Now this is precisely the kind of way man feels about woman. He recognises that she is by virtue of her sex for certain purposes an incompatible person; and that, quite apart from this, her secondary sexual characters might in certain eventualities make her an impossible person.
We may note, before passing on, that these considerations would seem to prescribe that woman should be admitted to masculine institutions only when real humanitarian grounds demand it; that she should—following here the analogy of what is done in the learned societies with respect to foreigners—be invited to co-operate with men only when she is quite specially eminent, or beyond all question useful for the particular purpose in hand; and lastly, that when co-opted into any masculine institution woman should always be placed upon a special list, to show that it was proposed to confine her co-operation within certain specified limits.
>From these general questions, which affect only the woman with intellectual aspirations, we pass to consider what would be the effect of feminism upon the rank and file of women if it made of these co-partners with man in work. They would suffer not only because woman’s physiological disabilities and the restrictions which arise out of her sex place her at a great disadvantage when she has to enter into competition with man, but also because under feminism man would be less and less disposed to take off woman’s shoulders a part of her burden.
And there can be no dispute that the most valuable financial asset of the ordinary woman is the possibility that a man may be willing—and may, if only woman is disposed to fulfil her part of the bargain, be not only willing but anxious—to support her and to secure for her, if he can, a measure of that freedom which comes from the possession of money.
In view of this every one who has a real fellow-feeling for woman, and who is concerned for her material welfare, as a father is concerned for his daughter’s, will above everything else desire to nurture and encourage in man the sentiment of chivalry, and in woman that disposition of mind that makes chivalry possible.
And the woman workers who have to fight the battle of life for themselves would indirectly profit from this fostering of chivalry; for those women who are supported by men do not compete in the limited labour market which is open to the woman worker.
>From every point of view, therefore, except perhaps that of the exceptional woman who would be able to hold her own against masculine competition—and men always issue informal letters of naturalisation to such an exceptional woman—the woman suffrage which leads up to feminism would be a social disaster.
IS THERE, IF THE SUFFRAGE IS BARRED, ANY PALLIATIVE OF CORRECTIVE FOR THE DISCONTENTS OF WOMAN?