The present day finds women at work in practically every field of human endeavor. There is no profession, business, trade, or calling which does not count women amongst its successful representatives. Nor does the fact that a woman has married, has a home and children, debar her from achievement in any vocation outside the home which she may choose. Madam Ernestine Schuman-Heinck, with her eight children; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, with her ten children; Katherine Booth-Clibborn, with her ten children; Ethel Barrymore, with her family; Mrs. Netscher, proprietor of the Boston Store in Chicago, with her family; Mary Roberts Rhinehart, with her children; Madam Louise Homer, with her little flock, and thousands of others are examples of women who have been successful not only as home-makers but also in art, literature, professional or commercial vocations.
Since this is true, it follows that, theoretically at least, woman may choose her profession in precisely the same way that man chooses his. Practically, however, this is not true in most cases. Undoubtedly, a very large majority of women have happily married, are sufficiently provided for, and are happier, healthier, more useful, and better satisfied with life in the home than anywhere else. Notwithstanding the fact that our girls, almost without exception, enter upon the important vocation of wifehood, motherhood and home-making with almost no proper training, their aptitudes for the work are so great and their natural intuitions in regard to it so true, that unquestionably, large numbers of them in the United States are happy and satisfied and have no part and no interest in all the hue and cry in regard to women’s rights or women’s work.
The natural tendency of the majority of women for maternity and home-making must be taken into consideration. Some boys play with weapons, others with machinery, still others are interested in dogs and horses. Some boys are natural traders, others love to hunt and fish, while you will find an occasional lad curled up in a big chair in the library absorbed in a book. But practically all girls play with dolls, which is a sufficient evidence of the almost universality of the maternal instinct in women. The pity is that our educational traditions, almost without exception, are those handed down to us from schools and universities which educated boys and men only. We are therefore educating our girls to be merchants, lawyers, doctors, accountants, artists, musicians; in fact, almost anything but mothers. Twenty years ago, this was universally true. To-day, fortunately, the light has begun to break, and in many schools, both public and private, we are beginning to teach our girls domestic science, the care and feeding of infants, pre-natal culture, home management, economic purchasing, and other such important subjects.