My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

NEW YORK CITY, Friday—On Monday evening I went to see a play called "Picni." It seemed to me extremely well acted and was on the whole an interesting play. To many of the older people there it must have seemed a little too close to real life to be always entertaining, but there were plenty of laughs and I think it can be safely recommended to all as good entertainment.

I attended on Tuesday a luncheon given for the International Christian University in Japan. The wife of a Syracuse professor who was the first professor to arrive on the Japanese campus gave a very good picture of the vitality and vivid interest taken by the students who attend that university.

When Mrs. Harper Sibley, who presided at the lunch, told of her visit to the university with her husband and the answers which the young people gave her, I thought one got a good understanding of why this university is valuable.

She asked one young girl why she wanted to come to that particular university. The young lady answered that she wanted to attend a Christian university, though she did not want to become a Christian. She wanted to be a social worker in Japan, however, and she thought that only a Christian university could give her the right spirit and training for the work. In asking a boy the same question, he said he wanted to be treated as a person and allowed to develop along his own bent and only where there was Christian respect for the individual personality could that be permitted.

The ratio of girls in attendance is one girl to three boys and this is an exceptionally high percentage of girls, probably because in this university they have planned to have girls attend.

I remember asking in one university in Japan why the percentage of girls was so low and the president told me it was probably because they were not as well prepared, but the next day I got a letter from one of the girl students telling me about the difficulties a girl labored under to get through the university and I realized it was not preparation that was lacking but the possibility to live through the hardships of daily life. No facilities such as dormitories or dressing rooms were provided. They had to live in nearby Japanese homes under conditions which allowed for little privacy and thereby made both rest and study difficult.

I am sure as women gain in importance as individuals in Japan, these difficulties will be overcome, but Japan, like many other oriental countries, is going through great changes and these changes do not happen overnight. It takes time and adjustment before they become part of the "mores" of a country.

E. R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL