Some of the women who uphold the doctrine of equality between the sexes make the mistake of thinking and of teaching that there can be no equality without identical work. They take the attitude that unless women do all the sorts of work that men do, they are unjustly deprived of their rights. Our contention is rather that women have higher rights than that of identical work with men. They, above all other workers, should have the right of intelligent choice of work which they can do to the advantage of themselves, their offspring, and the community. Such a choice will ignore the question of sex as a drawback, accepting it, on the other hand, merely as a condition which, like other conditions, complicates but does not necessarily hamper choice. No girl need feel hampered by her sex because she chooses not to do work which fails either to utilize her peculiar gifts or to lead in what seems to her a profitable direction. No girl should feel that her industrial experience, however short, has nothing to contribute to the home life of which she dreams. No girl need waste the knowledge and skill gained in industrial life when she abandons gainful occupation for the home. Homemaking education, with industrial experience, ought to make the ideal preparation for life work.
This, however, can be true only when the girl’s industrial experience is of the right sort. Girls must therefore be led to choose the developing occupation. It is a part of the world’s economy to lead them to this choice.
[Footnote 7: From Puffer, Vocational Guidance, based on Census figures.]
THE GIRL’S WORK (Continued)—CLASSIFICATION OF OCCUPATIONS
It is well at the outset to recognize that vocation choosing is at best a complicated matter which, to be successfully carried out, demands not only much information, but information from different viewpoints. It is not enough to insure a living, even a good living, in the work a girl chooses. We must take into consideration the girl’s effect upon society as a teacher, nurse, saleswoman, or office worker; and no less, in view of her evident destiny as mother of the race, must we consider society’s effect upon her, as it finds her in the place she has chosen. In other words, will she serve society to the best of her ability, and will her service fit her to be a better homemaker than she would have been had no vocation outside the home intervened between her school training and her final settling in a home of her own making?
This double question must find answer in consideration of vocations from each of several viewpoints. We may classify occupations open to girls (1) from the standpoint of the girl’s fitness, physical and psychological; (2) from the standpoint of industrial conditions, the sanitary, mental, and moral atmosphere, and the rewards obtainable; (3) as factors increasing, decreasing, or not affecting the girl’s possible home efficiency or the likelihood of taking up home life; (4) from the standpoint of the girl’s education; (5) from the standpoint of service to society.