NOVEMBER 29, 1945
NEW YORK, Wednesday—Two of the women who went over to Paris for the International Labor Organization meeting are back in this country. Congresswoman Mary T. Norton got home a short time ago, but unfortunately Paris after this war seems to be as dangerous for civilians as it was after the last war. At that time almost everyone picked up some kind of germ, and Mrs. Norton seems to have done the same thing this time. Of course, we house and feed our people over there, but Mrs. Norton's illness points up a fact we should remember—namely, that all our efforts at isolation never really isolate us. If the greater part of the population is hungry and cold, disease will spread and the well-fed and well-housed people will suffer along with the others.
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Yesterday Miss Frances Perkins came back full of optimism and hope for the success of the ILO and its work. Her return made me reflect on many things. No Secretary of Labor has stood up under more press attacks than did Miss Perkins during the latter part of her public service. Even the women of the country failed, in many cases, to stand by this member of their own sex. You would hear people say: "We need a man, a strong man who will prevent strikes," or "We need someone who will knock the heads of the leaders in the labor movement together, and make them see the light," or "A strong man would make labor and management agree."
Well, we have the strong man, and everyone will agree that Secretary of Labor Schwellenbach has done as good a job as any man could do with the difficulties which face his department at the present time. I think it is not unfair to point out, however, that we have not done away with strikes, nor have we reconciled the warring elements in labor. Congress is no more cooperative than it was before, and though Secretary Schwellenbach on the whole has a better press, I don't believe he has any fewer worries.
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If we look back over Miss Perkins' whole record we will find that she accomplished a great deal. In view of that record, I hope many women now recognize the fact that, before condemning one of their own sex in office, they should really know the truth about the situations which the particular officeholder has to handle.
A woman will always have to be better than a man in any job she undertakes. There is no woman in the Cabinet today, but there will be again in the future. When there is, I hope she will get more support from the women of her own political party than has been the case in the past.