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Recorded in Washington. The National Educational Television Presents: "Eleanor Roosevelt - Prospects of Mankind." Produced in cooperation with Brandeis University. A far reaching social revolution has completely changed the status of women in the past one hundred years. Emerging from the home, work and study; American women soon militantly demanded and want equal status and the right to vote. Their achievement since 1919 have been impressive. Higher education is common place an increasing number of women spend part of their life working. Some even do work traditionally performed by men. Adjustment in this great revolution has not been easy for either sex. Not completely happy being just a housewife. The American woman at the same time does not seem
to be making the most of the right, so grandmothers secured it for her. Few American women hold high office. Too few are entering professions when they are sorely needed. Sometimes those who do work receive less pay than men performing the same function. President Kennedy recently created the Commission on the status of women to uncover these inequalities and recommend appropriate action. But, in today's changing society the complex reasons behind women's apparent indifference to their opportunities and rights also need to be explored so that women can fulfill themselves Not only wives and mothers, but as complete individuals. At the White House recently, President Kennedy discussed the Commission on the status of women with its chairman, Mrs. Roosevelt. I would like to thank you for being on this program. You probably don't realize it
for years that we have run this program you have been our most distinguished guest and we are very grateful to you. Glad to have you at the White House again Miss Roosevelt. Thank you Mr. President. Now I would like to ask you in Women's Affairs and I was very much honored when you made me chairman of your committee on the status of women. Perhaps you'd be willing to tell the people what prompted you name this committee at this time and what you feel is the real need?" Well, we are attempting to uh make sure that the for example who work uh one third of our working force are women try to encourage every company in the United States and certainly uh stimulate their governmental leadership in providing equal pay and equal conditions for women. Twenty-two states do it now we can do a much better job on that. that. We want to make sure that the available talent which we have in this country uh
train women as being used effectively. I think we want to uh make sure that uh some recognition is given to the special problems women have as the mother and the housewife at the same time. their desires to participate usefully in public and private life. This is a matter of great national concern and I think that in this uh great society of ours women are used as effectively as they can to provide a better life for our people, In addition to meeting their primary responsibility which is in the home. Thank you very much I think that's uh a very good objective. But there is one things that I feel a great many women are in and that is that here where women have in many ways that have a situation in other countries and I have a mother come first. It's still in some of other countries women can be found in higher positions policy making positions or legislative position
than they are in this country. Have you any idea why it is country we have not somehow managed to put into these higher positions. Well I suppose is the first is uh the uh the interruption in their careers a family raising children. But I quite agree I don't think we make the most use talent not only in the government. An awful lot of women that uh hold very key positions in the gov - government and I think most of us in fact the other day when we gave the award for the five outstanding servants two of them were women of great technical skill. We have uh women in the U.N. delegation of which you are a distinguished example. And uh we have them as treasurer but, I still think we ought to do better. I think we ought to do better in the field of medicine for example. I think that the number of girls who are admitted to medical school a number of practicing doctors I don't think we as do a job in this country as we oughta we do better than
other countries. But not nearly as well considering the talented women we have great need for doctors. I think they do a good job in teaching but in medicine is one of the great areas where I think we should stimulate. I think women make good doctors. They have the personal qualities in the patients and I think to have a two to three percent of each class admitted be women. women as a great uh life. But I know Miss Roosevelt, I'm always getting letters from you about uh policymaking jobs and we are very conscious of that responsibility. I am conscious of the fact that this ought to happen but I am also very conscious of the ?inaudible? and uh I frequently, in answering foreign people, say that women -- we are such a big country in this, this this country have greater difficulties because of our ways of life. That a woman in India has a multiple family. She can leave her children, uh, because she lives with grandparents who -- sisters and brothers and so forth. And here,
this is a great problem. So I all the problems.. But I still think that we should use everything available and, um, therefore I want to see women used to the very best of their ability. And that's the thing I'd like to ask you about. Uh, we have this high standard, and I think women in their homes set the standards in America for many things, both for men and women, and in view of this, I'm wondering if American women are using their educations to the best possible advantage, or whether many women who don't want to leave their families, who don't want to be in outside work. Uh, still couldn't do a better job if they use their education better than they have. I think when you look at, uh, Radcliffe College that the academic excellence at Radcliffe is higher than it is at, uh, Harvard.
And therefore you assume that this is really the most highly developed student body. What happens to those girls two or three years later? They, uh, get married, many of them become housewives, uh, and all that talent is uh, well, it's used in the family life but it's not used outside. Now of course, it is true that they work on school boards, they work in the League of Women Voters, they work in church groups. In a whole variety of ways they use this talent for strengthening the cohesion of our society. But I wonder whether they have the full opportunity to develop their talents. And as the Greeks said, the definition of happiness is full use of your powers along the lines of excellence. And I wonder whether they have that opportunity. And this is not true just of Radcliffe, but of colleges - educated women, uh, talented women all over the country -- whether it doesn't build in some--. Well of course, one of the things You said you've asked us to look for in the status of women is what services could be given, which would make it easier to use to a maximum. Uh, do think before our
?unintelligible? museum? that certain things are going to be done? Well, I think were were going to wait. This, particularly, the problem how, ah, a mother can lead a responsibilities to her children, at the same time contribute to society in general, Generally is the most sensitive and important matter, I think that's really what I'm interested in what you're suggestions would be, uh ... we do have legislation as before, you do make of course an example on this matter of equal pay and interstate commerce, which I think would be very helpful. Yes well, that of course is one of the things you ought to study more, really, But, uh, I do think that we will make -- this is one of the studies that we are, in our mission, are going to hope to find recommendations that will be of value, and I would like I think as a last thing, to ask you, whether you have any objection to helping women to be employed? Some people who say that we should have
more women taken out because there are unemployed men. Well, I ... in the first place, most of the women who work really need to to maintain their families. That's the first point. Secondly, most of the women work in a good -- a high proportion work in areas which are really more suited to them than to men. And that kind of work is, ah, and in some cases, the pay a) is not, uh, competitive with men. So that I don't think that many women are working who are not contributing directly to the maintenance of the household, the family, the children and uh, so that I don't think that there is, ah, a broad duplication. We have to meet this problem, unemployment for men and women, and I think the way to do it is not to attempt to deprive women of the chance to work and contribute, but to try to expand the opportunity generally in the economy. I think that's the direction of our efforts rather than squeezing the labor force. That -- that is what I would say too, and now I'm sorry that I've ?tied you up? and I want to thank you so much again, Mr. President. Well, we're glad
to have a chance to because, um,-- and I think the report of the commission can be extremely useful. And, uh, all the progress that has been made have been the result of these kinds of periodic examinations of the status of women, both privately and in government, so we're very hopeful. I'm hopeful. Thank you again. Also in Washington, to continue the discussion with Mrs. Roosevelt are Arthur Goldberg, United States Secretary of Labor. Before joining The New Frontier, Secretary Goldberg was a prominent labor lawyer and leading expert on labor-management relations, extremely active since his appointment, he has interested himself in a variety of issues and spoken all over the country on widely assorted subjects. The President's Commission on the Status of Women comes under the jurisdiction of his department. ?Agde? Russell, permanent representative to the United Nations, has long been concerned with women's affairs concentrating particularly on the problems of business and professional women. Before assuming her present position,
Mrs. Russell was president of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. [words cut off] Mendenhall, sixth president of Smith College for Women. Before coming to Smith in 1959, Dr. Mendenhall's entire career had been at Yale University, where he had been a well-known history professor and administrator. Dr. Mendenhall is the author of several books [words cut off] on English and general European history and, since his appointment to Smith, has spoken frequently about women's problems. Mira Kamarowski, professor of sociology at Barnard College and Columbia University. Her special fields of interest in research and teaching have been the family and the status of women. Dr. Kamarowski's latest book is "Women in the Modern World: Their Education and Their Dilemmas." She will assist Mrs. Roosevelt in directing the discussion. I'm so glad that the President, ah, was interested enough in this question to appoint a Commission on the Status of Women. So
Mr. Secretary, my first question is going to be to ask you, in what areas do you feel the commission can make recommendations that would offer something really new to American women? Mrs. Roosevelt, there are so many areas where I think constructive recommendations are called for, but it's hard really to define the limited areas that time permits to talk about. But I would say they're pretty well set forth in the presidential order setting up the commission, and the importance of them is apparent from their listing. First, we ought to talk about the employment policies of women in private employment. Women get paid less than men for doing the same work. Why should that be? The Commission ought to study that and advise the American people about it. Women in the employment of the government, which is paid for by all taxes, men and women alike, they don't have their proper treatment.
I won't say a proportion because I don't believe in proportions. What inhibits the employment of qualified women in federal, state and local employment? Why should women be differently treated in their civil rights, in their property rights, in their political rights, in their family relations? That's a subject we need to study. What about federal labor laws and state labor laws? Mrs. Roosevelt, you are one of the pioneers in getting special laws for women to protect them. Do we still need them, or do we now emerge in a period where we ought to abolish discrimination in laws in favor of women? I want to study that. What about tax policy and social insurance? Should a woman have the same treatment as a man when they retire, or be an appendage to a man in the Social Security sense? We want them to be an appendage in the biblical sense but not in the Social Security sense.
What about tax laws? Women have earnings at various times of their life. We ought to study that too. What about new services that are required for a new age? Twenty-four million women are in the working force. One-third, as the President has said, of the working force now are women. Do we need new services? Should the working mother be worried if she has to work, as most of them do, while, what happens to her children? What do we do about that? This is one of the subjects that we ought to study. So, I would say we have so many subjects, Mrs. Roosevelt, that even under your great leadership [laughter] I'm wondering, can we provide the studies and the answers that we need to provide in all of these important areas? Well of course, Mr. Secretary, I'm interested after we've written the report in seeing that something is done. Now the Commission comes to an end but I'm still -- that's one of the points that I'm anxious
about. But now I'd like to ask, um, Ambassador Russell from Sweden if, eh, she would tell us a little bit about developments in her country. Because they have done a great deal in this particular field of giving women the opportunity to do new things. Would you tell us something about it? Well, first of all, maybe I should say that the proportion of working women is about the same in my country as in your country. We have since many years tried to find out ways and means of making it possible for the women who want to or must utilize their economic opportunities, to make it possible for her to do it. That is to say, we have built day nurseries for working women. We are trying to build houses where they can get half or fully prepared food that they can take home when they come from their work and, and they pick
up their children from the day nurseries. We are trying to get domestic help, eh, home... home -- household workers who'll come and take over if the children are ill so that the mother can go to her job, and they also can come and help if the mother is ill to take care of the children and the household. These are few of the things we are trying to do. And maybe I should say in this connection that the trade unions are very keen that the day nurseries should be run by the community, not by the employer, because then they are forced to stay with the employer who gives them opportunities to use the day nurseries. They want them, um, detached and impersonal from the point of view of the employer's interests. And I think there is an agreement between the employer and the workers that this is the best way. May I ask a question about the
day nurseries in cooperative housing? We have heard a good deal at one time about the spread of cooperative houses with nurseries and other services right in the housing. Has that developed or did it turn out to be, ah, brief? Eh, it is developing. And I have had both my children in a day nursery of that type and lived in a house of that kind. And may I say that it's very good for the children and for the mother with the sec... feeling of security that the children are in good hands and well taken care of. Of course, it's a harder physical work for the mother because she then has to take care of all the household work herself if she does not have a housemaid at home. But on the other hand, it's well-trained personnel in the day nurseries and they stay there year after years, so the children have the same nurses around. Don't you also have something which I think was first developed in Sweden, and that
is a hot meal for the children in the middle of the day or at some period of the day, which lightens the responsibility of the home to some extent? Did you mean the school children or-? Yes, the school children. Every school child in Sweden has the hot meal every day-- middle of the day? Between 11 and 12 or 12 to 1:00. Is it like a breakfast? Is it because children come without breakfast? Or is it, or with a very light breakfast, or is it a real midday, a real dinner? It's a luncheon luncheon or dinner, whatever you want to call it. Everybody is supposed to have had breakfast before they leave their homes and the school starts at 8:00. So then they get to break around 11:00, 11:30, and they have a hot meal. Well, that is a service which has great value, I think, for -- for children. Don't you think so? ?inaudible background comment? Indeed, I have just finished a year of interviewing of working-
class mothers and fathers in the working-class community, the aristocracy of labor. They were all native-born of native parentage and all white, and so they were not as disadvantaged as some working-class groups -- and so what I think applies to them applies doubly to other groups -- but my impression was that the development of nursery schools, perhaps under school educational auspices, for children of 4 and 5 would be of immense benefit if it can ... if we can do it, because a significant minority of the mothers were deeply troubled about their children. And I think I would estimate that they were about 2 or 3 decades behind in their thinking about human behavior, about elementary principles of mental hygiene. And so,
whether they work or not, I think such nursery schools would be useful. Do you think, well, what you are talking about really is nursery schools for 3- and 4-year-olds, isn't it? Now, I'm wondering whether real nurseries aren't necessary. How lo -- how young would the babies be, for instance in Sweden, when they would be put in the nurseries of which you speak? Eh, they can be received by the day nurseries already at the age of 6 to 7 months. That early? Yes, but preferably they should not come there before they are 1 years old. So, so having a child might represent for a woman who was working in Sweden an interruption in her working life of perhaps 6 or 7 months at least.Well, the weeks or months before the childbirth and then during this 5 to 6 months when she's nursing the baby herself. Can I make a point here
which is, reflects both of your discussions, Mrs. Roosevelt, Mr. Mendenhall's point? It has been assumed too often that when a woman works that this constitutes a disruption in family life. And this of course is a matter, I think, which would concern all of us. Now, isn't what we're talking about a concern of perfecting, protecting family life, which means the welfare of the mother, the welfare of the child, and at the same time recognizing what turned out to me to be an astonishing fact when I saw it in my own department: that 9 out of 10 women in modern life will work at some point in their life. And that many of them will work by necessity, most of them, or by choice, some of them, just at the point when children are being raised. Well, that brings us to the question of occupations. You see, now
where a woman is educated -- we'll come to education and type perhaps a little later -- but she can practically go into any profession or any education, any -- any, um, occupation that she is trained to undertake? But aren't some occupations, let's admit it, more suited for women than others? Are you going to argue that they're all equally suited, Mr. Secretary? Well, I would argue about the desirability of having in an open society every opportunity for every person, man or woman, to ... I agree... to a profession... agreed. On the other hand, we would be foolish to deny that for women, raising a family is a tremendously important thing. And I would certainly urge every woman to evaluate that
enormous joy in determining an occupation. I have a very good friend of mine who became a scientist and who opted for a field of science that required continuous devotion to that science. She became a mother and she opted then, as is her right and of course is her supreme joy, to spend the early years of life with the children. She has said to me that between 2 branches of science, thinking it over, she would have taken another branch that permitted her to go back easily to that other branch rather than the branch that she was in. Now I think those are legitimate considerations because we all have to make choices in life of one kind or another, man or woman, in what we want to do. I would like to comment a little upon this. I agree entirely with you, Mr. Secretary. First of all, I think we should leave it to the
women to make the choice, and not choose for them and say, "you are not suited for this life, or this type of life is not suitable for you." Let her make the choice, but give her the tools so she really can make a choice. I would agree with you. Of course it is a hardship for a working mother. Of course it is. I have gone through it, I know what I'm talking about, and I've seen it in many cases. But maybe it's also a hardship to, ah, be forced not to continue with the job you're interested in and where you also feel that you are, eh, contributing to the society. And -- may I just add one more word? I think also that we are very conventional when it comes to the point of view of the age period when women should have their professional training. Why do they have to start so early, and why can't they start later on in their life? Why can't they come back and complete their training later on? What I wanted to add is, ah, statistical support of
these ideas. An occupation gets tagged a feminine or a masculine occupation, and that works towards the disadvantage -- to the disadvantage of the whole society. I don't know whether you are familiar with the fact that pharmacists and dentists in France are, to a much greater extent, women. We have women in real estate and insurance, England does not. We don't have women in engineering or medicine. Soviet Union does. And even within our country, sometimes an occupation, say, in canning: in Wisconsin it is a masculine occupation; in, um, Illinois... ?inaudible? fear is involved in Wisconsin? Tradition and accident and whatnot get involved. And as a result of it, many a good teacher is lost to teaching because it's
considered a feminine occupation, and many a good scientist is, is lost -- a woman scientist -- is lost to science. You're trying... if I understand your point, you say there is really no rational basis for describing this except tradition that may develop, because you proved it, I think, by saying in one country this is regarded to be a woman's occupation an' in the other country this is not. So really there's not a rational basis. It's kind of a tradition. I have one correction, um. What is the fact, I think, is that the occupations are more differentiated than they need to be on rational grounds. But I do not expect that men and women would have as a group the same occupational patterns. I expect some differences, but only for the reasons that you have suggested. I don't expect them to have a [inaudible] ...I think the Secretary gave the key word a moment ago, as far as
women's and women and working is concerned, and that was "continuous." I think as in the story you described, uh, the woman should recognize that if she wants to have a family, her working life is going to have a discontinuity to it that often the working life of the man does not have, and that she should face up to this fact in advance and be prepared to make whatever adjustments she in society can make so that she can pursue these two things, sometimes in sequence, sometimes concurrently depending on what the profession or work is. I think Ambassador Russell made a valuable point, though: At some point this may involve merely a postponement in an educational path, not necessarily an abandonment of it. When I was in your country I saw a training program, which interested me very much because we are embarking now for the first time in a big governmental training program and retraining program,
which you have had for some time. My wife and I, at invitation of your prime minister last year, saw a training program for women that invited women who had raised their families and who wanted to do this -- that was their choice as a full time occupation -- at a later stage of life to become trained for a different career. And, uh, I thought that was an excellent program, because it illustrated that you do not have to feel that, because you are not able at one point in your career to pursue the continuous path, that this excludes your at a later point in your life picking up and pursuing this. This is a good thing though. It's, uh, I think that from observation that it is difficult for people sometimes,um -- when they're in the habit
of, of being in college or in a university they, uh, they have certain habits of learning -- to go back to those after you have been out for a certain length of time requires a good deal of self-discipline. That happens to be one of the things I'm not quite sure we teach [laughter]. And I'm, I'm, I'm wondering how much this will really be done and I'm, I'm wondering about another question, Mr. Secretary. You recommend the present that we freeze wages for a time. Um, would you have this apply to some of the very low-paid wages that women in certain capacities and also many women could do part time with and don't do it because either they can't get it or they don't feel that it's
really, [cough] um, worth doing because they don't get enough pay and it puts them on a lower status? Mrs. Roosevelt, to use an old cliche I'm glad you asked that question. We do not recommend that wages be frozen. And we are not recommending that as a matter of national policy. We have been recommending responsibility and restraint, both in the wage and price area in America generally, to avoid inflation, to promote price stability, to make ourselves [cough] competitive in the world markets, and to meet our commitments abroad and protect the dollar. However, I have said, and I've said it to labor conventions, many of which are attended by high-wage earners, that when we say this we don't mean in the same degrees. I would appeal, for example, to the industries and wage earners of the higher-wage industries
that take a little less so that the wage earners in the lower-wage industries, particularly women, many of whom fall because of lack of training, lack of experience in those industries, can get a little bit more. As a matter of fact, I feel very strongly about this. I think that we ought to place a major emphasis upon the less affluent parts of our society. I'm reminded of a statement that your husband once made. We will be judged not only in domestic affairs but in foreign affairs -- because we're talking about concepts that are universal, as is apparent here -- not on what we do for those who have too much, but on what we do for those who have too little. I think that's a universal truth, it's true throughout the world, in our foreign policy, it's true in our domestic policy as well. Very important
to us that we help raise the standards in other countries. What, Mr. Secretary, then [cough] about the argument one often hears is that with unemployment among men, it is, it is not politic and desirable to encourage greater employment among women? Well, I was interested in Ambassador Russell when she talked about their employment base. I was going to ask the same question you did, an' I'll try to answer it in part and then we ought to ask her for it. In her labor market and they encourage it. In our country we don't have a full employment economy, we haven't had it for some years. And the question does arise, are women displacing men? Is this desirable? I have two answers to this. First of all, our statistics show that a great majority of the women in the working force are in the
working force because they have to be. Women are heads of families. Women live alone. Women, uh, are required to work, and that represents the overwhelming proportion of women. And men: It is a very interesting thing that during the period of unemployment of men, women who do not normally choose to work are required to work because their husbands are unemployed and the job opportunities that are available are only available to women. And actually I would say that today we are having more women employed during a period of unemployment out of the necessities of family life. And that is another point. Would you, Dr. ?Kalanowski?, speak to that. This other point is that we applaud ourselves, and rightly so, about American standard of living and thinking that we are a middle-class society.
Well now, what is a middle-class income? About 40 percent of American wage earners earned, of the population in 1955 and I don't know whether it's the last, between 4,000 and 7,500. Now that's not a tremendously high income. And one ?hundred? [words cut off] of those had a second earner, and that was a woman. And I doubt that we can maintain the so-called middle-class standard of living otherwise. We think, of course, that this is something new, that there was a time when the family was willing to live on the earnings of the husband. But what had happened is that children worked before, that to some extent the mother now replaces the work of children. And I don't know that it was true. I know it wasn't as a matter of fact. We can all testify that it wasn't true. I come from a family of 8 children and everybody worked. [laugh] My mother did not.
You are quite correct in that. The children worked... children worked... and mothers replace children now. Now You're very correct in that. And certainly, uh, we have just begun to explore, haven't we, the area of part-time work and voluntary work for, uh, by women in our society. There are so many areas which are crying out loud for help here, and uh often I think it's actually the mores of the particular profession. I'm a teacher, ah, but I do think we could use part-time teachers up and down the whole range of teaching much more than we do. And also I think there is volunteer work which, where women really have training, could be immensely valuable to the community in many cases. We have never really advanced volunteer work on a professional status. Uh, Mrs. Roosevelt, I think that's very important because today in all of
our areas -- schools, education, handling children, handling [words cut off] -- we cannot manage this only with the professional group available. And one of the great services that women can do on a part-time basis, or if their children are raised at a full-time basis, is this great area of volunteer work. My wife, for example, has been looking into this in the district and she has found enormous enthusiasm on the part of women who want to make a contribution to this, to help with an education, help with juvenile problems, help with the aged problems, if they're invited to do it and to be also trained to do it. And part of our training must not only encompass training for jobs that pay but... now this brings us ... training for public service. Now this brings us to education. And I really think that this is, is one of the things we should discuss. Are we, are we giving women the proper kind of education? I'll start with you,
Mr. Mendenhall. I knew that education would take it sooner or later, Mrs. Roosevelt -- uh, we always do. I suppose I should first come back at the group with a question. Do they think that the education of, ah, women should be substantially different from the education of men? I think this is a fairly important ... how ?must it?...ground rule to get [words cut off]. What do you think? I once wrote a book saying no. Well, I assume you're sticking to the position you took in the book? And I have not changed ?that observation? --that is to say, women do have special problems. That's why we have an hour devoted to women's problems. It isn't because we assume that men don't have problems. It's after all the men who have the ulcers and the coronaries. So they certainly do have problems, but we happen to be talking about women's problems, so ... Would you amend your statement by saying women not only have special problems but special characteristics? Yes. Yes. But I believe that
I'm talking about college education, and that's something I know a little something about, and I'm not sure about secondary education. I think it applies even more so there. I think within the framework of essentially a similar strong liberal arts education, the special interests of the sexes can find their answer. I do believe that we can. We need to design a distinctively feminine college curriculum. If we did I think we would outfit women for occupations as well as for family life. A mother needs to know about an amoeba,[laughter] to know then they have [words cut off] homemaking. What would be your answer, Mrs. Russell? I would not like to see a different kind of education for girls compared to boys. I think they should have the same curriculum. Then they can add to that if they want to, other subjects which they need sooner or later. But I, I would like to go back again from education to vocational
training and to suitable or non-suitable occupations, because you have to base the education on some future needs for workers. If we are going to look into this I think we could rather try to see which occupations or professions are supposed not to be suitable for women and then ask ourselves why. And could something get done about it, or should something be done about it. And I'm sure that when we study them a little closer we'll see that it's not the prejudice. As you said, in different states those jobs are not for women; in other states the other kind of jobs are not for women. So, and that's one field. I would also like to go back to the part-time work. Maybe the part-time work is not so attractive because we have not made -- we have not invented the field property. We have not encouraged
employers to invent the field and see if they could drop a few of the prejudices against dividing up jobs and put them on different hours of the day so that they suit the women better. Why I went over to this instead of sticking to your educational problem was that the girls' interest and parents' interest in giving girls a suitable education, college or vocational training education, has very much to do with the future possibilities. She cannot decide when she is 15 or 16 whether she's going to be married or is going to have children but she has to make up her mind that she wants a real, sound basis for possibilities to have a job if her life should be such that she can have a job and chooses to have one. And
that's why I'm afraid that we plan the education and the training believing that they will sooner or later leave the labor market and not need to return to it. And as you said, Mr. Goldberg, most of them need to work, but I don't think they should forced to go to the employer and give valid reasons for their desire to work. But don't you think that at some point ?in the world?. take graduate school. Now, its true, a 15-year-old isn't sure as to whether she's going to get married. But when you reach graduate school you may have that question pretty well resolved. Don't you think it is a valid consideration -- 'cause we can't have everything in life -- no. And don't you think it's a valid consideration for a woman entering graduate school to say to herself, "I have to consider that if I want to..." I'm a great believer in freedom of choice. I believe that a woman has a right, if she wants to make arrangements to
have her child taken care of and that is her pattern of life, that she performs her duties as a mother, that's her business and she ought to make that decision with her husband. Let's assume that she has made that evaluation and she wants to think in terms of staying at home while the youngster is being raised. Don't you think that that is a valid consideration for her to take in mind in where she is going to graduate school at that point? Most certainly. It's the same evaluation as a boy does. In which field would he like to have his training? What will be most suitable and most profitable for him? This is the same kind of, um, evaluation. Although it leads into something else. I don't share Mrs. Roosevelt's complete pessimism about the possibility of returning after the children are older, to professional occupational world. Something is stirring in the country, and I think the period of talking about it is over and the
period of doing something about it has begun, but of course the beginning ?unintelligible? you. If you see what is being done at Barnard now, at Radcliffe, at Sarah Lawrence -- those are all attempts to ... maybe Smith too. We're doing it too. I beg your pardon... thank you..., I am not ?important? apparently, but we'll with happiness include every... you, you.. university. Retrain, retrain or new training, or new training. You, you eh, rather lean towards deferring marriages, don't you, Mr. Mendenhall? I have created an unhappy reputation for myself, Mrs. Roosevelt, as being one of those who's raised his voice in mild protest, but continuing protest, against rushing into early marriages, ah, for lots of complicated reasons, not all of which are relevant to our discussion today. I think that
no young person, man or woman, should contemplate marriage until he's a free-standing, independent individual and, uh, to rush into marriage for, ah, reasons of seeking some kind of dependent situation I think it is unfortunate for either party. I do think that the tendency towards the early marriage, as we have all agreed, is such that all of us in education should look to adapt our educational patterns to assisting not only the young girl who is in her education to finish her education, but as was said a moment ago, I believe we should think of ways by which we could come to the aid of the young woman or the young mother with her children now out of the nest sufficiently so that she can get back into a profession, a vocation, or perhaps take up one which she had not yet even identified with. And I
think it's a, it's a very true thing that most of the colleges and universities of the country are, in their differing ways, becoming more and more aware of this. Ah, how much of a--a revolution this will have on, on the education of women I don't know. There are those who would say we should deliberately encourage them to take off and get married in, in their late teens, have their family and then give them their college education. Ah, I'm not sure any of us here would quite favor that yet. But I do think the patterns are changing and that we must, uh, work with them. One of the things that worries me -- and I know I'm not s'pposed to make a speech -- but, uh, one of the things that worried me is, worries me: I'm not sure that the young women at a certain point in here don't lose their nerve and, ah, aren't perhaps the, the first to refuse to make the judgment which you, Mrs. Russell, were describing or make the evaluation of
themselves that the Secretary was speaking to. I think at a certain point some of them are, well, to put it in a phrase, are too ready to carry a man's coat, when in fact they have the ability and training to go it alone. And they ought to recognize that they have this, uh, professional interest and perhaps, ah, ah, ability and aptitude and they ought to make something of it. That in a way is a change from deferring to a partnership in marriage, really, so that each of them has a right for self-development. I would like to ask you, ah, Dr. Komarovsky, what do you think the effect on the children is of a working mother? As I read the evidence of a number of studies, let's talk about research first -- everyone has opinions on the subject -- there've been a number of
studies made about the effect of employment upon adjustment of the child, academic standing, rejection or acceptance of the mother, types of discipline. And as I said, I would sum it all up by saying that the mere fact of employment appears to make very little difference. The more careful the study, the more the various conditions are met -- so that income is compared for income, class for class, and so forth -- the less difference does the mere fact of employment have upon all of these variables that I mentioned. As I was leaving New York I received a report of a study which does this kind of a careful comparison. Well, with regard to delinquency, amazing as it seems, working mothers do not have a higher proportion of delinquent children.
And it is for the melancholy reason that a mother can be at home and still not give the child proper care. Either being overburdened or just being irresponsible. And that doesn't mean that working doesn't have any effect. It means that we have to think about it in a much more complex way, taking into consideration the personality of the child and the mother and so forth and so on. And so if I were to, ah, have to give a categorical answer, it would be that some mothers should work and others should not. [laughter] That's ?unintelligible? I'm afraid that from the point of view of the development in other countries in the world, and particularly in new countries, Mrs. Russell, do you think that there is going to develop a system to help women
to get an education whereby they can be more independent, or do you think the trend is another way? Well, I think first of all that all the new countries are looking towards you, your country and, eh, countries like mine. That is a... they want to have... responsibility for us. Yes it is, yes it is. It's not just a domestic problem, it's also an international responsibility. I don't think we can run away from that. Neither in your country nor in mine. And maybe we should say some time, it's so obvious it doesn't have to be said, but nevertheless, if we were not worried about the children we should not have to discuss all this. So may we make it clear that it's because the mothers, the women... and the, and the fathers... the society, the father, everybody is concerned about the well-being of children. That's why we are discussing this. But we are also
concerned about the, the, uh, women and their happiness, and by that that possibility to make the home happy and harmonious. And there comes the other difficulty, and that's the woman's dual loyalty to her man and her home and to the society and to the other women. And I think it puts them in a specially difficult position. Now I'm coming back again to these young people and coming back to retraining and so on. Only a few years ago when we took up this question in the, eh, U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and in the ILO, we spoke about older women workers, that is to say women of 40. We have at least--. That sounds very young to me. They are no more called "old women workers"... prime of life...and it becomes more and more natural that they can come out in employment and fully training. Our experience, eh, from studies
and, uh, some ?unintelligible? is that whatever kind of education or training in whatever field they have had before marriage, they are much easier to retrain, much easier to guide into even a new field of training because they already have had the training of their minds, their hands, their skills even if they change entirely. I'm again coming back to you and I will ask you: Could, for instance, not the students in a teacher's college start their studies at the very old age of 38 or 40 when they've had the training and experience of their own children, because they could still, eh, work strongly and happily until they're 60, 65. I would not only agree with you that they could start it; I would also argue that they
could be taken carried through this training at a, probably a faster rate than a younger person. And I think that our training pattern or program for such people at such an age should be very different than it is with, with the teenager. I think any of us, for instance, who taught in programs in the war, which involved older men or officer training things and courses of this sort, realize that you didn't teach a class of men in their 30's the same way you taught teenagers. And I think we have a great, great deal of, uh, readjustment and new thinking to do in, in colleges and vocational programs of various sorts to take cognizance of these, of the imponderables that experience, uh, gives, uh, to these, uh, women in this case. It leads to new things. Have you points you want to make?
I have a ?number? now [laughter] ?unintelligible? particular? I may go back to one. Just, ah, you asked me about the influence of employment upon children, employment of mothers. May I just say that there seems to be a general agreement among child psychologists in this country that group care does not meet the emotional needs of children under 3. And very many of the studies that I have recited, the results of which I have recited, deal with the effect of mothers' employment upon younger children but not, not infants, actually. Is there a point you want to make, Mr. Secretary? Yes, I would like to make one final point: That regardless of where we may be in how to treat a particular problem of women in employment or anything of this, I think we all ought to agree upon one thing. That prejudice ought not to be a barrier against any person,
man or a woman, realizing their full potential and a basic to a discussion of our whole problem is we gotta get rid of this prejudice... umhmm.. and start from there considering what the problems are. Well, I think our time is nearly running out and I have, will try to sum up, um, what to me is very significant: namely, that I think we have practically said that in education we must face new things in the next few years; that we have new situations to meet and new problems to face, and that, um, we may need to rethink our education in a number of ways. I, eh, I like the idea that one could train faster perhaps at an older age -- not too old but [laugh] a little bit more ma- mature.
And also, I'm enormously encouraged by the fact that it really seems to be the feeling that, eh, children are not really harmed by, eh, the fact that their mothers work. Um, these two things stand out, and I think are important things. And also that it's an international problem. And now I'm sorry to say I have to thank you all, and this is our last program for the season so I want to thank all of our faithful audience and say good bye and I hope we will have you all together joining us next year. [music begins] [music] [music in background] President John F. Kennedy appeared in the special introduction to this program. Arthur Goldberg is the United States Secretary of Labor. Agda Russell is
Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt
Episode Number
What Status for Women?
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WGBH Educational Foundation
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Recorded in early 1960s. Part of the Henry Morgenthau III collection dubbing. NOTICE: This tape has a recorded in audio time code through the second 1/4 of the program. This was present on the 3/4 inch source tape from the Morgenthau collection.
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"Prospects of Mankind is a talk show hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt featuring roundtable discussion of foreign and domestic affairs with leading political, academic, and journalistic experts. It was filmed on location at Brandeis University."
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Talk Show
Public Affairs
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Guest: Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963
Guest: Goldberg, Arthur
Guest: Mendenhall, Thomas
Guest: Komarovsky, Mirra
Guest: Russell, Agda
Host: Roosevelt, Eleanor
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
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Identifier: 308336 (WGBH Barcode)
Format: Digital Betacam
Generation: Master
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Chicago: “Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt; 310; What Status for Women?,” 1962-06-03, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 1, 2021,
MLA: “Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt; 310; What Status for Women?.” 1962-06-03. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 1, 2021. <>.
APA: Prospects of Mankind with Eleanor Roosevelt; 310; What Status for Women?. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from