December 12, 1911, To the Editor of The Yorkshire Post, “The Demand for Sex Equality”
On the eve of her letter box campaign, Emily Davison returns to some of the themes she wrote about in letters written earlier in 1911. In response to “George Mack” she recalls her own rhetoric about the progress of “today” and the need to take care for the future welfare of the State. Her argument that strong citizens come from strong women is bolstered by her evidence that women have exhibited better self-control in moments of public stress than men have. By the end of the letter she has implicitly charged men with the “emotional and hysterical” behavior imputed to women.
Sir, — Your Anti-Suffragist correspondent, George Mack, is very prehistoric in his ideas. To-day when it is acknowledge that the future welfare of the State and the race lies in the upbringing of the child, therefore of the mother, he announces that he does not ‘see any logical connection between maternity per se and capacity for State government.’ Yet it is truly surprising that such a remark should come, seeing that Anti-suffragists are constantly raising outcries about the decline in the birthrate, and race degeneration. These problems which are fundamental to the State’s well-being, to res publica, will never be effectively dealt with till women have a voice in the State. Of what use to produce the greatest Dreadnoughts in the world, unless you have a sound, fine race to man them? Mr. Lloyd George in his speech at Bath gave testimony to the need of the woman’s point of view in the state since the State is now greatly concerned with social and moral legislation.
Mr. Mack maintains that women are emotional and hysterical. There may be women to whom these epithets apply, as they do to a great number of men. In moments of danger, sudden outbreaks of fire, during shipwreck, and when police have been in imminent danger, women have shown themselves of late more un-selfish, level-headed, and cool than men. On the other hand, on Mafeking night, recently in Parliament, and also in the late General Elections, and in the great strike scenes, men have not at all times evinced that self-control which is claimed to be the peculiarity of their sex.
Mr. George Mack is setting up personally biased special pleadings against an irresistible principle of justice! Yours, etc.,
EMILY WILDING DAVISON
31, Coram Street, London, W.C., Dec. 9, 1911