My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

WASHINGTON, Friday—I had two interesting visits yesterday afternoon. One from a young Turkish woman, Miss Ismet Sanli, who is doing newspaper work in this country and who desires to deliver a series of lectures. So far, she has been urged by a few women's clubs to appear in Turkish costume, but refuses, because, as she says, she wants to interpret the new Turkey of today to American women. She has no interest in the Turkey of harem days or the ladies of the early 19th Century in the United States.

Miss Sanli was dressed in the latest modern style and gave the impression of a very efficient young business woman. I feel as though the changes in Turkey had come very rapidly, but she insists this change has been coming for a long time. There have always been highly educated women in Turkey, but never before have they been able to use their education and training outside the home. Now, instead of refusing to give women jobs, the men are anxious to put trained women in responsible positions.

A little later, a very interesting 72 year old woman from Norway, Madame B. Kjelsberg, called with the Norwegian Minister's wife. Madame Kjelsberg told me that up to 2 years ago she had been the chief factory inspector of Norway and had travelled on an average of 150 days a year. She was married to a lawyer and they had 6 children.

She explained with pride the industrial laws for the protection of women in her country. A woman is permitted to leave her job for 6 weeks before her child is born, to remain at home 6 weeks after the birth of the baby, to receive medical care and hospitalization at a very low rate, and to return to her job which has to be held for her during the period of absence.

Now Madame Kjelsberg's husband is dead, she is retired on a pension and so she has been travelling around our country for the past 7 months speaking in 14 states. Her's is a fine and vigorous personality.

I could not help but think that both these women will be successful in giving the women of our country a picture of the condittions in their own countries and the quality of their people.

The Women's National Democratic Club moved their garden party into their town clubhouse and seemed to be having a great crowd when I stopped in there late in the afternoon for a few minutes. I was glad to have a chance to see some very charming dancers and hear the Mexican Ambassador's daughter sing a Mexican song.

For a time this morning, the sky cleared and Johnny, Anne Clark and I had a good ride along the Potomac. They arrived yesterday afternoon. Eliott flew up from Fort Worth, Texas, so we had quite a family reunion.

Mrs. Ruth Bryan Rohde, and Mr. and Mrs. Ragnar Svanstrom of Sweden, who are over here studying the American book market with an idea of a greater exchange between the two countries, lunched with us today. I was again impressed by the number of increasing interests which the Scandanavian countries have in common with us.