14 January 1912, Canada
Women never took a single step forward without being pushed back first of all by their opponents.
We did not mind being laughed at as long as by laughter we could get our way to the vote.
But the laughter was also turned against the statesman who refused to answer us. The statesman is a sort of serious individual not to be mocked or jeered at, but it was somewhat undignified for the first minister of the crown to make his way out by the rear entrance with a horse cloth over his head or to pass by an underground passage to the post office and then be shot down the parcel tube.
People began to take us seriously then. A leading paper, when Mr. Asquith went to Birmingham, sent a wire to its local correspondent.
“Never mind the prime minister. What are the suffragettes doing?”
Our next move was the canvass, and with a distinct woman's platform we took the field.
We said, “Vote against the government till it gives women the vote.”
Candidates then began to complain that we took their audiences from them, but our reply was that the country was free, and if they wished to have a bigger house they should give better speeches.
Particularly in the working class districts we gained ground and we found that we went into the social problems that were within the province of women we found the support of men who were not skilled in party lore, but had human hearts.
We then became a real power in the election and government candidates where we worked against them were often defeated
There has been a great deal of talk lately of new legislation for those who are about to enter into marriage. Woman should have a say as one of the contracting parties. There are the questions of divorce and of the training of children. Who knows better of these matters than do women? There are also the trades and professions which are at the present time open to women. It is only right that we should have some say in the legislation concerning us. We have heard much of the English divorce law. It is a disgrace to any civilized country.
The only redeeming feature of the matter is that the bulk of men are better than the law allows.But there is the minority, and the law should be severe for them. They are as bad as the law allows them to be. If woman only had weight in politics this would be rectified soon.
She will serve to call more attention to such questions of national welfare. If we are to have any divorce law at all, and that is a muchdebated question, it should be a law that is equal both for man and woman. Unless women get the vote we have no guarantee that it will be so.
There is again the legal status of married persons.
Nature has given the child twoparents, the law gives but one, and it is the father when the child id born in wedlock, but if the child is born out of wedlock, it is the mother. Men have made these laws, but what we want is to have Nature’s law as man’s law
If we look around in the world, where do we see women happy, well treated and satisfied unless where the world has been made what women wish it to be? Men are responsible if they allow the present condition of things to continue. Women have the power to work out their own salvation. But as it’s, if a woman is ruined, if a child id injured, man is responsible for it all. It is a responsibility I would not care to have, and, as things are, I would not be a man for the entire world. If women fail as men have failed, then they will bear the burden with them. But since men cannot protect and shield us, let us share the duty with them, let us use our power so that woman may be a participant, not to tyrannize over man but to taketo share in the responsibilities of ruling, without which there is no real representative government.
What we really are interested in this fight is the uplifting of the sex and better conditions of humanity than men can secure. In the legal home there is but the man. What we want is the combined intelligence of man and woman working for the salvation of the children of the race. This will make for the world a better time than ever before in its history.
It will raise mankind to heights of which now it has little conception. We must only make this last fight for human freedom that as the class distinction disappeared so that sex distinction may pass, and then you will get better things than men can by themselves secure.