NOVEMBER 24, 1942
WASHINGTON—I happened to read an article the other day in which it was stated that if women were going to work they could not take care of their homes and rear their families.
It would never occur to me that it would not be clear to any thinking person that even in a country where the manpower situation is as critical as it is in Great Britain, no woman with young children is even asked to go to work. Everything possible is being done to keep her in her own home and I agree 100 percent that a child is better off with its own mother, even though I know that some of them are not perfection.
Most of the little children in resident nurseries in Great Britain are there because it is better for them to be out of the big cities, which are more frequent targets for bombings. The other little children whom you find in day nurseries usually belong to women who, for one reason or another, must go to work. They very likely would leave their child or children with relatives, if they could.
The government thinks that better care is obtainable through a system of day nurseries and nursery schools and is, therefore, trying to encourage the mothers to leave them in such places. You may wonder why anyone should really be forced to ask care for little children outside the home. Yet if you stop to think, you will realize that there are a good many women in Great Britain whose husbands are already on the casualty lists and that means the mother is the breadwinner of the family. That may happen in other countries as well.
There is one thing I found most interesting in all the arrangements made for women who work in Great Britain. If you are in one of the military services, and your husband is coming home on leave, you may at once apply for leave yourself and it will be granted without any red tape, by your immediate superior. This is also true, I understand, in many of the factories. If a man is coming home on leave, his wife may get leave from her work in the factory at the same time.
I asked woman after woman how she managed her day, especially those who have children. The obvious answer was that in many ways the children who are older are expected to help out by having supper ready when mother comes home and by doing some of the cleaning and washing. This seems to be entirely successful, and I don't think does these older children any harm.