DECEMBER 28, 1938
WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I have just seen a statement given out by the National League of Women Voters on the trend, which seems fairly well established, of women's indifference to public affairs. In the course of ten years, the actual number of women in State legislatures has dropped from 149 in 38 States to 129 in 28 States. This is an indication of the fact that women, instead of taking a greater interest in public affairs, are taking less interest.
In Congress the number of women has dropped from 9 to five. It is evidently not just an aversion to holding public office, but a general lack of interest on the part of women either actively participating or supporting women who appear to be fitted for active participation. I deplore this and would like women in general to think about it, for it does mean that they are not bringing to bear all the influence they could in favor of such things as seem to them important in the life in their community.
I have a feeling that it is more important for women to begin their interest in public affairs in their local communities. They can hold office there, or promote other women for office, so that in local communities the balance would be 50-50 between men and women and the women's point of view would be a vital part of every community decision. If this could be done, there would undoubtedly be a gradual growth of interest which would spread to State and national affairs.
We had a quiet evening last night and saw a newsreel and a movie called "Trade Winds," which every one enjoyed. This morning, my niece, Miss Eleanor Roosevelt, and her brother, Henry Roosevelt, have gone off sightseeing with Miss Anne Grant and some other friends. They will probably be busy most of the afternoon answering the telephone and making arrangements for various guests who have lost their admission cards for tonight's party and do not know what to do about this or that situation. I think the modern custom of having ushers at these parties of the young is a pleasant one. Now every usher is in charge of a certain number of girls and it is his duty to see that no boy or girl dance together so long that they may wish to be separated.
I am going to lunch with some old friends today and then I expect to have a rather interesting group of people for tea, including Miss Linda Littlejohn, who is a leader of women's movements in Australia. I will tell you about her tomorrow.