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EDINBURGH.-An amateur concert was given on May 26th, in the Queen Street Hall in aid of the finances of the Edinburgh Suffrage Society. Miss Simpson, who appeared in the double rôle of conductor and solo vocalist, was assisted by a choir of ladies, and solos were given on the pianoforte and violin by a lady amateur and by Madare Woycke respectively. A large audience were present "probably attracted,” the Scotsman suggests, “ by the unusual spectacle of a lady wielding the baton, and Miss Simpson's ability in this capacity was on a par with that of many conductors of the other sex.”
DEMOCRATIC FEDERATION.-At the annual conference of the Democratic Federation, on May 31st, in Palace Chambers, Westminster, Mr. W. Morgan proposed that - Manhood” should be substituted for “ Adult” suffrage in the requirements of the Federation. He did so on the ground that the women's suffrage movement directly supported property qualification for electoral power, which was just what Democrats had been fighting against all their lives. Mr. John Clark seconded the motion, but after a short discussion in which Miss Helen Taylor, Mr. H. Burrows, Miss Craigen and others took part, it was withdrawn. THE Echo says:
- The Duke of Rutland has invited the Sheffield Tories to Belvoir Castle for a holiday. The Castle and grounds will be thrown open to visitors. This is one of the happy results of the extension of the suffrage. Dukes never gave such invitations to filegrinders till the filegrinders had votes." Following on this argument, we may add that women will never have their share of privileges till women have the vote. WOMEN AS INSPECTORS OF FACTORIES AND WORK
SHOPS. A conference, convened by the Women's Protective and Provident League, was held on May 20th, at the Westminster Palace Hotel, to consider the advisability of the appointment of women as inspectors or subinspectors of factories and workshops in which girls and women are employed, and which are now inspected only by men, Lord Shaftesbury occupying the chair.
Mrs. PATERSON, the hon. sec., read a paper pointing out some of the deficiencies of the present factory inspection, and referred to the very satisfactory results of the plan pursued in France of employing women in this capacity.
The number has been raised from seven to nine, and the number of visits paid by them in one year was 18,000 to 20,000. Night visiting thus became possible, and had induced a very happy improvement; indeed, the President of the Municipal Department in Paris, wrote that the results had surpassed his hopes.
Miss HEATHER BIGG moved:
That this Conference is of opinion that it is not desirable that the inspection of factories and workshops where girls are employe should be entirely in the hands of men, and strongly recommend the employment of competent women." Miss Heather-Bigg supported this on the ground of common fairness, so large a proportion of the workers being women. She thought, too, women would bring to bear on the subject minute observation and acquaintance with domestic economy, and would obtain information which while it might not find its way into a blue-book, would be most useful towards improving the condition of the employed.
Mr. Hodgson Pratt thought those should have a share in the inspection of factories who best knew the wants of those who work in them. The two things wanted are grasp of principles, and their application in practice. Men were best adapted for the former, women for the latter. Sanitary legislation has largely broken down owing to the lack of conscientiousness in details. The speaker thought women would be less likely to be humbugged" than men.
Miss Whyte, representing the bookbinders, briefly supported the motion, and Miss Wilkinson, secretary of the Upholsteresses' Union, pointed out in a very telling speech, the need for reform. The sanitary arrangements of many London workshops are so disgraceful that many a girl's health has been injured for life. All that is asked is that women shall inspect places where women are employed, and of these there are thousands in London. At present, work-women in London scarcely know what inspection is, make them feel it, for they need it. In West-end tailors' and dressmakers' establishments, employees are sometimes at work till twelve, and even till two in the morning, and Miss Wilkinson has known the girls so worn out as to have to be carried up to bed. She advocated a very thorough inspection.
Mr. Mocatta boped the time was coming when mens' and womens' interests would be identical, and he thought the differences of character were not so much physical, as induced by training and habit. It was very desirable women should be inspectors.
Mrs. Charles, guardian of Paddington Board, thought the batches of children sent from the workhouse schools to the mill-owners, who boarded and lodged them, giving them a trifle as pocket money, sorely needed inspection. Masters expected to have their services
till twenty-one, and the system was little better than the old appren ticeship one.
Miss Brown wisely asked for one or two female inspectors as an experiment. The factory, like the School Board Act, is constantly evaded, but the women have no idea that they have any right to speak to the Inspector.
Mr. C. B. McLaren, M.P., referred to the absurdity of employing men to inspect who knew nothing about the work.
It having been carried that a deputation, introduced by the Earl of Shaftesbury, wait upon the Home Secretary, to urge upon him the desirability of appointing Female Inspectors, Miss Simcox, M.L.S.B., (Westminster) moved a vote of thanks to the Chairman.
Miss Simcox thought the Act worked fairly for the factories but not for the workshops, and that the number of inspectors would have to be increased. The requirement of more efficient sanitary arrangements would gradually extinguish the smaller factories. As a specimen of the arduous work of some poor women, the speaker knew one who by working from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and all day Sunday, earned 7s. per week by making policemen's coats.
Mr. Alsager Hill thought an increase of inspectors would not find favour, but that women ought to be nominated in the same way as
It was not so needful to have a great number of inspectors as to test the machine at the right place.
The Earl of Shaftesbury concluded the meeting with a sympathetic address. He was always glad to hear what women had to say about taking their share in the public work of the country. He made generous reference to the wonderful way in which women had latterly shown their capacity. His lordship showed how there was no principle against the appointmeut of women as inspectors, but some difficulty about the details, which he succinctly enumerated. (1) The question of physical strength. (2) Could women withstand the brow-beating of masters, or the roughness of overlookers ?
(3) Should the inspectors be married or single, or of any particular age ? (t) Special legislation was still necessary for married women, if other adults were exempted. (5) The distribution of the duties between the inspectors of both sexes. Despite objections, his lordship approved altogether of the principle, and agreed to introduce the deputation.
SOCIETY FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN.
The Annual Report of the Society gives the usual satisfactory account of the work done by very small means, the annual income being less than £500. With these small means temporary work has been found 313 times, '70 young women have begun to learn some kind of business, and permanent employment has been procured for 62.
Lithography is an occupation little practised in this country by women, but to which the society has apprenticed two girls who are making good progress, in
the establishment of Mr. Wilday, of Castle Street, Holborn. The office in Westminster for tracing the Plans of Engineers and Architects is succeeding very well in its new premises, 8, Great Queen Street. A register for waitresses was opened two years ago, and there are several who attend parties at a fee of 5s. to 7s. 6d. The demand for book-keeping increases, and a class is held at the office weekly. Girls should bear in mind that there are few clerkships for which a knowledge of book-keeping is not necessary, Between forty and fifty women are employed on Mr. Kelly's Directories, and the majority have been introduced by this society. The Postmaster General's testimony to the excellent work of the female clerks in the Post Office is well-known. “I am glad,” he says, “ to be able to say that the female clerks and telegraphists employed by the Post Office have given general satisfaction. So much is this the case that the employment of women has been gradually and steadily extended." Nomination is no longer necessary for any Clerkship in the Post Office. All the clerkships are obtained now through open competitive examination. As soon as the nomination lists are exhausted the counterwomen and returners will be appointed from the women in lower departments. The Telephone Company now employs between fifty and sixty young women, of these ten were introduced by the Society. They begin at 11s. weekly, rising to 16s., and clerks in charge get more than this. The School of Wood Engraving established by the City and Guilds of London Technical Institute continues to prosper, and Mr. Roberts and the Superintentent report that the girls are making satisfactory progress. In November, 1879, the Committee resolved to raise a special fund to pay the rent of a room for two years in connection with Mr. Roberts' office in Chancery Lane, in order that the students who had acquired the art might obtain employment. By October four of the girls had made such good progress that the room was taken and fitted
up, have been at work in it for the last six months, and some of them are beginning to earn very fair wages.
On Friday, May 12th, the Society held its annual meeting at the office, 22, Berners Street. The Earl of Shaftes
bury testified his interest in the Society by taking the chair, though scarcely recovered from an attack of gout. The office was prettily decorated with specimens of female work-wood carving, wood engraving, plan tracing, china painting, designs for wall papers, stained glass windows, and art needlework in great variety. The Twenty-third Annual Report which was read by the Secretary, was received with much satisfaction. Earl Fortescue, who moved the adoption of the Report, spoke emphatically of the value of the work done by the Society, drawing particular attention to the very small income at its disposal. He mentioned various practical callings in which women are engaged abroad. Mr. F. D. Mocatta seconded the motion, and spoke of the business-like character of the Report, and said that the women who were started by the Society should be regarded as missionaries sent out to convince the world that women can work steadily and well. The Hon. Norman Grosvenor moved the re-election of the Committee, which was seconded by Mr. Rowland Hamilton. Mr. Samuel Morley, M.P. announced the names of four gentlemen who had consented to be Vice-Presidents, Earl Fortescue, Lord Aberdare, Lord John Manners, and Sir Charles Trevelyan. He said that he had great pleasure in identifying himself with this movement, which had his hearty sympathy.
The Rev. Septimus Hansard, in proposing a vote of thanks to the chairman, took occasion to urge his conviction that the Society ought to be much better supported. Calling attention to the specimens of carving, engraving and other artistic work with which the room was decorated, he said there should be a large exhibition of women's work; people generally would scarcely believe that such good work was done by
He thought that the number of persons interested in the work should render it necessary to hold the Meetings of the Society in a much larger room.
Miss Cobbe seconced the motion, and touched upon the alleged inferiority of women's work which she attributed mainly to the fact that so many women are compelled, by miserabliy insufficient wages, to live on bread, butter, and slops, seldom enjoying the more nutritious food which is habitual to men.