My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEWTON, Kan. , Sunday—I left Washington Friday afternoon by train and reached Chicago Saturday morning practically on time. I went immediately to the Julius Rosenwald Fund meeting, which I had come to attend, and spent the whole day at their office.

These meetings are very interesting. The executive committee usually has gone over all the recommendations first, but that does not prevent the recommendations from being carefully discussed by the trustees and members present. The men and women on the board all seem to take an interest in the general questions which have to be considered before the allocation of the money—namely, what are the things which will be most valuable to do in the field for which the Rosenwald Fund was set up.

Many years ago the emphasis was almost entirely on building rural schools for colored children in the South. Today the focus is greater on adequately training teachers. This interests me because I think this is where our weakness lies in our whole educational system. We need better trained teachers, better paid teachers, teachers who can take a more active part in community life and who are given complete freedom in the expression of their opinions.

I paid one call after the meeting and then barely had time to get ready to catch our evening train for Fort Worth, Texas. From the train window today it really looks as though spring were on the march. A short time ago we passed a field filled with calves and lambs and little pigs. Many trees are budding. In fact, early this morning I saw a whole orchard of apple blossoms in full bloom.

One of the letters which I received lately, concerns me very greatly. It comes from a woman who has held a clerical position in the same office for over fifteen years. A short time ago her office was merged with six others. She was retained, so evidently her work was good. She is the assistant to a man who had other work besides the work in this particular office, so in practice she does a major part of the work, but the man receives more than double her salary.

It seems to me that this is an example of the curious lag between what a man receives and what a woman receives for doing any kind of work. In some parts of the country, and in some types of work, the principle of equal pay for equal work has been recognized, but in other places it is practically ignored. I think that in this respect, office work suffers more than factory work.

I know all the old arguments that a woman is supposed to be dependent on some man and that the man must be paid more because of the people he supports. But it has been proved over and over again that single women not only support themselves, but often other members of their families as well, so I think we should revise our schedules and come more nearly to equality of payment when the same work is performed.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Newton (Kan., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 19, 1943

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