OCTOBER 30, 1956
WICHITA, Kan. —I sometimes wonder when the day will come when women of this country are rid of the feeling that they are not treated equally with men.
This feeling crops up in business, in the arts, in civil service, and in other fields of employment. Women feel they are not given equal opportunity with men for advancement or for the same wage rates. They continue to believe they are a "minority group."
I have repeatedly said that women, if they are to get treatment equal to men, must prove that they are better than men in their respective jobs. But I always have hoped there someday would be real equality of the sexes and that performance in a job alone would decide promotion and wages.
On this subject, I have a letter dealing with the position of women in government service in Washington. My correspondent says:
"When President Eisenhower said recently that the civil service system must never become involved with any political party he showed how little he knows about what is happening within the government.
"It would be difficult to secure the information, but I assure you it would be startling if the government agencies were asked to report the number of women promoted since 1952 in comparison with promotions for men.
"The President's committee on government employment policy is conducting a survey of the status of Negroes in the Federal service. Truly the problems encountered by women in Federal service are every bit as difficult."
I remember hearing women say some of these things way back in the days of my husband's Administration. On investigation at that time, I found that women held a great many important government posts but because of their sex, there was little chance of getting recognition for their work.
So I undertook to give a number of teas for women in important but little-known offices in the government, and at these affairs my husband met a goodly number of these women, whom he otherwise might never have seen or known about.
This was only one device. Something much better probably could be done now and then to provide recognition for all government employees, both men and women, who have served long and faithfully in their positions.
Celebration of October 24, United Nations Day, with a concert in the General Assembly hall of the U.N. headquarters here has become a custom. I attended the one last Wednesday, as usual. The Secretary-General of the U.N., Dag Hammarskjold, spoke at the intermission and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra gave a delightful program, featuring the Schola Cantorum and two well-known pianists, Leonid Hambro and Jascha Zayde.
The audience was different from those of previous years because the General Assembly will not be in session until after Election Day.
As a result, the audience consisted largely of the permanent delegation and friends of the U.N.
I was particularly interested in Colin McPhee's interpretation of the Bali music for the orchestra and two pianos, but I missed the dancing which so often goes with Balinese music.