JUNE 7, 1951
NEW YORK, Wednesday—On Sunday afternoon I went to Town Hall to meet the Egyptian delegation that Town Hall has brought over to tour this country. I found them all interesting people and was especially glad to meet the woman who now heads a girls' training school in Cairo.
I also met a young Egyptian girl who is doing graduate work at Cornell after having spent two years at Bryn Mawr. This youngster plans to go in for social service work in her own country after preparing herself here. She seems to be happy in her work and in her contacts with young Americans and I am sure she will make a contribution in her own country on her return. She has enthusiasm and charm, two very valuable assets.
Egypt has begun to formulate a series of social security laws which, when they are translated into action, will certainly benefit the people. I understand that they already have several hundred health centers established to teach hygiene in various towns and villages, and that the opportunities for education are rapidly improving. Even the women who, less than 30 years ago, had very little opportunity to receive the same type of education as men, are now given this opportunity to a greater extent.
I was a little shocked the other day to read in a column by Dorothea Cruger an account of some of the resolutions passed by the members of the National Women's Party in their three-day convention in Washington.
She reports that they reaffirmed their complete "devotion" to the task of "freeing American women from the position of chattels."
I don't think many American women will identify themselves in that category. I doubt whether the Egyptian women to whom I was talking the other afternoon consider themselves in that category today in Egypt either.
An equal rights amendment, to which these dear ladies of the National Women's Party have been devoting themselves these past several years, can be passed or not be passed without much good or much harm being done. I think we have reached a point where women are well enough organized in industry so that they can protect themselves. The arguments that I felt valid for many years—that women needed protection in industry—seem to me no longer very important.
I still feel more would be gained if women in every state devoted themselves to the removing of state laws that discriminate against them. But, certainly, an equal rights amendment will do neither harm nor good, and if it gives anyone a sense of satisfaction to have it passed I am delighted that they should feel that satisfaction.
One resolution, however, which asked the President to establish "an independent agency to replace the Women's Bureau in the Department of Labor," seems to me a little unnecessary. If this aim is achieved the bureau now existing will "aid all the women of the United States to secure equality of rights under the law," just as it always has done in the past.
The National Women's Party also asks that the United Nations Covenant on Human Rights include "an explicit recognition of equality of rights for men and women in all fields." I do not think there is any difference made between men and women in any of the rights included in the Human Rights Covenant.