a Leading Woman Coluranlat ba~
frorn an address by _
fore the ASSOCIATED WOMEN'S CLUB OF AMERICA
We must have what the men have. It may not be much?
but we mean to have. If we cannot get it with-
out friction, then we will get it with friction.
If we cannot get it through our organizations, then
we will get it thru our combinations: or both if
We refuse to be poked in,the gallery any longer
and Insist on being plao*d on the floor of tha
We are willing to look up at the men, but we don't
always want to be forced or held down without being
able to make a few motions of our own.
We want to hold our ends up to the men and show
them our possibilities whenever anything arises
that will fill our expectations
Nothing that comes will be too hard for us.
**** * '
We women have always been Interested In good
xnfcsundn movements and yill always take any load
that is given us,
We are willing to work under the men that are notr
above us as in the past, to the point of exhaustion, If necessary, but vo are beginning to become
disgusted with their failures and shopt-comings*
Never, when anything Arose that requUfiP our presence and attention, have we fa Had to come, and
co.ua again If occasion required It*
But too often have our enthusiasms baen aroused
with false promises, and too often have our hopes
and strivings been met wifchxfeeble performance
which left us disappointed and unsatisfied
flow have our efforts to push forward our sals
been met In the house with the ory "Down with I
petticoats". Now I say, UP WITH PETTICOATS AND
DOWN WITH PASTS. Then Will things be seen In thai*
As long as we women are split
men will always be on top.
up as we are, the
Within the last month and in less
jjithan 24 hours, some 30 volunteers
!' were recruited to work in NOW's
National ERA Ratification campaign
from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia,
Tennessee and Colorado.
For these 30 recruits it has meant
leaving the accustomed comforts of
their own homes, taking leaves of
absence from jobs, arranging to have
family responsibilities covered, forsaking familiar places and routines for
Since 49 B.C. when Julius Caesar
made the fateful decision to lead his
army across a small river, called the
Rubicon, in northern Italy, (an act that
precipitated a civil war though it led to
his eventual conquest of the Roman
Empire), "crossing the Rubicon" has -llsllil
meant — by dictionary definition — "to
embark on an undertaking from which
there is no turning back."
In a real sense, these feminists
have also crossed a Rubicon: it was an
act of conviction, heavily laced with
unregenerate idealism and a sobering
belt of cynicism. Theirs is a passion for
>the impossible-made-possible by
sheer grit and a wily inventiveness.
But no one who has worked — as they
have — open-eyed in the ERA ratification campaigns in the states retains
any naive illusions about the democratic process, majority rule, or the
triumph of either logic or justice. With
the most prestigious and reliable of
polls showing nearly 70% of the population of this country in support of the
effort to strengthen and change
women's status, they — democratic
process, majority rule, logic, justice —
are all subject to perversion by a determined, moneyed, and frenetic
This side or the Hubicon there is the
uncommon chance for living uncommon lives as opposed to those of
In sum, there is the opportunity to
live extra ordinary lives with the sense
of being exceptional people in exceptional circumstances in the vanguard
of a great —- and historically inevitable
— advance of civilization.
For though they lose a thousand
"battles," they cannot lose "the war."
They are not the defenders of the
status quo, the desperate mythol-
ogizers of the past seeking to enshrine it forevermore.
Who, after all, celebrates those
who fought against education for
women? Their right to own property
and be guardians of their children?.
Their right to limit child-bearing? Their
right to vote?
Those who have crossed the Rubicon accelerate the future. They know
that victory — ultimately — must*