The co-operative movement and the industrial world offer yet other aspects of woman's growing power of combination. The co-operative system has appealed to the practical housewife in the form of groceries and produce, and also in the housing problem. A woman co-operator may derive pardonable pride from the reflection that her tea comes direct from "our own tea estate" in Ceylon.
The great army of co-operative women are the pick of the wives and mothers of the working classes, and, as frugal housewives, know the value of combination. Thousands of co-operative housewives hold shares in the societies in their own name. They serve side by side with men on committees, and are occasionally elected as directors. Miss Margaret Llewelyn Davies is the General Secretary of the Women's Co-operative Guild, and is a niece of Miss Emily Davies, LL.D.
To turn to the industrial world. The Woman's Trade Union League, founded in 1874 by Mrs. Paterson, a working printer, has now some 200,000 members in the Trade Unions affiliated to it. The principal work of the League is to organise trade unions amongst women workers, and to promote improved legislation on their behalf. The chairman is Miss Gertrude Tuckwell, and the secretary Miss Mary Macarthur (now Mrs. Anderson). Increased activity has been shown of late amongst women trade unionists.
Women also belong to some of the men's unions; particularly is this the case in the textile trades of the North. In 1906 the National Federation of Women Workers was formed, and has its headquarters in London, with branches in Edinburgh, Birmingham, and other leading cities and towns throughout the country.
The Women's Industrial Council is a further development in women's industrial organisation, and was founded in 1894 to undertake Trade Union work on a wider basis. The aim of the Council is the improvement of all industrial conditions in which women are concerned, and the promotion of education of women and girls in social questions, economics, and legislation affecting their trades, and the training and development of greater skill in various branches of industry. The secretary and treasurer is Miss Wyatt Papworth, M.a.
Miss Kate Le Lacheur, a graduate of Newnham College, and one of the most highly successful dairy farmers in the United Kingdom. She was the first dairy farmer to use a motor-car for the distribution of milk Photo, Charles J. Clarke
The entrance of women into various trades and professions, some of which were supposed to be closed to them by reason of sex, is one of the most interesting questions of the hour, but woman's triumphs in this respect must be left to a future article.
A remarkable phase in modern life is the entrance of women into trades and professions which hitherto have been exclusively followed by men.
It may be that only one woman here and there has proved her capacity for being an architect, an engineer, or a navvy, but that is enough to destroy the theory that sex necessarily limits the work in which a woman can engage. Not so many years ago, it was contended that women could not succeed as medical practitioners, but now there are qualified women doctors in every civilised country, and their services are highly appreciated by the community.
The solitary pioneer may prove to be the forerunner of a legion of women following the banned or protected profes sion, just as the first man who flew was quickly fol lowed by many aviators. Things move in this twentieth century with kaleidoscopic surprise, and the wise philosopher has ceased to hazard a dictum as to what a woman can or cannot do.
The triumphs of women in unaccustomed fields are criticised in proportion as the triumph is startling, which reminds me of a story regarding Miss Catherine Beecher, the sister of Mrs. Beecher Stowe, one of the most remarkable women of her day, as a critic and an educationist, though little heard of in comparison with her famous sister. An American professor remarked to a German savant that the best treatise in refutation of
World Of Women the doctrine of Jonathan Edwards had been written by a woman, Miss Catherine Beecher.
"What!" exclaimed the astonished Teuton, with uplifted hands, "you have a woman who can refute Edwards on the 'will'? Then God forgive Christopher Columbus for discovering America!"
It would have been more to the point if this learned gentleman had expressed surprise that Miss Beecher had not been appointed a professor in a divinity hall, since Nature had endowed her with the theologic faculty which had made the men of her family famous.
In these modern days, Eve is endeavouring to prove her right at least to a share of the Tree of Knowledge, by entering unaccustomed fields of labour.
And onwards through the countless ages women have loved the care and cultivation of flowers, and delighted in decking their persons and houses with floral blooms, whether it be the village maiden crowned Queen of the May, or suffragists riding in procession in flower-decked motor-cars. Eves of the olden school were noted gardeners in their private domains, whether it was some dear old granny tending her musk and geraniums on the window-sill behind latticed panes, or my lady amongst her roses in the gardens of the manor house.