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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 30

Why Women should Vote

Why Women should Vote.

It is contended that women should exercise the Franchise (1) Because they pay taxes and ought to have a voice in choosing representatives to impose and spend the taxes. It is a principal of our Constitution that no taxes should be imposed without the consent of the people through their representatives in Parliament, and as widows and spinsters have no Parliamentary Franchise, they are not represented. Those who laud John Hampden for resisting un-constitutional taxation, fly into a passion when women even hint at such a thing on their own account. (2) Women's questions will never be fairly discussed and justly dealt with in Parliament until the members know that women can take part in choosing and rejecting them. Many members of Parliament make greater efforts to keep their seats and honoraria than to decide questions on their merits; they try to please their constituents and do not trouble about "out-aiders" who cannot vote for or against them. Hence the Women's Property Act was shelved six times in one Session in England, and the Women's Suffrage Bill was recently shelved at Wellington. Mr. Moss and other members who voted against the Bill because of their "great reverence for women" would reverence them a hundred per cent, more, even to the point of worshipping them, if women had a vote. (3) Women have proved themselves worthy of the Franchise. In Wyoming and the Isle of Man their influence has been good; Queen Elizabeth, Queen Ann, and Queen Victoria proved that women have political capacities which only need developing; women, as a rule, rear their children well and judiciously, manage their husband's money, thus proving faithful in greater things than the exercise of a vote. (5) Women should have the Franchise to enable them to get relief from the unequal and unjust laws which disgrace our Statute-book. Mrs. Aldis has chased one unjust municipal law into outer darkness, and if women get their fetters off they will make short work of our divorce law. It is simply monstrous that page 4 men should make one law for themselves and another for women. If violation of the moral law and the marriage vow entitles a man to a divorce, it should also entitle the woman to a divorce, but. it does not. Man can get free for one offence on his wife's part, but she cannot get free for the same thing unless the man commits also legal cruelty! Members of Parliament would soon rectify our unjust intestacy laws, too, and the laws affecting women's persons, if women could vote for their law-makers.