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Women in Journalism

March 28, 1888 – International Council of Women, Assembled by the National Woman Suffrage Association, Washington, DC


It is my honor to represent at this Council an association which was founded on sentiment. The Woman’s International Press Asso ciation should have members on every country weekly and great daily news paper in all civilized lands, with opportunities for influencing millions of readers in all progressive and philanthropic works. The ancient sentiment of patriotism is yielding to the modern sentiment of philanthropy. The one means love of fatherland — the other of mankind. In ancient days, when a man was wrecked on a foreign coast, he was either murdered, enslaved, or held for ransom. Nowadays, in this country, he is welcomed to a homestead and all the rights of an American citizen, with the Army, the Navy, and the great heart of the American people to sustain him. That is a distinct mark of progress on the dial of time.

The best that modern science has done is to promote the democratic ten dency everywhere. Having determined that one human being is the brother of all others in the eyes of a common Father, we are beginning here in America, to recognize the other fact, that a distinction of sex is not a neces sary distinction of capacity or ability in the active work of the world. We of the New World are conscious of the fact that the most serious problems of the Old World have been relegated to us for solution. The energetic, self-dependent women of this country are finding employment in every branch of industry and commerce. It merely happens that in journalism we have had the best opportunity to write our names in enduring letters and to command respect instead of soliciting toleration.

The advancement of women in the world everywhere has been through all ages coeval with the most glorious triumphs of civilization. Every advance women make here is met with a . ready response in Europe, or vice versa. No territorial lines divide the common heart of womanhood or bar that touch of nature that makes the whole world kin. We in America have led, and are willing to follow; and we gladly invite the counsel of foreign journalists in regard to the practical duties of our profession. Woman in journalism has come to stay. What are her duties, then? What has mankind the right to expect from her toward the betterment of current literature ? First of all, good taste-^-the second conscience of the sex — grace, style, every artistic attraction that is not meretricious ; second, in logical order, but first in im portance, purity. We have not gone into journalism to take the place of the politician, the statesman, the savant, but to spread the influence of Christian firesides — the aims of a broad philanthropy, over the modern world.

Hundreds of women belong to this great Press Association. Some of them are here to-night, and many are far from here at work by busy desks in the sweet security of their homes or in the equal security of their newspaper offices. They may or they may not wear on their breasts the white, the red, or the yellow ribbon of the new legion of honor, but wherever they are their pens and services should be dedicated to just the fine and simple sentiments of honesty and purity.



Source: Report of the International Council of Women, Assembled by the National Woman Suffrage Association, Washington, D.C., U.S. of America, March 25 to April 1, 1888, (Washington, DC: Rufus H. Darby), 1888, pp. 181-182.