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The day book. [volume] (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, January 30, 1914, LAST EDITION, Image 10

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1914-01-30/ed-2/seq-10/

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EVERY DESCRIPTION OF THE GENTLE SEX ATTEND MONSTER
MEETING OF UNEMPLOYED WOMEN
BY JANE WHITAKER
Diffident, and filled with, the shame
of failure, they entered Cooper
Union in Nework city the other
day, a small armypto attend the first
meeting .of- its kind ever- held a
meeting qfnmemployed women.
They were., .young and they were
old; they were fresh cheeked and
they were -wrinkled; they were hqpe
ful and they-were hopeless; they were
.atiH bravely endeavoring to keep up
appearapces or irretrievably shabby.
There "was no soap box oratory.
There was no cry of "Down with the
capitalist" They didn't ask that
anyone be lowered, but only that
they might be helped up.
Around the hall were banners with
inscriptions: "We have helped enrich
the city. Whatwill the city do for
us?" "To deny us the right-to work
is to deny us the right to live."
At first they listened to the
speeches of social workers with a
weary stolidness, and then one or
two became bolder and told their own
stories.
Perhaps, if, like the soap box
orator, they had striven for effect,
they might have left their listeners
cold. But they did not care what the
rest thought; they only were telling
aloud what they had been saying
over and over to themselves.
Some of the younger social work
ers began to cry as the stories went
monotonously on, seemingly woven
of the same thread by different spin
ners. And the tears became choked sobs,
that sounded like an accompaniment
in major chords on a cello.
"I'm forty-five years old." She
was tall, gaunt, with deep circles un
der her eyes. "I might as well be
sixty, because I'm done. I tell you
rm done. I cannot get work. I
.have lived on $3 since Christmas, me
and my gM. How long is that2 God.
I don't know. I don't count days by-
hours any more, but-by how .much I
suffer, and each day seems a year.
"I go out hunting work all day
long and doors are slammed in my.
fnr.p. 'fifth nlnner.' thev crv to me.
you are too old.'
"My girl is fifteen. What is the
master with her? She is young, but
she hasn't the strength of the old
one. She could, not stand the hun
ger. She lies too weak to move be
cause she is starved. And they won't
give me work.
"What am I to do? Die like a rat
in a trap? Will they let us die if they
won't let us live? I don't know. I
have tried and there isn't any work.''
She sat down and looked around
vaguely. A woman suddenly opened
her purse and drew out a dollar bill,
and other purses emptied a part of
their tiny hoards until five dollars
had been collected and pressed into
the woman's hands.
' - "It isn't only the bid that can't get
work." A girl in shabby black looked
.1. II fl AT A. 1 J
forced its way through much darned
gloves tried to hide in the palm of.
her hand which closed over it
"When they tell you that you're
too old, you know what you got to
face, but ''when you're young and
everybody says why don't you get a
job; when there's lots of jobs adver
tised in the paper, and you go to the
stores aniyou find it's just a scheme
to have a line of applicants appear'
for the effect it will have on. the em
ployes in the establishment, and
you've spent car-fare, it's it's,
tough."
The stories varied a little; per-,
haps some of the women had been
through harsher "experiences than
others, but the .undercurrent of hope
lessness was the same.
"Studying the white slave question-,
the wonder is that there are not more
fallen women," said Rose Schnelder
mann, vice-president of the Women's
Trade Union .League.
"This is the .first meeting of unem- x

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