FEBRUARY 9, 1940
BOSTON, Thursday—The members of the Democratic National Committee who were meeting in Washington, came to tea with me on Tuesday afternoon and I thought the ladies seemed particularly elated by the passage of a resolution which is a new milestone in the participation of women in party politics.
Steps of this kind are not of interest only to the women in one political party, they are of interest to all women, because what is done by one party is soon done also by the others. Those of us who believe that women's advice and influence are of importance in public affairs, look back with considerable interest at the record of our own particular party. In both major parties, the record shows the growing importance of women. I belong to the Democratic party, and so I give you my party's record here.
In 1919 the Executive Committee of the National Democratic Committee, anticipating the ratification of the constitutional amendment permitting women to vote, decided on September 27th, to admit women to membership. In 1920 Miss Charl Ormond Williams was elected vice chairman of the National Democratic Committee. In 1936, at the Democratic National Convention held in Philadelphia, women were named as alternates to the platform committee for the first time, with the privilege of voting when regular members were not present and now, on February 5th, 1940, the Democratic National Committee meeting in Washington, has passed the following resolution:
"Whereas, it is the sense of this committee that women be given an equal voice in the affairs of the Democratic party,
"Now, therefore, be it resolved, that this committee recommend to the next Democratic National Convention a consideration of a resolution there to be introduced, providing that each State, District and Territory shall name two members to serve on the committee on platform and resolutions, and that the members so designated by each State, District and Territory shall be of the opposite sex."
In addition, resolutions passed provided that four delegates-at-large be chosen from each State for each Senator in Congress and it was recommended to the States that one-half of these delegates be women.
At present, in the Democratic party, women have fifty-fifty representation on the state committees in 38 States. Only 9 States in the Union do not give women equal representation on some of the political committees, either by party regulations or by law.
Even more important than these gains, however, is the calibre of women chosen for political offices. I hope that every woman is going to feel a great responsibility, not only in holding party offices, but in choosing those who are to hold those offices and who will, therefore, represent the women of their communities.
I left Washington yesterday by the evening train for Boston. Space will not permit me today to tell you what I have done here and of one thing which occurred on Wednesday in Washington which meant a great deal to me, but fortunately there is another day coming.