OCTOBER 4, 1946
HYDE PARK, Thursday—The other evening, I attended a Democratic women's club meeting in a nearby town, and I am beginning to think that the question uppermost in women's minds is how they can make themselves heard. They feel that, through their organizations, they do not have as much influence as they should have.
Woman after woman asks me, "What shall I do to make it clear that I want peace?" They are not interested in controversies between government officials. They do not know a great deal about the difficulties of negotiating peace treaties, but they do know that they do not want their children to grow up with an atomic war hanging over their heads. They begin to feel that, if they could talk to the women of other countries, they might find some way to affect their governments.
When they get through talking about keeping the peace, then they begin talking about the home situation. And here again, the cry is: "How can we be effective in making our representatives know what we want and pay attention to us?" Though women have gone in for education on political questions, comparatively few of them have gone in for the kind of practical education which teaches them that there is only one way to influence a political party. That way is to work for their party and to become important enough in their own community so that, when they say they want something, the powers-that-be listen because, in return, they need the work the women can do.
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A young woman with little children naturally feels that it is impossible for her to leave her home and children and do political work. But if she is half as ingenious in finding ways to make herself useful to her party as she is in finding ways to run her house in these complicated days, she will somehow become a cog in the wheel of citizenship—and that is the essential thing for every one of us.
Housekeeping in the government is not really much more complicated than housekeeping in the home, and the way to understand government problems is to think them through the way you think through your home problems. You'll find that there is a great similarity between running a family of children and a home, and running a city and dealing with the city fathers.
I am glad to see women in this country asking at last, "How can we be effective?" If they really mean it and if we can arouse women in other countries, we are going to see some changes both at home and abroad.