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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, October 21, 1913, Image 2

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-10-21/ed-1/seq-2/

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were moved by Dr. Hedger's speech or the thousands of young women who
would never know the joy of happy motherhood because their health was
!?ft behind them on the machines of the sweetshops.
I was once connected with a large mail order house, employing 4,000
fjirls," said Dr. Heder. "More than 2,000,of these girls were treated every
month. The mediciffe-oaras made in five-gallon lots. One-fourth of them
had headaches caused by eye-strain; others had hysteria from nerve strain;
others had pains in the back from too much stress in Chicago life.
"Girls may be divided into three classes as to future motherhood. To
the first class belongs the girls who are so fine that nothing hurts them.
These girls may go through college without harm. If of necessity they enter
tne economic mill to earn their own
living they come out without physi
cal injury. They marry at about 30
years of age and have children. But
few girls belong to this class.
"The second class of girls should
never be allowed to marry. They
were never intended to reproduce
their kind and become a factor in the
race. They should be educated to
work. They have inherited nervous
troubles or perhaps are tubercular.
Reproduction would possibly cost
them their life.
"To the third class belong the great
army of women who have one or two
weaknesses, but who are not unfit to
take their places in the scheme of
life. TheyTshould think of marriage
and learn of the divinity of mother
hood. "France is greatly worried over
the low birth rate, but the birth rate
among American mothers is just as
low. It is the foreign women who
make the birth rate in this country.
The American mothers are unable to
nurse their children for the necessary
nine months. This is the cause of all
the infant mortality we hear so much
about.
"There are two causes for the in
efficiency of Chicago girls for moth
erhood. These may be traced to the
school and the home. In neither
"place have the girls been conserved.
People have been so carried away
with the economic necessity in the
last fifty years that a girl has never
been considered as a race factor. She
has been judged as an earning power,
not as a future mother. The ques-
tion now is to have girls capable of j
both earning money and becoming
mothers.
"In schools girls are pale from
climbing stairs to get to algebra les
sons. And if they don't 'go to schools
,the truant officers are after them.
"Schools were made for men, -The
present education scheme is bad
enough even for boys. But our girls
outstrip them in school work at the
expense of motherhood.
"A normal rhythm should be estab
lished in every girl. This can be.done
by eliminating too must standing and
too much rush for the girls in the
working world or in the colleges."
Mrs. Washburne's opinion is not
quite as scientific, but is intensely
human. She knows working girls
and understands their sorrows. She
doesn't quite take the same view of
the question as Dr. Hedger. She
holds out more hope for the second
class of working girls as described by
the' doctor. She sees a light far
ahead. But the light is held in the
rather doubtful hands of the em
ployer of girl labor.,...
"The question is simply an eco
nomic one," she told a reporter for
The Day Book. "The hard work and
the terrible conditions that the work
ing girls of today have to face are
not conducive to motherhood.
"Girls who have to worry about the
necessities of life can not very well
plan for the future. The environ
ment of the sweatshop destroys the
spirit of motherhood in the sirls. T
linow that in some of- the big plants
of this city fine, young girls are losing
their chance of becoming mothers of
."i .JuAiaiwfaabi;
iirtfiittftoi ,.

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