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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Who passed the Laws?

Who passed the Laws?

The laws imposing these disabilities on women have been passed by men, the stronger of the sexes. In the days of old, Might was Right; physical force swayed races, nations, and classes. Women were looked upon as chattels; men sold their daughters for concubines; warriors seized women for wives in times of war; others stole them in times of peace, never dreaming of consulting their wishes. Even to-day women are reckoned as chattels by all except the better class of men, who esteem them as man's complement. The numbers of men who hold women to be something more than mere things, and deserving of the Franchise, are increasing every day. Three hundred and twenty-seven members of the House of Commons are in favour of women's suffrage: a recent Trades Union Congress voted in favour of it; a majority of our New Zealand Parliament voted in favour of the second reading of the Women's Suffrage Bill; about fifty-two thousand women in this Colony have petitioned Parliament for it; men like Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Herbert Spencer advocate it, and in a few years at most it will be an accomplished fact. Some people who do not know what is going on in the world, say women do not want it; but if they will open their eyes to the public meetings held by women, to the leagues formed by them, to their writings, and their general activity in this matter, they will be ashamed to repeat the stock objection used against granting liberty to the American slaves: "They do not want it." If they will turn to the writings of Mrs. Ashton Dilke, Miss Frances Power Cobbe, Mrs. Oliphant and others, they will soon learn whether women want it or not.