The Colonial Intelligence League (For Educated Women)
President : H.r.h. Princess Christian of Schleswig-holsteim Chairman : The Hon. Mrs.
Grosvenor. Vice-chairman: Mrs. John Buchan. Hon. Treasurer : John Buchan, Esq.
Organising Secretary : The Hon. Mrs. Grant, 36, Tavistock Place, W.c.
This Society Aims at:
3. The establishment in each colony of settlements where women can be trained for Colonial conditions.
There is no emigration society in Great Britain which is in a position to do the work which this League has undertaken. Many emigration societies are only intended for industrial workers; others help a small proportion of more highly educated women as well, but are not able, except in rare instances, to tell a woman of the particular post fitted for her particular abilities; nor can they generally advise her what training will stand her in best stead for the ever new requirements of a young and developing country.
The girl who is tired of struggling for her daily bread in the over-stocked English markets, but has no friends in any of the over-seas dominions to call her to come over and help them when help is so sorely needed, would do well to apply to the Intelligence Office of the League. Here she will quickly learn what is wanted, and what is not wanted, from those who think of adventuring forth into a new life. She will be told at the outset that " the League pledges itself to send out only the very best and most efficient women, and it expects them to be ready and willing to turn their hands to anything, even if it be boot-blacking, in an emergency." And in the Colonies emergencies are constantly arising. She will be told that she must be prepared to adapt herself to the methods of the country to which she decides to go, otherwise she had better at once give up all idea of emigrating.
The woman of culture and refinement, accustomed only to professional work, who is beginning to wonder whether she would advance more quickly in her profession in a younger country, before deciding to emigrate would do well to repeat to herself the adage which she no doubt learned in the nursery :
When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman ?
Practically all the Adams and Eves delve and spin in new countries. Class distinctions are unknown, and the best worker is the most highly respected citizen. What may be termed "spinning" includes every variety of handwork; and those who are anxious to put their head-knowledge to use must first prove that they have hand-knowledge. Their spinning capacity is the foundation on which they must look to build their professional future. Hand-knowledge can be acquired by the woman of average ability; and when she goes to the League for advice, if she has not already a thorough knowledge of all domestic duties - plain cooking, cleaning, laundry-work, needlework (mending and making), and bread-baking - she will be told how to set about laying these absolutely necessary foundations. She should also, if possible, be used to the care of children, and have some knowledge of simple nursing. If she can milk a cow, harness a horse, and has an idea of elementary carpentry and gardening, her value will be enormously increased.
Raking hay in Ontario. Women play an important part in agricultural operations, and she succeeds best who can turn her hand to any task
Girls often go out to the Colonies prepared to be teachers and secretaries, journalists and musicians, and return, to say that there are no openings for such. There are such openings, with excellent remuneration attached - so excellent that it is no un-common thing to find professional women able to retire at fifty, and live on the interest of their savings. But if we ask how they started their careers, we shall probably find that most of them, unless they were inhabitants of the country from their birth, first of all filled the posts for which they were most needed, and from these they had the opportunity of obtaining the posts they wished to fill.
Women are most urgently needed as "home-helps" in all the Colonies. A "home-help "in Canada, South Africa, or Australia does not mean the same as a "mother's help" often means in England - a lady who receives lower wages than a servant, is less well treated, and does far harder work. The home-help is expected to give every kind of help that a home remote from bakers, laundries, and dressmakers can possibly require. But she finds herself in a home, treated as a member of the family, and literally helping the other members to make the home. She works side by side with her employer so long as there is any work to be done, and then together they take their recreation. Driving, riding, lawn tennis, and dances are indulged in by everybody when everybody's work is done. There is no lack of partners, either at tennis party 01 dance, for the girls, as in most places they are outnumbered by the men eighteen to one ! In return for their services, home-helps receive salaries of from £3 to £8 a month.
A Canadian girl harvester of the Eastern Townships. The wheatlands of Canada are world-famous
It is impossible to give definite figures as to salaries, because they vary according to the colony, the district, and the capability of the worker. Efficiency is the only test, and the incompetent are useless everywhere. There are openings for women thoroughly efficient in any profession, but women on the spot who have had time to learn something of the ways of the country are at present most likely to obtain them.
Fully trained nurses, able to work up a good connection , may make £12 to £20 a month, but they will need a good deal of local knowledge before they are able to do this. (See page 2403, Vol. 4). In Canada, for instance, their English certificates will be accepted by the medical authorities, but they will have to be endorsed, and a local licence procured, before a woman can legally practise and is considered qualified to be placed on the register of any particular state in which she may wish to work.
First-class milliners and dressmakers will find themselves in great request when once they know the ropes. A clergyman's daughter, who started as an apprentice at £1 a week, rose in ten years to a salary of £300 a year, with two trips to Europe, and all expenses paid. Those able to set up for themselves may do even better. Secretaries and typists earn from £10 to £15 a month, non-resident, but for these posts Englishwomen in Canada will find themselves in keen competition with capable Canadians.
In secondary schools there are openings for girls with English degrees. Many Colonial head-mistresses come over to England each year in search of teachers, but the girl who expects to drop at once into a position will probably be disappointed.