My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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PARIS, Friday—I talked to a group of philosophy students at the Sorbonne earlier this week and to my surprise their professors also were there—some of them leading authorities in the field. I had no intention of mentioning philosophy and was glad of it when I saw my audience.

I had hoped only the students would ask questions at the close of my speech, but most were asked by the professors. Not about philosophy, fortunately, but about student life in the United States.

They were proud that one of their students was studying at Iowa State University and mainly were interested in the opportunities for student exchange between American and French schools, particularly for those studying philosophy.

They were interested in making pen-friends with our students, too.

It was obvious that many of these young people had the hope that fate would someday give them the chance to study in the United States.

You will begin to think I spend all my time studying people, but the last few days have been exceptional.

* * *

At lunch yesterday we talked over some of the possible international effects the declaration of human rights may have when we finish it. But, of course, it is a little premature to be thinking about that.

Fair progress is being made, however, with Article 17 being accepted yesterday after much discussion. It reads:

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to speak and receive information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers."

This important article was accepted after much discussion in a meeting in which fifty-four nations were represented.

Discussion immediately began on Article 18. It had not been finished however when I left the session to attend a press conference which I'd requested to hold for the French newspaper people.

Their questions largely were kept on social and economic levels, for I think they feel as I do that the more important political questions should be handled by other people of the delegation more qualified to speak on them than I.

American family life was the chief topic of our conference. The newsmen wanted to know how many married women worked and was it morally harmful in the relationship between husband and wife and in the development of children. There were many other questions as to how important American women were in trade and labor unions, how influential their social organizations were and what political effect women are having in the U.S.

In France, since the war, women are taking much greater interest in politics and fill a great many more important positions in the government than ever before. I have been interested to find that some of them are married and have families.

With the shortage of domestic help and labor-saving devices, it must take an enormous amount of labor for a woman to hold any sort of outside job and keep up a home, too. Yet many of them do, and some even rise to great prominence.

This reminds me of a broadcast I made here not so long ago. Before we went on the air the French commentator who was to interview me asked that I stress labor-saving devices which made housework and the care of children easier. He said it would be wonderful if the French women would demand some of these conveniences and cease feeling that they must be slaves to their children and home.

After that broadcast, mothers told me that the kind of baby food which comes in small bottles—and is such a joy to the American mother—was almost unheard of here before the war. The same was true of diaper service.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL