Yesterday saw the 100 year anniversary of right of some women to vote. This came about after many decades of women fighting to be given equal voting rights to men. Today’s poem is highlighting some of their struggle. This may seem like a strange concept to many in today’s society, but where great strides forward have been made there is still more to be done before full gender equality can be reached.
Their struggles can be read about here
Women Do Not Want It
When the woman suffrage argument first stood upon its legs,
They answered it with cabbages, they answered it with eggs,
They answered it with ridicule, they answered it with scorn,
They thought it a monstrosity that should not have been born.
When the woman suffrage argument grew vigorous and wise,
And was not to be answered by these opposite replies,
They turned their opposition into reasoning severe
Upon the limitations of our God-appointed sphere.
We were told of disabilities–a long array of these,
Till one could think that womanhood was merely a disease;
And “the maternal sacrifice” was added to the plan
Of the various sacrifices we have always made–to man.
Religionists and scientists, in amity and bliss,
However else they disagreed, could all agree on this,
And the gist of all their discourse, when you got down in it,
Was–we could not have the ballot because we were not fit!
They would not hear the reason, they would not fairly yield,
They would not own their arguments were beaten in the field;
But time passed on, and someway, we need not ask them how,
Whatever ails those arguments–we do not hear them now!
You may talk of suffrage now with an educated man,
And he agrees with all you say, as sweetly as he can:
‘T would be better for us all, of course, if womanhood was free;
But “the women do not want it”–and so it must not be!
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman