My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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WASHINGTON, Friday—After my hurried column yesterday, I want to go back a little and tell you that in Utica, N.Y. , I not only talked to the Second World War veterans who invited me to come there, but they held an open meeting which was attended by a very large group of people in one of the high school auditoriums. They told of the purposes of their organization and they had a list of questions prepared for me which showed how little most of us have thought through the problems of meeting the returning war veterans' needs now.

We have been so busy getting men in the Army ready to go out to fight the war, that we have almost forgotten that already we have a great number of men coming back who need on the statute books, all the legislation we have talked about but have not yet passed for the benefit of the veterans of the war.

I have not yet given you impressions of my visit to the Cadillac and Packard plants in Detroit. The plants are now employing well over fifty percent women and the problems seem to be exactly what they have always been. How does a woman work in a factory all day, get her washing and cleaning done, cook the meals and give any care to her children? The care of the children is the only one of these problems that seems to have been tackled by the community and that is not adequately met.

In the child care center which I visited, where day care is given, there is also an experimental boarding school where children, aged two to five, are accepted for six days a week. The mothers take them home only for their free day.

I think this arrangement proved very successful in Great Britain and it seems to be popular in Detroit, as they have many more applications than they are able to take under the present set-up. The problem of shopping is solved; the laundry problem is not solved. The problem of hot noon meals for children in schools is partially solved by canteens which have been setup in certain areas, but these are not completely satisfactory as yet, and the problem of hot meals for workers in the factory is still completely neglected. Only in a few cases are meals being cooked for women to take home in their own containers. Some restaurants are not giving this service.

So we see that there is still much work to be done by communities if the home is not to suffer by the full-time employment of women in factory work to the extent that is now necessary.

I want to tell you about the Air Force hospital at Bowman Field, Ky. The work done for the rehabilitation of its patients while they are in the hospital is thrilling, but that and more about the training of our "flying nurses" will have to wait until tomorrow.

E. R.


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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, January 29, 1944

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.