travel which prevented the delegates who had started on their journeys from China, Egypt and Palestine from arriving in time for the congress. For the first time more than half the voting delegates represented countries in which women had the full suffrage. The consequent increased political importance of the congress was recognized by the governments of the world, of which eighteen in Europe appointed official representatives, and the United States of America and Uruguay of South America. The Secretariat of the League of Nations also sent a representative....

"The outstanding feature of the first business session was the announcement of particulars by representatives of the many nations which had given the political and suffrage and eligibility to women between 1913 and 1920--Austria, British East Africa, Canada, Crimea, Czecho-Slovakia, Denmark, Esthonia, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Lettonia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Rhodesia, Russia, Sweden, Ukrainia and six more of the United States.

It was announced that women sit as members of Parliament in the majority of these countries, while large numbers are members of munic.i.p.al councils. In the United States of America the Federal Suffrage Amendment had pa.s.sed both Houses of Congress and had been ratified by thirty-five of the necessary thirty-six States. Serbia, Belgium and Roumania had granted Munic.i.p.al suffrage to women and the Zionists of Palestine and the Commune of Fiume had given to them full equal suffrage and eligibility.... It was decided to arrange at the next congress a session at which only enfranchised women should speak.... The Catholic Woman Suffrage Society of Great Britain was accepted as a member of the Alliance....

"Each of the three evening meetings, besides that of Sunday, which were all crowded and enthusiastic, was characteristic of a different aspect of the present development of the suffrage movement. On Monday, a special feature was the speeches of five women members of Parliament--Helen Ring Robinson (State Senate), Colorado; Elna Munch, Denmark; Annie Furuhjelm, Finland; Lady Astor, Great Britain; Tekla Kauffman, Wurtemberg. In all, nine women members of Parliament attended the Congress. The others, who spoke at later meetings, were Frau Burian and Adelheid Popp of Austria; Mme. Petkavetchaite of Lithuania and Adele Schrieber-Krieger, whose election to the German Reichstag was announced during the Congress. On Wednesday at the great meeting in the Hall of the Reformation, three-minute speeches were given by representatives of each of the enfranchised countries in the Alliance. Yet another new aspect was ill.u.s.trated by the meeting of Thursday, addressed by women from India and China. The speeches showed how similar are the difficulties of the women of both the East and the West and how much new ground has still to be broken before the object of the Alliance is achieved."

The forenoons were devoted to business meetings relating to the future work of the Alliance and they were in session simultaneously in different rooms in the great building--Women and Party Politics, Legal Status of Women, Civil Equality, Economic Value of Domestic Work of Wives and Mothers, Equal Pay for Equal Work, Single Moral Standard, Protection of Childhood--questions affecting the welfare of all society in all lands, pressing for solution and in all practically the same. The afternoons were given largely to the reports from many countries.[229] _The Woman's Leader_, organ of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship of Great Britain, in its account of the Congress said:

The effect of these reports was intensely dramatic, mingled, as it inevitably was, with the memories of the strange and bitter conditions under which the change had come. In some of the countries that had been at war enfranchis.e.m.e.nt came in the midst of revolution, riot and disaster; in others it came fresh and new with the beginning of their independent national life and almost as a matter of course. "Our men and women struggled together for our national freedom," said delegate after delegate from the new States of Europe, "and so when any of us were enfranchised we both were." The report on the election of women to national or munic.i.p.al bodies was deeply interesting and in many respects surprising. Germany easily surpa.s.sed other countries in this respect, having had 39 women members in the last National a.s.sembly, 155 in the Parliaments of the Federated States and 4,000 on local and munic.i.p.al bodies. In Denmark the record of success that followed the election of women was astonishing. "We have done," said the spokeswoman, "what we set out to do; we have introduced equal pay and equal marriage laws; our equality is a fact."

Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the Alliance, welcomed each new representative in the name of all the countries, and, although the victories had been won in times of stress and war, the rejoicing was without rivalry, for in the Congress from the first day until the last no sign or mark of ill-feeling or enmity was to be found. Not that the delegates forgot or disregarded the recent existence of the war; no one who saw them would suppose for a moment that they were meeting in any blind or sentimental paradise of fools. Their differences and their nations'

differences were plain in their minds and they neither forgot nor wished to forget the ruined areas, the starving children and the suffering peoples of the world. They met differing perhaps profoundly in their national sentiment, their memories and their judgments but determined to agree where agreement was to be found; to understand where understanding could be arrived at and to cooperate with the very best of their will and their intelligence in a.s.suring the future stability of the world.

An important report was that of the Headquarters Committee, consisting of Mrs. Catt, Mrs. Millicent Garrett Fawcett, first vice-president of the Alliance, Mrs. Adela Stanton Coit, treasurer, and Miss Macmillan.

Mrs. Coit was chairman the first two years and Mrs. Fawcett the rest of the time. After the Congress at Budapest in 1913 the official monthly paper _Jus Suffragii_ was removed from Rotterdam to London and the international headquarters established there. For the next seven years the three members of the committee resident in London held regular meetings, seventy altogether, consulting Mrs. Catt by letter or cable when necessary. Miss Mary Sheepshanks was editor and headquarters secretary. "She occupied that post with great acceptance till 1919," said the report, "when it was with much regret that her resignation was accepted. Mrs. Elizabeth Abbott was appointed to the place, where in connection with the preparations for the present Congress her organizing capacity has been of special value." Miss Rosika Schwimmer of Hungary was appointed press secretary to furnish the news to the international press but her work had hardly begun when the war broke out and she resigned the position to take up work for peace.

The report told of the meeting of the international officers and a number of the national presidents which took place in London in July, 1914, to make arrangements for the Congress in Berlin the next year.

Among the many social receptions given were one in the House of Commons and one at the home of former Prime Minister Balfour. Mrs.

Catt had just started on her homeward voyage when the war began. The officers in London at once issued a Manifesto in the name of the Alliance and presented it to the British Foreign Office and the Amba.s.sadors and Ministers in London, which after pointing out the helplessness of women in this supreme hour said: "We women of twenty-six countries, having banded ourselves together in the International Woman Suffrage Alliance with the object of obtaining the political means of sharing with men the power which shapes the fate of nations, appeal to you to leave untried no method of conciliation or arbitration for arranging international differences which may help to avert deluging half the civilized world in blood." They decided to cooperate with the British branch of the Alliance in a public meeting, which was held August 3 with Mrs. Fawcett in the chair, and a resolution similar to the above was adopted. In the next issue of the _International News_, when war had been declared, Mrs. Fawcett in her official capacity wrote:

We are faced by the disruption, the animosity, the misunderstanding caused by war but notwithstanding the cruel strain we must firmly resolve to hold our International Alliance together. We must believe all through that good is stronger than evil, that justice and mercy are stronger than hatred and destruction, just as life is stronger than death. We women who have worked together for a great cause have hopes and ideals in common; these are indestructible links binding us together. We have to show that what unites us is stronger than what separates us. Between many of us there is also the further link of personal friendship cemented by many years of work together. We must hold on through all difficulties to these things which are good in themselves and must therefore be a strong help to us all through these days of trial.

"In this spirit the Headquarters Committee has endeavored to carry out its task," said its report, "and it has so far succeeded that it is in a position today to lay down its work without any society having been lost to the Alliance and with a considerable group of countries never before a.s.sociated with it now seeking affiliation." The great difficulty of getting the paper into the various countries was described but it was accomplished; the paper never missed an issue; it remained absolutely neutral and the number of subscribers largely increased. It was the one medium through which the women of the warring nations came in touch during the four and a half years of the conflict. All through the war it had news of some kind from the various countries showing that their women were still engaged in organized work for many useful purposes. It was evident that in practically all of them they were demanding that women should have a voice in the government.

The headquarters cooperated with other international organizations in forming the International Woman's Relief Committee and the work was conducted in its rooms. More than a thousand foreign girls were sent or taken to their countries and hundreds of British, French and Belgian women brought from Germany and Belgium to London. The work among Belgian refugees would require many pages to describe.

Mrs. Fawcett and Mrs. Catt were preparing to send a deputation from the Alliance to the Peace Conference to ask for a declaration for woman suffrage when the National Woman Suffrage a.s.sociation of France, through its president, Mme. DeWitt Schlumberger, took the initiative and called for the national a.s.sociations of the allied countries to send representatives to Paris to bring pressure on it. They were cordially received by the members of the Conference and a p.r.o.nouncement in favor of the political equality of women and eligibility to the secretariat was placed in the const.i.tution of the League of Nations, which attracted the attention of the world.

When the plan of holding the Congress of the Alliance at Berlin in 1915 had to be given up Holland sent an urgent invitation for that year but its acceptance was not considered feasible. The Swedish Auxiliary wanted it held at the time and place of the Peace Conference but this was found to be inadvisable. The majority of the officers and auxiliaries in the various countries wished to have a congress the next spring after the Armistice but there proved to be insurmountable obstacles. Toward the end of 1919 an invitation was accepted from the suffrage societies in Spain to come to Madrid in 1920. Preparations were under way when local opposition developed which made it necessary to abandon the plan. Switzerland had already invited the congress and it gladly went to Geneva.

In the report of Mrs. Coit, the treasurer, she said:

You will remember that at Budapest in 1913 a sum of about 2,000 pounds was raised, mostly by promises of yearly donations for the period of two years. This sum was to finance headquarters and the paper till we met in Berlin in 1915. In August, 1914, not even all the first instalments had been received, and from then on, owing to war conditions, it became impossible for some of our biggest donors to redeem their pledges. By the beginning of 1917 we found ourselves with an empty exchequer and facing the possibility of closing down our work. It was then that help came from our auxiliary in the United States. Mrs. Catt, with the help of her many devoted friends, raised a sum of $4,333, which was placed at our disposal and has enabled the Alliance to keep going. When speaking of the United States' help I wish to make special mention of the splendid work for the Alliance by Miss Clara M. Hyde, private secretary for Mrs. Catt. To her incessant interest and energy it is due that the number of honorary a.s.sociates in the U. S. A. now is at least three times as high as in any other country; also she has quite trebled the number of subscribers to the _International News_ in the States. Her devoted work is an example of what can be done by a single national auxiliary to further the development of the Alliance, and I recommend her example for universal imitation.

The United States Auxiliary continued to add to the above sum and from May, 1916, to May, 1920, it sent in membership dues, subscriptions to the paper and donations $9,337. Mrs. Frank M. Roessing, president of the Pennsylvania Suffrage a.s.sociation, was responsible for collecting over $5,000 of this amount.

The money for the Congress in Geneva, about $3,500, was raised by a British committee of which Miss Rosamond Smith was chairman and Mrs.

Pethick Lawrence treasurer. To this fund the United States, which had not suffered from the war to the extent of European countries, was a large contributor. At the close of the congress there were no funds on hand for the coming year and the delegates from all countries were feeling the effects of the war financially. At this critical moment Mrs. Katharine Dexter McCormick of the United States, corresponding secretary of the Alliance, made a contribution of $5,000, and a little later the Leslie Commission added $4,000. This with individual subscriptions raised the amount of about $15,000 and guaranteed the expenses for resuming and continuing the work of the Alliance.

From the organization of the Alliance in Berlin in 1904 Mrs. Catt had been the president and at no election had there been another candidate. Her strong desire to relinquish the office was overruled at Budapest. She went to Geneva with the positive determination not to accept it again but she faced an equally determined body of delegates.

Not only was she supported by all from the Allied Countries, as they were known during the war, but she was equally acceptable to those from the Central Countries. She was literally compelled to retain the office.

Nominations for the other officers were made by ballot and submitted to the convention and the ten receiving the highest number of votes const.i.tuted the board. They were as follows: Mme. DeWitt Schlumberger (France), Miss Chrystal Macmillan (Great Britain), Mrs. Anna B.

Wicksell (Sweden), Mrs. Corbett Ashby (Great Britain), Dr. Margherita Ancona (Italy), Mrs. Anna Lindemann (Germany), Miss Eleanor Rathbone (Great Britain), Mrs. Katharine Dexter McCormick (U. S. A.), Mme.

Girardet-Vielle (Switzerland), Mrs. Adele Schreiber-Krieger (Germany).

Most of them were officers of the National a.s.sociation in their own countries. Miss Rathbone was also a member of the city council of Liverpool.

Among the twenty-two sent as Government delegates were Viscountess Astor, member of the British House of Commons; Mrs. Marie Stritt, city councillor of Dresden, and Mrs. Josephus Daniels, wife of the Secretary of the Navy, U. S. A. Invited members were present from nine countries, including ten from India, one from j.a.pan and the wife of the Tartar president of the Parliament of Crimea. There were fraternal delegates from six international a.s.sociations; from a.s.sociations in nearly every country in Europe (fourteen in Great Britain) and from South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Uruguay. Greetings were sent from a.s.sociations in many countries including China.

A number of the resolutions adopted have been foreshadowed in this report of the proceedings. Others were for the equal status of women with men on legislative and administrative bodies; full personal and civil rights for married women, including the right to their earnings and property; equal guardianship of their children by mothers; that the children of widows without provisions shall have the right to maintenance by the State paid to the mothers; that children born out of wedlock shall have the same right to maintenance and education from the father as legitimate children, and the mother the right of maintenance while incapacitated. Resolutions called for the same opportunities for women as for men for all kinds of education and training and for entering professions, industries, civil service positions and performing administrative and judicial functions, and demanded that there shall be equal pay for equal work; that the right to work of women, married or unmarried, shall be recognized and that no special regulations shall be imposed contrary to the wishes of the women themselves. A higher moral standard for both men and women was called for and various resolutions were adopted against traffic in women, regulations of vice differentiating against women and State regulation of prost.i.tution.

The Congress took a firm position on the League of Nations and its recognition of women in the following resolution: "The women of thirty-one nations a.s.sembled in congress at Geneva, convinced that in a strong Society of Nations based on the principles of right and justice lies the only hope of a.s.suring the future peace of the world, call upon the women of the whole world to direct their will, their intelligence and their influence towards the development and the consolidation of the Society of Nations on such a basis, and to a.s.sist it in every possible way in its work of securing peace and good will throughout the world."

A resolution was adopted that a conference of representative women be summoned annually by the League of Nations for the purpose of considering questions relating to the welfare and status of women; the conference to be held at the seat of the League, if possible, and the expenses paid by the League. The Board instructed Mrs. Ashby Corbett to arrange a deputation to the League of Nations to present resolutions and to ask for the calling of the conference as soon as possible.[230]

On the last day of the Congress from 5 to 7 o'clock the State Council of the Canton and the Munic.i.p.al Council of Geneva gave an official reception and tea to the delegates and visitors. The resolutions of thanks for the a.s.sistance and courtesies received from committees and individuals filled two printed pages. The _Woman's Leader_ thus closed its account: "The immense hospitality of Geneva and of the Swiss Consulate, the superb weather and the beautiful excursions by land and lake were above all praise.... Taking the Conference as a whole, with its concrete work and its general spirit, it is clear that it marks a new step forward. A new force has come into the politics of almost all the world. It is a force inspired at present with good will, a humanitarian and an internationalizing force, drawing together the thoughtful and disinterested women of all countries. It is a force that the world has need of and no Government should be so blind as to ignore it."

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The History of Woman Suffrage Volume VI Part 77 summary

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