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


NEW YORK, Friday—All through this past session of the General Assembly we have been worried because we were not moving quickly enough through our agenda in Committee 3, but because of some sudden changes at the last moment we came to the point yesterday when we had nothing to take up. Our last meeting will be today when we will say good–bye and then we will have a plenary session at which the items that have not yet been completed or put in final form will come up, either on Saturday or Sunday.

We finally passed the convention on the political rights of women, but I hope in the plenary session we will succeed in correcting one thing. That is that the first three articles being with the word "women" and proceed to say "they" shall have the right to take part in voting, that "they" shall have the right to be elected and to be appointed to office.

The Soviets, with their usual fear that there will be discrimination against some racial or religious group, introduced their usual amendments with attacks on the United States and the colonial powers.

"Without discrimination of any kind" was a phrase accepted by the committee for the first two articles and then it dawned on me that we were doing something, which at least in the English language, was inadmissable. If we started an article by saying "women shall have" etc. on equal terms with men and tacked on at the end "without discrimination of any kind," we were practically saying that in the word "women" we did not mean all women. It seemed to me that in a legal document this was inadmissable. For if you say "women" without qualification, you mean all women, but to add "without discrimination of any kind" casts a doubt upon the meaning of the word and what you intended it to mean. So "without any discrimination" was not accepted for the third article, and the Soviets abstained as a whole.

I think they believed that we were putting over some deep, dark plot which would permit discrimination, and now we must in the plenary session take out those five little words, "Without discrimination of any kind," that are tacked on the first and second article.

I realize it was slow of me not to have spoken up when we did it in the first place, but I am glad I woke up before the mistake was irremediable.

This covenant will be important for the women of this country because I think it will make them more interested in taking part on the policy-making level, and if they really want that to happen it will undoubtedly happen.

The other night I spent a most enjoyable evening at "My Darling Aida," in which Dorothy Sarnoff and Elaine Malbin are starring.

I don't think I shall ever like Miss Sarnoff in any role as much as in "The King and I," however. She was perfect as the king's wife, but she also does a beautiful piece of acting and singing in this new play.

The setting of the play is in the very beginning of the Civil War in the South and is a far cry from today, but the scene is the background for everything that has happened since in the area of race relations. Adam Brown, who wants liberty so much, is beautifully played by William Dillard. The cast of colored and white people gives, as a whole, a most remarkable production.

I would probably enjoy seeing Miss Sarnoff in anything she does, for I like her so much, but I am glad to see her in a play which, just like "The King and I," leaves you with much food for thought.



Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • New York (N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, December 20, 1952

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.