Open main menu

Page:Woman and her possibilities.djvu/22

This page has been validated.

Much study has been devoted to men and women as human beings, and to the place they occupy, or are fitted to occupy, in the continuation and advancement of the race. Now the perpetuation of the human species is one thing, the advancement of the human race is quite another. I am not speaking of "eugenics" the wise-breeding, and the means of accomplishing it. I am thinking of the possibilities of men and women as individuals, and of the forces that will make each the best possible. I ask whether a great deal of what is regarded as of primary importance in the reform movement is not really secondary; whether we are not looking too much at moonbeams and the scintillations of stars, and neglecting the sun's light and heat; whether, in many instances, we are not fixing our attention too much on the claims of many and diverse minorities and exceptions, and overlooking the great mass of humanity; whether, in much of what we call recent advance and present requirements, we are not working at the circumference and letting the centre hang untrue; whether we are not trying to deal with the individual sparks and neglecting the fire. Is it possible that women and their sympathizers may be pointing at stones and asking for them, thinking they are loaves of bread the bread of life itself? If women got an eight-hours' household day; if they had every field of industrial and professional work open to them, with wages boards and all that these imply, competing with men in a free field and with no favour, and receiving equal wages for equal work; if, when married, they received a fixed share of the husbands' incomes, paid directly to them for domestic purposes; if there were universal suffrage for them as for men; if they were eligible for seats in parliament and on all public boards in which women and children have a