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My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Tuesday—I have been requested to answer the following questions in my column. They are evidently based on an article I wrote for the May issue of the Ladies' Home Journal.

First: "How do you visualize the organization and registration of the service of girls on a compulsory basis?" I see it done exactly as done for young men, perhaps with certain modifications.

Two: "What would be the relation of this plan to women already employed, especially in industry?" It would have no relation whatsoever, because I visualize it only as a continuation of practical training for one year. This will benefit the community and, at the same time, be of value to young women in their future lives.

Three: "What ages would be included?" I surmise the ages would be from the end of high school, if girls were going no further; to the end of college training, if they had planned on taking a college course. I suppose it would be between the ages of 18 to 24.

Four: "How would existing organizations be used?" They would be used to give opportunities for training.

Five: "Why do you feel compulsory service necessary?" Only because it is obvious that the better the training is people have today, the better are the opportunities they have in life. This training should develop a broader knowledge of the whole community and should, therefore, be entered into by all girls in the community, physically able to participate and not exempted for special reasons, such as preparation in specialized fields of work.

Six: "Is this plan an integral part of military defense?" It has nothing whatsoever to do with military defense, but it is an important part of civilian defense. I believe raising the standard of living has a good effect on our civilian defense.

I should like to point out that this plan has no official backing and has not been considered by anyone in the Government. It was suggested by me purely to bring about discussion, so that there would be a wider appreciation of the situation of young people, especially girls, in all the communities in our country. It should also bring about a consideration of what would be wise procedures for the benefit of individuals and community life.

I am very glad that I have achieved so much interest on the part of different groups, even those such as the American Youth Congress and certain political groups which are violently opposed to the word "compulsory."

I think we should ponder this statement a very eminent man, Dr. Edmund Ezra Day, President of Cornell University, made the other day: "It is high time for America to face squarely the problems of individual and social discipline in a democracy."



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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, June 11, 1941

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 2008-06-30

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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.