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Eleanor F. Rathbone
“I doubt whether there is any subject in the world of equal importance that has received so little serious and articulate consideration as the economic status of the family — of its members in relation to each other and of the whole unit in relation to the other units of which the community is made up.”
“... of the family as an economic unit — something which has its own claim, based on its own value to the nation, to its own share in the nation's wealth — there has been next to no consideration at all.”
“Pluck from under the family all the props which religion and morality have given it, strip it of the glamour, true or false, cast round it by romance, it will still remain a prosaic, indisputable fact, that the whole business of begetting, bearing and rearing children, is the most essential of all the nation's businesses.”
“There is, I suppose, no occupation in the world which has an influence on the efficiency and happiness of the members of nearly all other occupations so continuous and so permeating as that of the working housewife and mother.”
“... the struggle for the right to become politicians in itself made women into politicians.”
“... the explanation of the ebb and flow of the women's movement ... is partly psychological. During those early post-war years when successes came thick and fast and were almost thrust upon us, the nation was still under the influence of the reconstruction spirit, when everything seemed possible ... A few years later the nation had reached the stage which follows a drinking bout. It was feeling ruefully in its empty pockets. It did not want to part with anything to anybody. Its head ached. Noble sentiments made it feel sick. It wanted only to be left alone.”
“... continually measuring women's wants by men's achievements seems out of date, ignominious, and intolerably boring. ... Now that we have secured possession of the tools of citizenship, we intend to use them not to copy men's models but to produce our own.”
Eleanor F. Rathbone, English politician, suffragist
(1872 - 1946)