2. To guard their own instincts;
3. To hold men to a high standard
of social purity and to help
them attain it.
Nor does this teaching necessitate morbid consideration of the subject. It will, in fact, in many cases clear away the morbid curiosity and surreptitious seeking after information in which untaught girls indulge. Skillfully and delicately taught this knowledge as an important and serious part of woman’s work, girls will be sweeter and more womanly for the knowledge of their responsibility to society and to their unborn offspring.
Schools that attempt such a course for girls are finding their chief difficulty in discovering people properly endowed by nature and properly trained to teach it. To give such work into any but the wisest hands invites disaster. To make it a study of the physical basis of sexual life is disaster in itself. Service, through making one’s self a pure member of society, and through helping others to keep the same standard—this must be the keynote of the teaching, an education toward social efficiency and social uplift.
THE GIRL’S WORK
The adolescent girl, already the product of a general training which has aimed at all-round development of body, mind, and spirit, is now ready for the specializing which shall place her in tune with the world of industry and help her to make for herself a permanent and useful place in society. Henceforward the girl’s training must face her double possibilities. She must not be allowed to have an eye single to making an industrial place for herself; nor can those who educate her fail to see the double work she must do.
Any consideration of the subject of girls’ work outside the home or work in the home for financial return must begin with a general survey of the field of industry, discovering what women have done and are doing, together with the effects of gainful occupation upon the character and efficiency of women.
The United States Census reports for 1910 give the following figures:
Number of Females Ten Years and Over Year Engaged in Gainful Occupations 1880 2,647,157 1890 4,005,532 1900 5,319,397 1910 8,075,772
It is thus seen that gainful occupations for women have increased greatly in the thirty years covered by the report. At present 21.2 per cent of all females, or 23.4 of all over ten years of age, are engaged in work for wages. Further tabulation brings out the fact that, whereas the age period from twenty-one to forty-four shows the largest percentage of men employed in gainful work, women show the largest proportion of their numbers so employed during the age period from sixteen to twenty. Evidently the girls are at work. The figures follow: