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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Arguments for and against women's suffrage

Boyd remembers some of the arguments for and against suffrage that were popular before women gained the franchise. Among those in favor was women's biological suitability for civic participation; among those against was the concern that in asserting independence, women would no longer be able to rely on men for financial security.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Rosamonde R. Boyd, October 29, 1973. Interview G-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

I’ll be darned. What arguments do you recall that you, with your fellow students, advanced in favor of suffrage? Do you remember?
Of course, with fellow students my whole philosophy is that women are persons. And that women have as much mental ability as men. Women have as much stamina as men. Women, in fact, live five years longer than men. That little book of Ashley Montague's on the Natural Superiority of Women speaks of the biological and natural aspects of womanhood that equip women for very active service and to assume responsibility alongside men. In fact, women are equipped by nature to surpass men with endurance and things of this sort. So I've always believed in complete equality.
Why do you think women have rather consistently in human history fallen behind or, not indeed, have attained the level?
I think that it's a cultural matter. When society disapproves, I think women take the way of least resistance and they yield to protection of the male. I saw something in the morning paper in the magazine section yesterday where there was an actress that thought it was just wonderful to be dependent on a man. Don't you see? It was just a means of security in the way of least resistance and an easy way to live and to enjoy life in a rather relaxed fashion. As long as there was a provider, and as long as women had.. produced the children and reared the children, which tied them down to a large extent, they just didn't care to upset their security.
This was indeed true for women of the upper-income, and middle-income woman, but the mill woman had no such experience with the leisure life. Yet, she consistently drew lower wages than her male fellow workers.
I think she probably felt that this was just the lot of women-that women were the child bearers, that women were the ones that did the home work and housework, and just accepted that division of roles that the mill worker had always learned from parents and grandparents. It was the way of life.