A Plea for Extension of
Women’s Influence (part 1)
One can hardly realize that it is only within the last half century
that so much has been accomplished for women. We take for granted our
many privileges, often forgetting those brave women and noble men,
who, against ridicule and contempt, worked hard to educate and elevate
The higher education of women, their organized efforts to ameliorate
the condition of the poor, raise the fallen and benefit in various
ways the community, their position in the labor market-necessitating
laws to protect their interests, and welfare have all taught our women
that it would be well to have a direct influence upon those who
govern. Personal influence, of which we hear so much and which, in
certain cases is powerful, is very slow in action.
If we are to accomplish what we see necessary to be done, we need a
more direct way than individual personal influence. We ought to
express an opinion and what more direct and powerful way of expressing
an opinion is there than by the ballot? We women have too much to do
with our home duties, our care of the sick and helpless-and-the many
claims upon our philanthropy, to be running round with petitions,
trying to exert a personal influence on voters, in order to induce
them to make or amend laws that will protect our children when they
have the shelter of our homes. Yet there is no other way open for us.
Year after year we have to go over the same ground, spending time and
energy that might be saved if we had the influence of the vote.
. . . We do not ask for the vote because we are antagonistic to
men-far from it-we do not want the vote in order that we may vote
against the men, the men are our fathers, husbands and brothers, their
best interests are ours. We want the vote that we may strengthen their
hands in all that stands for right and justice. As Miss Willard has
said, "The whole intention of the woman movement is not to declare the
rights of women, or to usurp power, or to alienate men, but on the
contrary-it is to unite men and women on the most enduring plan; to
study the harmonies between them, to prove that their interests are
indissolubly linked, and it is a far more scientific, sensible, and
Christian way of dealing with one half of the human race, because it
is equally in the interests of the two halves."
If women had the vote there would be no need to come twice asking for
better legislation for women and children, no need to come again and
again for the appointment of women inspectors where women and children
are employed; we would not ask in vain for the raising of the wage or
consent. We do not want to vote as men, we want to vote as women-the
more womanly the better.
WCTU Convention Edmonton
Journal 12 Oct. 1907: 9.