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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/256

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

acknowledge that woman ought to be represented in this fashion, or else allowed to deposit a ballot for herself. The proposition of woman suffrage alone does not trouble them, but they stumble over the corollaries of political life and officeholding, and, rightly judging that the trio are logically involved and claimed by suffragists, they demur at the result or reject all together.

Political avocations seem to them utterly alien to the womanly nature, or at least to what they know of it; and since their conception of this elusive quality is undoubtedly founded on the particular instances which have fallen within their experience, it would be useless to oppose it with a flurry of words. One of their number, however, in a paper on The Political Rights and Duties of Woman, is explicit, and furnishes us with several statements which may be debated. To the performance of political functions by women, he holds there is "a serious natural impediment" that "four fifths of the women all the world over, between the ages of twenty and sixty, are occupied with paramount domestic obligations incompatible with public service." "Under this disability of Nature, or closely related to it, all the objections to the exercise of political functions by women may be classed, so that no other objection need be considered."

It is no longer, then, a vaporous theory that confronts us, but an array of questionable facts. The condition of four fifths of the women "all the world over" is certainly beside the issue. We have no reliable statistics regarding them, and we are not at present concerned with their political disabilities. The ballot is demanded only for the women of civilized communities, where the right of suffrage is already possessed by men, and the question is immediately pertinent to those in the United States. Here statistics are available, and in New York State they run as follows:

Women between, the ages of nineteen and sixty-five.
Total number 1,707,655
Married women 1,244,291
Mothers[1] 1,238,070
Mothers disqualified for public service 550,252
Eligible women 1,157,403
= 67 per cent of the whole.

Comparing men, we find certain classes among them ineligible to political office by reason of their professional or business duties, yet disfranchisement of their sex on that account has never been considered. Priests and ministers of the gospel, even if devoting some time to politics, could not give to public office "that entirety


  1. The general proportion of mothers among married women is ninety-five per cent. Of these, the maximum number disqualified would be four ninths.