Colored Women as Wage Earners. (Documents)

By Cooper, Annie | Negro History Bulletin, January-September 1996 | Go to article overview

Colored Women as Wage Earners. (Documents)


Cooper, Annie, Negro History Bulletin


I shall not take time to discuss ideal situations on the speculative side. There may be those who think that woman has no business to enter the struggle for existence as a wage-earner; who think that she should be as the lilies of the field, and should toil not except to spin and array herself in gorgeous raiment to delight the Solomons in all their glory. The fact remains that a large percentage of the productive labor force of the world is done by women; and also another fact, recently brought out through investigations under Atlanta University, that "of 1,137 colored families 650, or 57.17 per cent are supported wholly or in part by female heads." So that in comparison with white, female heads of families and others contributing to family support, there is, by a house to house enumeration, quite a large excess on the part of colored women. Sentiment aside then, if men will not or cannot help the conditions which force women into the struggle for bread, we have a right to claim at least that she shall have fair play and all the rights of wage earners in general. Or, as Herbert Spencer puts it, "Justice demands that women, if they are not artificially advantaged, must not at any rate be artificially disadvantaged."

I shall have to ask first, therefore, careful attention to a few of the dry but fundamental principles of economics to which science our subject properly belongs. Wage earning is the complement of proper corollary to the human element in the creation of wealth. Land, labor, and the capital are the factors in the production of wealth. …

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