JANUARY 14, 1944
WASHINGTON, Thursday—I met twice yesterday with a group of women, many of them heading national organizations, who are considering ways and means of making women more aware of their responsibilities as citizens. The group was called together by the committee on the national achievement award. It seems trite to say that with the privilege of voting there also goes an added responsibility. Women are often attacked because no radical changes have occurred since they obtained their rights as full citizens of this democracy, and now is the time to show that they recognize their responsibilities.
I have always contended that women have had a very great general influence on the trend of government in the past twenty-five years, but I cannot say that I think they have used their abilities and opportunities to the utmost. The time has now arrived when everyone who potentially can be a factor in shaping the future has the responsibility to take up his share of the burden.
There are two prerequisites for women as citizens. One is the knowledge of the problems. The second is an understanding of the way to bring about results. If women in their organizations begin to discuss these two points, some kind of action will surely follow.
I was interested to find that a number of the women with whom I talked yesterday were greatly in favor of a national service act, largely because they felt that the woman power of the nation was not yet being fully used. I also found a recognition of the fact that a national service act was linked to the control of prices and the prevention of a rise in the cost of living.
The newspapers have told us very fully of the need for participation on the part of labor in the general sacrifice. There should be no strikes in time of war. Labor leaders themselves have agreed to this. But there must continue to be an adjustment of situations which are inequitable. We have heard less in our papers, however, about the good deeds of labor than about its shortcomings. It is well to stress that this program is for an equal sharing of the burdens of the war. If wages are stabilized, prices must be stabilized too, and profits for all people, whether they are farmers, industrialists or workers in industry.
When the war is won, war measures should come to an end, or be rediscussed from the point of view of their value to us in the immediate postwar period. The people of this country are anxious to do their full share on every level. They want to work to the limit of their abilities, because practically all of them have an interest in someone whose life is at stake every day that the war continues. So profits mean little and privileges mean less. The end of the war is the object in view and I think it would be helpful if the newspapers would begin to chronicle the gestures of self-sacrifice that have been made by every group.