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Salient: Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Vol. 24, No. 7. 1961.

Women and University Education

Women and University Education

Maren Lidden ends with this comment: "If I have not quoted one woman prepared to state she has wholly benefited by her university training, the reason is simply this ... I was unable to find such a woman."

I am one of the women she missed.

Mr Editor, you can take what you like from these comments of mine. Could I suggest that you and many more of your men colleagues are enjoying full-time university study because your mothers encouraged you to stay on at college. Very likely they were graduates themselves.

But the most important factor is the influence on the partner. All professional people could do with the informed frankness of a wife. As the years move on and carry you men on to prestige and importance, often the only healthy criticism that you are going to get in from your wives. If the woman has not received the university training enjoyed by her husband, the chances are that he is going to have no one to tell him. later on, that he is taking himself too seriously. And surely this applies to professional women also. A husband to prick her bubble at the right time is also her salvation. To me this is the overwhelming argument for university training for women. Our trouble is far too few women graduates. Men in important positions who take themselves too seriously are really a menace.

No real training of the mind is ever wasted. The years when children are very small give time for extensive reading—never possible under the pressure of examinations. If she is a student she will want to gain a wider knowledge. When the children are all at school an intelligent couple can work out some system so that she may take up her job outside the home. Of course she will never reach any top position; but does that really matter? Every profession is crying out for dedicated and devoted people free from narrow ambition and desire for power.

Now, about this system that has to be worked out at home. The husband of the professional woman will have the outlet of some cooking and some vacuum-cleaning to let off steam, and save him from ulcers, blood pressure and overeating. Moreover, if a wife has the stimulus of her own profession for part of the day, she is not wanting to be lifted out of domestic boredom. The husband may relax in comfort (after the vacuum-cleaning is done, of course!).

But I have my husband, my five children, my part-time professional work. And I suppose this article was written for present women students. Is it really true that "men hate you if you are intelligent"? That a university degree has a definite effect in discouraging suittors? [Yes.]

Lord Cobham said about something else: "It's not because they are poor advocates, but because they are too few." The trouble is partly that. But it's up to us to change men's opinions. Let it be known from the housetops the awful damage done when men come to grief through ignoring the aid of am intelligent woman. The history of our modern world would have been different if the Hitlers had married well-educated women who could have laughed them out of their frustrations.

You men at Victoria ... before you finally leave the hill, take a closer look at your university women. Once you come into circulation down town, you'll have other women sitting at your feet. But a woman at your side is belter.

One of Them.