The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK, N. Y., Wednesday—Yesterday, with great interest, I read Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt's appeal to the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs. It seems to me so obvious that married women should not be discriminated against, that I cannot imagine anyone who would really consider such a proposition.

As I look back, it seems to me, however, all this discussion was given impetus by the emergency measure which brought about a rule in the Federal Government during the depression, forbidding two married people to hold government positions, either the man or the woman had to give up a job. Now that the emergency is over, that rule has been rescinded, but there is, I think, one consideration in government employment that does not exist in private employment. The Government wants to prevent the building up of a family bureaucracy.

However, salaries are low in government positions and there is very little outside employment to be obtained in the City of Washington. Therefore, even though you may not want to build up families who work for the the Government only, the question of the amount needed to live on decently must come into consideration. It seems to me that if a generous sum is set, on which an adequate standard of living may be preserved for the average family, that it might be well, if one member of the family earns that amount, to bar the employment of any other member of the family in government service. If a man and his wife together earn that amount, children who live in the same household should be barred from government employment.

Such a rule would not be directed at women particularly, married or single, but, if adopted by the Federal Government, it should be very carefully considered for the same pattern might easily be followed by state and local governments.

I see by the morning papers that the Senate Committee has voted for delay on neutrality. One vote makes this important decision. These gentlemen must go on the theory that if you delay making up your mind long enough, perhaps you may never have to, for somebody else may make it up for you. My own experience is that the things you refuse to meet today always come back at you later on, usually under circumstances which make the decision twice as difficult as it orginally was. I would not weep over the difficulties of the gentlemen who made this decision, were it not for the fact that the results of their decision may not rest on their heads alone but may affect innocent people in our country and other countries.


(Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, July 13, 1939

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.