August Bebel. Woman and Socialism
Woman at the Present Day
Although the change in the position of women is obvious to all who go through life with open eyes, we still continue to hear the idle talk that the home and the family are woman’s natural sphere. This cry is most loudly raised wherever women attempt to enter the learned professions to become teachers at higher institutions of learning, physicians, lawyers, scientists, etc. The most ridiculous objections are resorted to and defended in the guise of scientific arguments. In this respect, as in many others, supposedly learned men base their arguments on science to defend what is most ridiculous, and absurd. Their main objection is, that women are intellectually inferior to men; that in the realm of intellectual activity they cannot attain any noteworthy achievements. Most men are so prejudiced in regard to the professional abilities of women, that whoever resorts to arguments of this sort is sure to meet with approval. As long as the general status of culture and knowledge is as low as at present, new ideas will always be met with rigorous opposition, especially when it is in the interest of the ruling classes to limit culture and knowledge to their own strata. Therefore new ideas are at first upheld only by a small minority, and this small group is subjected to ridicule, slander and persecution. But if the new ideas are good and rational, if they have sprung tip as a natural consequence of existing conditions, they will be disseminated, and the minority will eventually become the majority. It was thus with every new idea in the course of human history, and the idea of obtaining woman’s true and complete emancipation will meet with the same success. Were not the believers in Christian faith at one time a small minority? Was the reformation not ushered in by a small and persecuted group? Did not the modern bourgeoisie contend with overwhelmingly powerful opponents? Nevertheless they were victorious. Or was Socialism destroyed in Germany by twelve years of persecution by exceptional laws? The victory of Socialism was never more certain than when it was thought to be destroyed.
The assertion that housekeeping and child-rearing is woman’s natural sphere is as intelligent as the assertion that there must always be kings, because there have been kings as long as there has been a history. We do not know how the first king originated, just as we do not know where the first capitalist appeared. But we do know that monarchy has been greatly transformed in the course of thousands of years, that it is the tendency of evolution to diminish the power of kings more and more and that the time will come – and that time is not far distant – when kings will be quite superfluous. just as monarchy, so every institution of state and society is subjected to changes and transformations and ultimate destruction. In the historical expositions of this book we have seen, that th e present form of marriage and the position of woman have by no means always been what they are today. We have seen that both are the product of an historical line of development that is still in progress. About 2,350 years ago Demosthenes could assert that woman had no other vocation but to give birth to legitimate children and to faithfully guard the house. To-day this conception has been overcome. No one could dare to defend this standpoint to-day without being accused of contempt of women. Indeed there are some even to-day who secretly share the view of the ancient Athenian, but no one would dare to express publicly what one of the foremost men of ancient Greece asserted freely and openly as a matter of course. Herein lies the progress.
Now, although modern development has undermined millions of marriages, it has on the other hand influenced the evolution of marriage favorably. Only a few decades ago it was a matter of fact in every citizen’s and peasant’s home, that women not only sewed, knitted, washed, cooked, etc., but that they also baked the bread, spun and weaved, and bleached, brewed beer and manufactured tallow candles and soap. Running water, lighting and heating by gas – not to speak of electricity – besides numerous other modern housefurnishings were unknown in those days. Antiquated conditions persist even today, but they are exceptions. The majority of women are relieved from many occupations that were inevitable formerly, because many things can be made better and cheaper industrially than by the individual housewife. Thus, within a few decades a great revolution has taken place in our domestic life to which we pay so little heed, only because we take it for granted. People do not notice transformations even when they take place under their very eyes as long as they are not sudden and disturb the accustomed order, but they resent new ideas that threaten to interfere with their treading of the beaten path. This revolution in our domestic life that is still going on, has considerably changed the position of woman in the family in still another respect. Our grandmother could not and would not think of visiting theatres, concerts and places of amusement even on week days. Nor would any woman in the good old days have dared to bother about public affairs as so many do today. At present women organize and join clubs pursuing the most varied aims, they found newspapers, subscribe to them and edit them and hold conventions. As working women they organize industrially and attend the men’s meetings. In some localities of Germany they even possessed the right to elect members to courts of trade, but of this right the reactionary majority in the diet deprived them again in the year of the Lord, 1890. Although these altered conditions have their dark sides too, the bright sides predominate, and not even any reactionary would wish to abolish them again. The women themselves, regardless of the conservative character of most of them, have no inclination either to return to the old, patriarchal conditions.
In the United States, society is organized along bourgeois lines also, but it is not burdened with old European prejudices and antiquated institutions, and is therefore much more inclined to adopt new institutions and ideas if they hold promise of advantage. There, since quite some time, the position of woman is regarded differently than in Europe. Among wealthy circles women have been relieved not only of baking and brewing, but of cooking as well, and the one kitchen of an apartment hotel replaces many individual kitchens. Our army officers, who are no Socialists or Communists, have a similar method. In their casinos they form a sort of housekeeping community, appoint a manager, whose business it is to purchase the food wholesale, and to draw up the menus, and the food is cooked by steam in the kitchen of the barracks. They live far more cheaply than they could in a hotel, and their food is at least as good. Thousands of wealthy families live in boarding houses or hotels all year or part of the year without missing their domestic cooking. They, on the contrary, regard it as a great comfort to be relieved of the private kitchen. The general aversion of rich and wealthy women against kitchen work does not seem to signify that this occupation is a part of woman’s “natural sphere.” Indeed, the fact that rich families and large hotels employ male cooks makes it appear as if cooking were man’s work. Let these facts be noted by men who cannot conceive woman except surrounded by pots and pans.
Nothing could be simpler than to combine a central laundry with a central kitchen – as has already been done in all large cities by wealthy private residents or speculators – and to make the institution general. With the central kitchen, central heating, hot water supply, etc., might be connected, and much troublesome work entailing a great waste of time and effort would be abolished. Large hotels, many private houses, hospitals, schools, barracks and other public buildings have these and other modern improvements, as electric light, bathing establishments, etc. The mistake is that only public institutions and wealthy persons profit by these improvements. If made accessible to all, they would save a tremendous amount of time, effort, labor and expense, and would considerably heighten the general well being. In the summer of 1890 German newspapers published reports of progress being made in the United States in regard to central heating and ventilation. In these reports, among other things, the following was stated: “Experiments that have recently been made, especially in North America, to heat entire blocks or portions of a city from one centrally located place, have been successful in no small degree. The construction has been so carefully planned and so practically applied, that the favorable results and financial advantages will undoubtedly lead to an extension of this system. Recently further experiments have been made to provide not only the heating but also the ventilation of entire districts from centrally located places.”
Many of these contemplated improvements have since been realized and further improved. Narrow-minded philistines shrug their shoulders when such and similar plans are discussed; and yet in Germany, too, we are in the midst of a new industrial revolution, whereby the individual kitchen and other housework will become as superfluous as labor by manual tools became superfluous by the introduction of modern machinery. As late as the beginning of the nineteenth century, even a Napoleon could deride as a crazy idea the project of moving a vessel by steam. People who were considered intelligent, regarded the plan of building a railroad as an absurdity; they claimed that no one could live in a vehicle travelling at such high speed. In the same manner many new ideas are dealt with to-day. If some one had told our women a century ago that they should get their water from a faucet in the kitchen instead of drawing it from the well, he would have been accused of seeking to encourage laziness in housewives and servants.
But the great technical revolution along all lines is in full swing. Nothing can stay its progress. It is the historical mission of bourgeois society that has ushered in this revolution, to lead it to As climax, and everywhere to bring to light the germs of transformation, which a society organized on a new basis will merely need to generalize and to make the common property of all.
The development of our social life does not tend to lead woman back to the home and hearth, a state that fanatics on domesticity desire, and for which they clamor as the Jews in the desert clamored for the lost flesh-pots of Egypt. It demands the release of woman from her narrow sphere of domestic life, and her full participation in public life and the missions of civilization. Laveleye is right when he says: “With the growth of what we call civilization, the feelings of piety toward family life decrease and its bonds become looser and have less influence on the actions of men. This fact is so general that it may be regarded as a law of social development.” Not only has the position of woman in the family changed, but also the position of son and daughter in their relation to the family. They have gradually obtained a degree of independence that was unheard of formerly. This is especially so in the United States, where young persons are educated to become self-reliant and independent to a far greater extent than in Europe. The dark sides that are incidental to this form of development also are not necessarily connected with it, but are rooted in the social conditions of our time. Bourgeois society does not produce any new and pleasing phenomena that do not have a dark side as well. As Fourier already pointed out with much perspicacity, all its progress is double-edged. Like Laveleye, Dr. Schaeffle also recognizes the changed nature of the modern family as a result of social development. He says: “Throughout history we find the tendency of the family to return to its specific functions. The family abandons one provisionally and temporarily maintained function after another and, inasmuch as it only filled out the gaps in social functions, it yields to the ... dependent institutions of law, order, power, divine service, teaching, industry, etc., as soon as such institutions are developed.”
Women are advancing, tho at present only a small minority strives to advance, and of these again only a few are fully conscious of their aims. They not only wish to measure their strength with that of men industrially and commercially, they not only wish to hold a more independent position in the family, they also wish to employ their intellectual abilities in higher positions and in public life. They are met time and again with the argument that they are unfit by nature for intellectual occupations. The question of the practice of learned professions only concerns a small number of women in present-day society, but it is important as a matter of principle. The majority of men seriously believe that women must remain subjected to them intellectually also and that they have no right to seek equality; therefore they are vehemently opposed to the intellectual ambitions of women. The same men who do not object to women being employed in difficult and dangerous occupations that threaten their womanliness and injure their maternity, would bar them from professions that are far less difficult and dangerous and far better suited to their physical abilities. In Germany, the lively agitation for the admission of women to universities, has called forth a great number of opponents who especially oppose the admission of women to the study of medicine. Among these are Pochhammer, Fehling, Binder, Hegar, and others. J. Beerenbach seeks to prove that women are not qualified for scientific study, by pointing out that no genius had as yet sprung up among women. This argument is neither valid nor convincing. Geniuses do not drop from the sky; they must have an opportunity for development, and such opportunity women have been lacking, for since thousands of years they have been oppressed and deprived of opportunity for intellectual development, and thereby their mental abilities have become atrophied. A considerable number of distinguished women exist even to-day, and if one denies the existence of potential geniuses among them, that is as far from being true as the belief that there were no more geniuses among men than those that were recognized as such. Every country schoolteacher knows how many able minds among his pupils are never developed because they lack opportunity for development. Indeed we all have in our day met persons in whom we recognized rare ability and who, we felt, would have become a credit to the community, if circumstances had been more favorable to them. The number of talents and geniuses among men is far greater than could be revealed until now. The same is true of the abilities of women that have for thousands of years been far more hampered, repressed and cramped than those of men. We have no standard whereby we can measure the amount of intellectual strength and ability among men and women, that would unfold if they could develop under natural conditions.
To-day it is in human life as in plant life. Millions of precious seeds never achieve development because the ground on which they are cast is unfertile or is already occupied, and the young plant is thus deprived of air, light and nourishment. The same laws that apply to nature apply to human life. If a gardener or farmer would claim that a plant could not be perfected without having made an attempt to perfect it, his more enlightened neighbors would consider him a fool. They would hold the same opinion of him if he would refuse to interbreed one of his female domestic animals with a male of more perfect breed to obtain more perfect stock.
There is no peasant to-day who is so ignorant not to recognize the advantage of a rational treatment of his vegetables, fruit, and cattle; whether his means allow the application of advanced methods is another question. Only in regard to humanity even educated people will not admit what they regard as an irrefutable law with the rest of the organic world. Yet one need not be a scientist to derive instructive observations from life. How is it that peasant children differ from city children? How is it that children of the wealthier classes are, as a rule, distinguishable from the children of the poor by facial and bodily traits and by mental qualities? It is due to the difference in their conditions of living and education.
The one-sidedness of training for a certain profession leaves its particular imprint upon a person. As a rule a minister or a school teacher can easily be recognized by his bearing and the expression of his face, as also a military mail. even in plain clothes. A cobbler is easily distinguished from a tailor, a carpenter from a locksmith. Twin brothers who greatly resembled each other in their youth, will show marked differences in a more advanced age if their occupations have been very different from one another; if, for instance, one is a manual laborer, say a blacksmith, and the other has studied philosophy. Heredity on the one hand and adaptation on the other, are decisive factors in human development as well as in the animal kingdom, and man, moreover, is the most adaptive of all creatures. Sometimes a few years of a different mode of life and a different occupation suffice to alter a person completely. External changes are never more clearly seen than when a person is transplanted from poor and narrow circumstances to greatly improved ones. His past can perhaps be disavowed least in his mental culture. When people have attained a certain age, they frequently have no ambition for intellectual improvement. and often they do not need it either. A parvenu rarely suffers from this shortcoming. In our day money is the chief asset, and people bow far more readily before the man with a great fortune than before the man of knowledge and great intellectual abilities, especially if it is his ill fortune to be poor. The worship of Mammon was never greater than in our day. Yet we are living in the “best of worlds.”
Our industrial districts furnish a striking example of the influence of decidedly different conditions of life and education. Even externally, workers and capitalists differ to such an extent as if they were members of two different races. These differences were brought home to us in an almost startling manner at the occasion of a campaign meeting during the winter of 1877 in an industrial town of Saxony. The meeting, in which a discussion with a liberal professor was to take place, had been so arranged that an equal number of both parties were present. The front of the hall was occupied by our opponents, almost without exception healthy, strong, and some stately figures. In the rear of the hall and on the galleries were the workingmen and small traders, nine-tenths of them weavers, mostly small, narrow-chested, hollow-cheeked figures whose faces bore the imprints of care and need. The one group represented the well-fed virtue and morality of the bourgeois world, the other represented the worker-bees and beasts of burden on whose labor the gentlemen waxed strong. If one generation were reared under equally favorable conditions of life the differences would be greatly decreased and would quite disappear among their progeny.
It is usually more difficult to determine the social position among women than among men. They easily accustom themselves to altered conditions and readily adopt more refined habits of life. Their adaptability is greater than that of the more clumsy man.
What good soil, air and light are to the plant, that to man are healthful social conditions, which enable him to develop his physical and mental qualities. The saying that “man is what he eats” expresses a similar thought somewhat too narrowly. Not only what a man eats, but his entire standard of life and his social environment advance or hamper his physical and mental development. and influence his feelings, his thoughts and his actions favorably or unfavorably, as the case may be. We see every day that persons living in good financial circumstances go to ruin mentally and morally, because outside of the narrow sphere of their domestic and personal relations, unfavorable influences, social in character. were brought to bear upon them and gained such control over them that they were driven into evil ways. The social conditions under which we live are even more important than the conditions of family life. But when the social conditions of development will be the same for both sexes, when there will be no restriction for either, and when the general state of society will be a healthful one, woman will rise to a height of perfection that we can hardly conceive to-day, because until now no such conditions have existed in human evolution. The achievements of individual women justify our highest expectations, for these tower above the mass of their sex just as male geniuses tower above the mass of men. If we apply the standard of rulership, for instance, we find that women have shown even greater talent for ruling than men. To mention just a few examples: There were Isabella and Blanche of Castilia, Elizabeth of Hungary, Katherine Sforza, Countess of Milan and Imola, Elizabeth of England, Katherine of Russia, Maria Theresa, and others. Basing his assertion on the fact that women have ruled well among all nations and in all parts of the globe, even over the wildest and most turbulent hordes, Burbach is led to remark that according to all probability women would be better qualified for politics than men. When in 1901 Queen Victoria of England died, a large English newspaper made the suggestion to introduce female succession exclusively in England, because the history of England showed that its queens ruled better than its kings.
Many a great man of history would shrivel considerably if we always knew how much was due to his own efforts and how much he owed to others. As one of the greatest geniuses of the French Revolution, German historians regard Count Mirabeau. Yet research has revealed the fact, that he owed the preparation of almost ail his speeches to the willing assistance of a few learned men who worked for him secretly and whose labor he skillfully made use of. On the other hand, women like Sappho, Diotima, at the time of Socrates, Hypatia of Alexandria, Madame Roland, Mary Wollstonecraft, Olympe de Gouges, Madame de Staël, George Sand, and others, merit our highest admiration. Many a male star pales beside them. The influence of women as mothers of great men is also well known.. Women have accomplished as much as they could accomplish under exceedingly unfavorable circumstances, and that entitles us to great expectations for the future. As a matter of fact, women were admitted to competition with men in various realms of activity only during the second half of the nineteenth century. The results obtained are very satisfactory.
But even should we take for granted that women, as a rule, are not as capable of development as men, that there are no geniuses and philosophers among them, we arc nevertheless led to ask whether this factor was considered among men when they, according to the wording of the laws, were given complete equality with the geniuses and philosophers. The learned men who deny the intellectual ability of women, are inclined to do the same in the case of workingmen. When persons of nobility pride themselves on their “blue” blood and their pedigree, they smile and contemptuously shrug their shoulders; but in the presence of the man of lowly birth they consider themselves an aristocracy that have achieved their favored position, not through their more advantageous circumstances, but only by their own peculiar talents. The same men, who are unprejudiced in one respect and have a poor opinion of persons who are not as liberal-minded as they, become incredibly narrow-minded and fanatical when their class interests or personal conceit are involved. Men of the upper classes judge men of the lower classes unfavorably, and in the same way almost all men judge women unfavorably. The majority of men regard women only as a means to their comfort and enjoyment. To regard them as beings endowed with equal rights is repugnant to their prejudiced minds. Woman should be modest and submissive; she should confine her interests to the home, and leave all other domains to the “lords of creation.” Woman should check every thought and inclination, and wait patiently for what her earthly providence, father or husband, may decide. If she lives up to this standard she is praised for her good sense, modesty and virtue, even tho she may break down under the burden of physical and moral suffering. But if we speak of the equality of all human beings, it is preposterous to wish to exclude half of humanity.
Woman has the same right as man to develop her abilities and to employ them freely. She is a human being as well as man and should have the freedom of disposing of her own body and mind and he her own master. The chance of having been born a woman, must not affect her human rights. To exclude woman from equal rights because she has been born a woman and not a man – a fact of which both man and woman are innocent – is as unfair, as to make rights and privileges depend upon religious or political opinion; and it is as irrational as the belief that two persons are innate enemies because, by the chance of birth, they belong to different races or nationalities. Such views are unworthy of a free human being. Progress of humanity consists in removing whatever keeps one human being, one class or one sex in slavery and dependence upon another. No difference is justified except those differences established by nature to fulfill its purpose. But no sex will overstep the natural limits, because it would thereby destroy its own purpose in nature.
One of the chief arguments of the opponents of equal rights is, that woman has a smaller brain than man and is less developed in other respects, and that therefore her lasting inferiority is proven. It is certain that man and woman are two human beings of different sex, that each has different organs adapted to the sexual purpose, and that, owing to the fulfillment of the sexual function, a number of differences in their physiological and psychological conditions exist. These are facts that no one can nor will deny; but they do not furnish any cause for social or political inequality between man and woman. Humanity and society consist of both sexes; both are indispensable to their maintenance and development. Even the greatest man was born by a mother to whom he may owe – his best qualities and abilities. By what right, then, can woman be denied equality with man?
According to the opinion of eminent authorities, the most marked differences in physical and mental qualities between man and woman are the following: In regard to stature, Havelock Ellis considers 170 centimeters the average height for men and 160 centimeters for women. According to Vierordt, it is 172 and 160, and in northern Germany, according to Krause, 173 and 163 centimeters.
The proportion of man’s stature to woman’s is as 100 to 93. The average weight of adult persons is 65 kilograms for men and 54 for women. The greater length of the trunk in a woman’s body is a well-known difference; yet this difference is not as great as has been generally assumed, as careful measurements have shown. The legs (if a woman of medium size are only by 15 millimeters shorter than those of a man of medium size, and Pfitzner doubts that this difference is noticeable. “The differences in the lengths of body and legs are influenced by the stature, and are independent of sex.” But the female arm is decidedly shorter than the male arm (as 100 to 91.5). The male hand is broader and larger than the female hand, and with men the ring-finger is usually longer than the index, while the opposite is the case with women. By this the male hand becomes more ape-like, as the long arm also is a pithecoid (ape-like) characteristic.
In regard to the size of the head, the proportion of the absolute height of male and female heads may be set down as 100 to 94. But the relative sizes (in proportion to the size of the body) are 100 to 100.8. So actually woman’s head is somewhat smaller, but in proportion to the size of her body, it is somewhat larger than man’s. The bones of woman are smaller, finer, and more delicate in form and have a smoother surface, for the weaker muscles require less rough surface to fasten upon. The weaker muscular development is one of the most striking characteristics of woman. Each separate muscle of a woman’s body is finer, softer, and contains more water. (According to v. Bibra the quantity of water contained in the muscles is 72.5 per cent. with man, and 74.4 per cent. with woman.) In regard to the adipose membrane the opposite proportion exists; it is much more amply developed with woman than with man. The chest is relatively shorter and narrower. Other differences are directly connected with the sexual purpose. The statements of various authors in regard to relative and absolute weight of the intestines, are very contradictory. According to Vierordt the proportion of the weight of the heart to the weight of the body is as 1 to 215 with men, and as 1 to 206 with women. According to Clendinning it is as 1 to 158 and as 1 to 149. Taken all in all, we may assume that the female intestines are absolutely smaller but relatively, in proportion to the weight of the body, heavier than the male.
The blood of women shows a larger percentage of water, a smaller quantity of blood-globules, and a smaller quantity of hemachrome. With woman the smaller size of the heart, the narrower vascular system, and probably also the larger percentage of water in the blood, cause a less intense assimilation of matter and an inferior nutrition. This may also account for the weaker jaws. “It may thus be explained that even civilized man in many respects is more closely connected with the animal world, especially the ape, than woman, that he possesses pithecoid traits which may be seen in the shape of the skull and the length of the limbs.”
In regard to the differences of the skull of both sexes, let it be stated that, according to Bartels, there is no absolute indication whereby we could determine whether a skull belonged to a male or female person. Absolute comparison shows that the skulls of men are larger in all dimensions. Accordingly the weight is greater, too, and the interior space is larger.
As a medium weight of normally developed brains of adult persons, Grosser states 1,388 grammes for the man and 1,252 grammes for the woman. The great majority of male brains (34 per cent.) weigh between 1,250 and 1,550 grammes, and the great majority of female brains (91 per cent.) weigh between 1,100 and 1,450 grammes. But these weights are not subject to direct comparison since woman is smaller than man. It is, accordingly, necessary to determine the weight of the brain in proportion to the body. When we compare the weight of the brain with the weight of the body we find that with the man there are 21.6 grammes of the brain for every kilogram of the weight of the body, and with the woman there are 23.6 grammes. This outweighing is explained by the fact that woman’s stature is smaller.
Different results are obtained by a comparison of equally large individuals of both sexes. According to Marchand the weight of the female brain is, without exception, lighter than that of men of the same size. But this method is as incorrect as a comparison with the size of the body. It takes for granted what remains to be proven: a direct relation between the size of the body and the weight of the brain. Blakeman, Alice Lee and Karl Pearson have determined on the basis of English data and measurements, that there is no noticeable relative difference in the weight of the brain between man and woman; that is, a man of the same age, stature and skull measurements as the average woman, would not differ from her in regard to the weight of his brain.
Even Marchand points out that the smaller size of woman’s brain may be due to the greater fineness of her nerves. Grosser says: “Indeed, this has not yet been determined by means of the microscope, and would be difficult to determine. But we must point to the analogy that the eye-ball and the cavity of the ear are also somewhat smaller with woman than with man, yet these organs are no less fine and serviceable. Another, perhaps the chief reason, for the lighter weight of the woman’s brain may be found in her weaker muscular development.
Inasmuch as the differences are rooted in the nature of sex, they can, of course, not be altered. But to what extent these differences in blood and brain can be changed by a different mode of life (nourishment, physical and mental culture, occupation, etc.) cannot be definitely determined for the time being. That modern woman differs from man to a greater extent than primitive woman or the woman of inferior races, seems to be established, and when we consider the social development of woman’s position among civilized nations during the past 1,000 or 1,500 years, it seems only too obvious.
The following shows the capacity of the female skull according to Havelock Ellis (assuming the capacity of the male skull to be 1000) :
|Hottentot||951||German||838 to 897|
|Eskimo||931||English||860 to 862|
|Dutch||913||Parisian, 19 yrs.,||858|
The conflicting statements among the Germans show that the measurements have been taken among greatly differing material, both in regard to quality and quantity, and that therefore they are not absolutely reliable. But the figures clearly show One thing: that Negroes, Hottentots and Hindu women have a considerably larger capacity of the skull than the German, English and Parisian women; and yet the latter are far more intelligent.
A comparison of the brain-weights of well-known deceased men shows similar contradictions and peculiarities. According to Professor Reclam, the brain of the scientist Cuvier weighed 1,830 grammes; that of Byron, 1,807; that of the famous mathematician Gauss, 1,492; Of the philologist Hermann, 1,358; Of the Parisian prefect Hausmann, 1,226. It is said that the weight of Dante’s brain also was below the average weight of the male brains. Havelock Ellis gives us similar information. He reports that the brain of an unknown person, weighed by Bischoff, had a weight of 2,222 grammes, while the brain of the poet Turgeniew weighed only 2,012 grammes; the third largest brain was that of an imbecile; the brain of a plain workingman that was also examined by Bischoff, weighed 1,325 grammes. The heaviest female brains weighed between 1,742 and 1,580 grammes; two of these were taken from women who had suffered from mental derangement. On the congress of German anthropologists, which was held in Dortmund in August, 1902, Professor Waldeyer stated that an examination of the skull of the philosopher Leibnitz, who died in 1716, had shown that its contents only measured 1450 cubic centimeters, which corresponds to a brainweight of 1,300 grammes. According to Hausemann, who examined the brains of Mommsen, Bunsen and Adolph v., Menzel, Mommsen’s brain weighed 1,429.4 grammes; it accordingly did not exceed the average brainweight of an adult man. Menzel’s brain weighed only 1,298 grammes and Bunsen’s less still – 1,295 grammes, below the average male brainweight and not much above the brainweight of a woman Those are striking facts that completely overthrow the old assumption that intellectual abilities could be measured by the capacity of the skull. After an examination of the English data, Raymond Pearl comes to the following conclusion: “There are no proofs of a close relation between intellectual abilities and brainweight.” The English anthropologist, W. Duckworth, says: “There is no proof that a heavy brainweight is accompanied by great intellectual ability. Neither the brainweight, nor the capacity of the skull, nor the circumference of the head, where they could be determined, have been of any use as a measure of intellectual abilities.” Kohlbruegge, who has during recent years published the results of the examinations of human brains of many races, says: “Intelligence and brainweight are entirely dependent of one another. Even the greater brainweight of famous men is not sufficient proof, since it exceeds the general medium weight, but not that of the upper classes to which these men belonged. But by these statements I do not seek to deny that brainweight can be increased, especially by excessive study during youth, which may account for the heavier brainweights and the greater skull capacity of the upper classes and of scholarly persons, especially when – as is, usually the case among the well-to-do – excessive nourishment is added. This increase in weight by mental over-exertion has its dark sides also, as is well known. Lunatics often have very heavy brains. The main point is that it cannot be proven that intelligence (something entirely different from productiveness) has any relation to weight. It is true of the external formation also, that until now, no connection could be shown between certain forms and higher mental development, intelligence, or genius.”
It is established, then, that we cannot draw conclusions from the brainweight as to mental qualities, as little as we can draw conclusions from the size of the body as to physical strength. The large mammals, such as elephant, whale, etc,, have larger and heavier brains; yet in regard to proportional brainweight they are excelled by most birds and small mammals. We have some very small animals (ant, bee) that are far more intelligent than much larger ones (for instance, sheep, cow), just as people of large stature often are mentally inferior to persons of small and insignificant appearance. According to all probability the mass of the brain is not the determining factor, but its organization and the practice and use of its powers.
“In my opinion,” says Professor L. Stieda, “the difference in psychic functions can doubtlessly be accounted for by the finer construction of the gray matter, the nerve cells, the white matter, the arrangement of the blood-vessels, the construction, form, size and number of nervecells, and last but not least, their nutrition, their metabolic assimilation.”
If the brain is to attain the full development of its faculties, it must be exercised regularly, and the brain must be properly nourished, Just as every other organ; if this is left undone, or if the training is a faulty one, the normal development will be hampered, even crippled. One faculty is developed at the expense of another.
There are some anthropologists, as Manouvrier and others, who even seek to prove that woman is morphologically more highly developed than man. That is an exaggeration. Duckworth says: “When we compare the two sexes, we find that there is no constant difference that lets one sex appear morphologically superior to the other.” Havelock Ellis only admits of one limitation. He believes that female characteristics show fewer variations than the male. But, in an anticritique, Karl Pearson has explicitly shown that this is only a pseudoscientific superstition.
No one who is acquainted with the history of the development of woman can deny, that woman has been sinned against. If Professor Bischoff asserts that woman was enabled to develop her brain and her intelligence as well as man, this assertion merely shows an incredible degree of ignorance upon the subject. The description we have given in this book of the position of woman during the course of civilization, makes it appear quite natural, that thousands of years of male rule have brought about the difference in the physical and mental development of the sexes.
Our scientists ought to recognize that the laws of their sciences apply fully to man also. Heredity and adaptation prevail with man as with every other living creature. But if man constitutes no exception in nature, the law of evolution must apply to him also, whereby that becomes clear what otherwise remains wrapped in darkness, and then becomes an object of scientific mysticism or mystic science.
The brain formation of the sexes has developed in accordance with their different educations. Indeed during a great portion of the past, the word education could not be applied to woman at all. Physiologists are agreed that those parts of the brain which influence the intellect are situated in the fore-part of the head, while those that specially influence feeling and sentiment, are situated in the middle part. The conception of beauty for man and woman has developed accordingly. According to the Greek conception, which still prevails, woman is supposed to have a low forehead, while man is supposed to have a high and broad forehead. This conception of beauty, which is a symptom of her degradation, has been so impressed upon our women, that they consider a high forehead unbeautiful and seek to improve upon nature by combing their hair over their forehead to make it appear lower.
It has accordingly not been proven, that women are inferior to men as a result of the quantity of their brain; yet the present intellectual status of women is not surprising. Darwin is surely right in saying, that if a list of the ablest men on the subjects of poetry, painting, sculpture, music, science and philosophy were placed beside a list of the ablest women on the same subjects, the two could not compare with one another. But could it be otherwise? It would be surprising if it were not so. Very correctly Dr. Dodel (Zurich) says, that it would be different if for a number of generations men and women would be similarly educated. As a rule, woman is physically weaker than man also, which is by no means the case among many uncivilized peoples. How much can be attained by practice and training from childhood on, may, for instance, be seen with ladies of the circus and female acrobats, who achieve most astounding things in regard to courage, daring, skill and strength.
As all these things are conditioned by the mode of life and education, as they are – to use a scientific term – due to “breeding,” it may be assumed as certain that the physical and intellectual life of man will lead to the best results, as soon as man will consciously and expediently influence his development.
As plants and animals depend upon conditions of existence, as they are fostered by favorable and hampered by unfavorable ones, and as compulsory conditions force them to change their nature and character – provided that their influence does not destroy them – thus it is also with man. The manner in which a human being obtains his means of subsistence not only affects his external appearance, but also his feelings, his thoughts and his actions. If unfavorable conditions of existence – that is, unfavorable social conditions – are the cause of insufficient individual development, then it follows that by a change of his conditions of existence – that is, his social condition – man himself will be changed. The point in question, then, is, so to organize social conditions that every human being will be given an opportunity for the untrammelled development of his nature; that the laws of development and adaptation – called Darwinism after Darwin – may be consciously and expediently applied to all human beings. But that will only be possible under Socialism. As a rational being, capable of judgment, man must so alter his social conditions and everything in connection with them, that equally favorable conditions of existence prevail for all. Every individual shall be enabled to develop his talents and abilities to his own advantage as well as to the advantage of society, but he must not have the power to harm other individuals or society at large. His own advantage and the advantage of all shall coincide. Harmony of interests must supercede the conflict of interests that dominate present-day society.
Darwinism, like every true science, is an eminently democratic science. If some of its representatives claim that the opposite is true, they fail to recognize the range of their own science. Its opponents, especially the clergy, who are always quick to perceive any advantage or disadvantage to themselves, have recognized this, and therefore denounce Darwinism as being Socialistic or atheistic. In this respect Professor Virchow agrees with his most vehement opponents, for at the congress of Scientists, held in Munich in 1877, he asserted in opposition to Professor Haeckel: “The Darwinian theory leads to Socialism. Virchow tried to discredit Darwinism because Haeckel demanded, that the theory of evolution should be introduced into the school curriculum. The suggestion to teach science in the schools according to Darwin, and the results of modern scientific investigations, is vehemently opposed by all those who wish to maintain the present order. The revolutionary effect of these doctrines is well known; therefore it is deemed wiser to propagate them only among the chosen few. But we contend that if the Darwinian theories lead to Socialism, as Virchow claims, that is no argument against these theories, but an argument in favor of Socialism. Men of science should not question whether the consequences of a science lead to one form of the state or another, whether one social condition or another is justified by them; it is their sole duty to investigate whether the theories are in accordance with truth, and if they are, to accept them with all their consequences. Whoever acts otherwise, be it for personal gain or favor or to serve class or party interest, commits a despicable action and is no credit to science. The representatives of corporate science, especially at our universities, can indeed only rarely lay claim to independence of character. The fear of financial loss, or the fear of being discredited with the powers that be and of being thereby deprived of title and rank and the opportunity of advancement, causes most of these representatives to bow down and either to conceal their conviction, or to say publicly the opposite of what they believe and know. At a ceremony of homage to the ruler held at the University of Berlin in 1870, Dubois-Reymond exclaimed: “The universities are institutions where the intellectual body-guards of the Hohenzollern are trained.” If a Dubois-Reymond could express himself in this manner, we can imagine what conceptions in regard to the object of science are held by the majority of the others, who are very inferior to this eminent scientist. Science is degraded to serve the purposes of the ruling powers.
It is only natural that Professor Haeckel and his adherents, Professor O. Schmidt, v. Hellwald and others, remonstrate energetically against the terrible accusation that Darwinism leads to Socialism. They claim that the opposite is true, that Darwinism is aristocratic, since it teaches that everywhere in nature the more highly organized and stronger living beings suppress the inferior ones; and since, according to their conception, the propertied and educated classes constitute these more highly organized and stronger living beings in human society, they consider the rule of these classes a matter of course, since it is justified by the laws of nature.
These, among our evolutionists, are ignorant of the economic laws which dominate bourgeois society. Otherwise they would know that the blind rule of these laws does not raise to social preeminence either the best or the ablest or the most competent, but frequently the worst and the most cunning, who thereby are placed in a position of making the conditions of life and development most favorable to their progeny, without the least effort on their part. Under no economic system did persons, possessing good and noble human qualities, have so little opportunity of attaining and maintaining an elevated position, as under the capitalistic system. Without fear of exaggeration it may be said, that this state of affairs increases with the development of this system. Lack of consideration for others and unscrupulousness in the choice and application of means to attain one’s end, prove far more effective than all human virtues combined. Only one who is ignorant of the nature of this society or who is so dominated by bourgeois prejudices that he cannot reason properly or draw correct conclusions, could regard a social system based upon such conditions as a society of the “fittest and best.” The struggle for existence is always present with all organisms. It goes on without any knowledge on their part of the laws and conditions that shape it. This struggle for existence prevails among men also and among the members of each social group from which solidarity has disappeared, or where it has not yet been developed. This struggle for existence changes its form according to the various relations of men to one another in the course of human development. It assumes the character of class struggles on an ever higher scale. But these struggles – and thereby man is distinguished from all other human beings – lead to a growing understanding of the nature of society, and finally to a recognition of the laws which determine its development. Eventually man will but need to apply these laws to his social and political institutions and to transform them accordingly. The difference is that man may be called a reasoning animal, but the animal is not a reasoning human being. This many Darwinists fail to see, owing to their biased conceptions, and therefore arrive at false conclusions.
Professor Haeckel and his adherents also deny that Darwinism leads to atheism. Thus, after they have done away with the “creator” by all their scientific arguments and proofs, they mask desperate efforts to re-introduce him. To attain this purpose a new sort of individual “religion” is formed, that has been termed “higher morality,” “moral principles,” etc. In 1882 at the congress of scientists in Eisenach, in the presence of the Grand-duke of Weimar and his family, Professor Haeckel endeavored not only to save religion but also to represent his master, Darwin, as being a religious man. The attempt failed, as anyone can affirm who read the lecture and the letter from Darwin that was quoted in it. Darwin’s letter expresses, though in careful terms, the opposite of what Professor Haeckel claimed it to express. Darwin was obliged to consider the piety of his fellow-countrymen, the English, therefore he never dared to express publicly his true views in regard to religion. But he did so privately, as became known shortly after the congress in Weimar, for he told Dr. L. Buechner that he had not believed since his fortieth year – since 1849 – because he had not been able to obtain proofs to justify belief. During the last years of his life Darwin also supported an atheistic newspaper, which was published in New York.
Women are justified in entering into intellectual competition with men, instead of waiting until it pleases the men to develop their intellectual faculties and to clear the path for them. The woman’s movement is providing for this. Already women have removed many barriers and have entered the intellectual arena – in some countries with marked success. The movement to obtain admission to the higher institutions of learning and to the practice of learned professions is, in accordance with the nature of our conditions limited to the circles of bourgeois women. The proletarian women are not directly concerned since, for the time being, these studies and the resulting positions are closed to them. Nevertheless, this movement and its success is an object of general interest. In the first place, it is a matter of principle, since it affects the general position of woman; in the second place, it is destined to show what women can accomplish even at present, under conditions that are highly unfavorable to their development. Moreover, all women are interested, for instance, in being able, in case of sickness, to be treated by physicians of their own sex, if they so choose, since many feel that they can confide with less reserve in a woman than in a man. To a great many of our women female physicians are a blessing, for the fact that they must turn to male physicians in the case of diseases or ailments connected with their sex functions, frequently prevents them from seeking medical aid in time. This leads to many troubles and serious results, not only to the women themselves, but to their husbands also. There is hardly a physician who has not had some experience with this reticence of women, that may sometimes be called almost criminal, and their aversion against confessing to their ailments. That is readily understood. But it is inconceivable that the men, and especially many physicians also, will not recognize how justifiable it is, therefore – indeed how necessary – for women to study medicine.
Female physicians are no novel factor. Among most of the ancients, especially among the ancient Germans, women practiced the art of healing. There were female physicians and surgeons of note during the ninth and tenth centuries in the kingdom of the Arabs, especially in Spain, under the rule of the Arabs (Moors), where they studied at the University of Cordova. The study of women at various Italian universities, as Bologna and Palermo, was also due to Moorish influence. When the “heathen” influence ceased in Italy, these studies were prohibited. In 1377 the faculty of the University of Bologna issued the following decree: “As woman is the source of sin, the devil’s tool, the cause of the expulsion from paradise, and the cause of corruption of the old law, and as therefore every conversation with her should be carefully avoided, we distinctly forbid and interdict any one to venture to introduce any woman, no matter how respectable she may be, into this college. Should sonic one do so nevertheless, the rector shall punish him severely.”
One good result of the study of women is, that female competition has a very stimulating influence on the studiousness of the male students, which has left much to be wished for, as has been affirmed by various sources. That alone would be a great gain. It would furthermore considerably improve their habits. The drunkenness, pugnacity, and beer-saloon habit of our students would become greatly checked. Those places from which our statesmen, judges, public attorneys, police officials, ministers, representatives of the people, etc., are chiefly recruited, would become more worthy of the objects for which they were founded and are being maintained. According to the impartial opinions of those competent to judge, such an improvement is exceedingly needful.
The number of states that admit women to their high-schools and universities are rapidly increasing since a few decades. None that lays claim to being a civilized state can offer continued resistance to this demand. The United States took the lead and Russia followed, two states that are diametrically opposed to one another in every respect. In the North American Union women have been admitted to high-schools and universities in all the states; in Utah since 1850; in Iowa since 1860; in Kansas since 1866; in Wisconsin since 1868; in Minnesota since 1869; in California and Missouri since 1870, and in Ohio, Illinois and Nebraska since 1871. Since then all the other states followed. Quite in accordance with their opportunity for study, the women in the United States have achieved their positions. According to the census of 1900 there were: 7,399 female physicians and surgeons, 5,989 writers, 1,041 architects, 3,405 ministers, 1,010 lawyers, and 327,905 teachers. In Europe, Switzerland took the lead in opening its universities to women. The following shows the number of male and female students at Swiss universities:
Total Enrolled female students Total number of women attending courses
During the term 1906 to 1907 the female students were distributed as follows among the various faculties: law, 75; medicine, 1181; philosophy, 648. According to nationality there were 172 Swiss women, and 1,732 foreigners. The number of German women students in Switzerland has decreased, since they are admitted to German universities now, although not without restrictions. During the term 1906 to 1907 the number of regularly enrolled female students constituted about 30 per cent of all the students. In England women are admitted to lecture at the universities, but at Oxford and Cambridge they are still barred from taking degrees. In France in 1905 there were 33,168 students, among these 1922 women (774 foreigners). They were distributed as follows: Law, 57; medicine, 386; sciences, 259; literature, 838; miscellaneous, 382. The following are the countries in which women have been admitted to universities: United States, England, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, France, Turkey and Australia. Female physicians are admitted to the practice of their profession in India, Abysinnia, Persia, Morocco, China, etc. Especially in the Oriental countries female physicians are constantly gaining ground. The restrictions that custom and religion place upon women in these countries make female physicians an especially great boon.
After long struggles and great exertions, Germany, too, has at last taken a new course, though timidly at first. By a decision passed by the Federal Council on April 24, 1899, women have been admitted to examinations for the practice of medicine and dentristry, as well as pharmacy, upon the same terms as men. By another decision of the Federal Council of July 28, 1900, German women physicians who studied abroad are admitted to practice in Germany, and studies commenced abroad were accredited to them. Even since 1898 some German universities, as Heidelberg and Goettingen, had opened their doors to women. During the term 1901 to 1902, 1,270 women attending courses were already ennumerated in the registers of the universities. In a number of German cities girls’ high-schools and colleges were founded; thus in Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Hannover, Koenigsberg, Hamburg, Frankfort on the Main, Breslau, Berlin, Schoeneberg, Mannheim, etc. But in the spring of 1902, the senate of the University of Berlin again declined a request by female students, to be matriculated upon presentation of a certificate of admission from a German, college. The opposition by very influential circles in Germany against the study of women had not yet been overcome. During March of 1902, the Prussian minister of public instruction delivered a speech in the Prussian diet, in which he said among other things, that they girls’ colleges are an experiment that must be declined by the ministry of public instruction. He feared, so he said, that the differences between man and woman established by nature and developed by civilization, would be impaired by the study of girls at colleges and universities, and that the characteristics of the German woman ought to be maintained for the welfare of the German family. That is quite in keeping with the old conception. Many German professors also continue to oppose study for women, though others admit that many of the female students are well, some even excellently qualified, to meet the demands made upon them. What some of the students, perhaps a majority of them, thought in regard to the study of women, may be seen from the following protest of the clinical students at Halle, addressed to the medical students of Germany generally during March of 1902. After it states that the protest has been caused by the agitation, carried on by the “Society for Furthering the Education of Women in Berlin,” to admit women to the study of medicine, it goes on to say: “Since this question has been called to public attention, the clinical students of Halle turn to those circles to whom the decision is of prime importance, the clinical students and physicians at German universities. They either know the resulting unpleasantness from personal experience, or can picture to what unwholesome situations, devoid of all modesty, this common clinical instruction must lead, situations that are too revolting to be described. The medical faculty of the university of Halle was one of the first to admit women to the study of medicine, and the innovation may be regarded as a complete failure. Into these halls of earnest endeavor cynicism has entered with the women, and scenes frequently occur that are equally obnoxious to instructors, students and patients. Here the emancipation of woman becomes a calamity, conflicting with morality, and should be checked. Colleagues, who would dare, in the face of these facts, to oppose our just demands? We demand the exclusion of women from clinical instruction, because experience has taught us that a common clinical instruction of male and female students is incompatible with a thoroughgoing study of medicine, as well as with the principles of decency and morality. This question taken up by us is no longer a local one. Already it has been stated in government circles, that women are to be definitely admitted to the study of medicine. You all now are equally interested in our cause, and therefore we appeal to you: Express your opinion on this question and join with us in a common protest!”
This protest is a striking proof of the narrow-mindedness of the clinical students and also of their envy, for petty envy is at the bottom )f most of their moral considerations. How can an institution that has existed for years in other civilized countries, without injuring the morals and the sense of decency of male and female students, be considered a peril to Germany? The German students are not famed for their morality and ought to refrain from a moral outburst that seems like a jest. If it is not incompatible with decency and morality for female nurses to be present and to render assistance to the physicians during all kinds of operations upon male and female patients, if it is decent and proper for dozens of young men to surround, for the purpose of study, the bed of a woman in the throes of child-birth, and to witness operations upon female patients, then it is ridiculous to seek to exclude the female students.
Very different from the reasons given by the clinical students of Halle, was an argument advanced against the admission of women to the study of medicine by the late Professor Bischoff. The reason he gave was the brutality of the male students, which he was well qualified to judge. But, regardless of the narrow-mindedness or envy of men, the question has been decided in favor of the women. On August 18, 1908, an edict was published, decreeing the regular enrollment of female students at the universities of Prussia, where until then they had been admitted to the lectures. The only restriction is, that for the purpose of immatriculation German women require the consent of the minister in one case, and foreigners require it in all cases. The entire number of women students enrolled at German universities was, during the term of 1908-1909, 1,077, as against 377 during the summer of 1908, and 254 in 1906. They were distributed among the various universities as follows: Berlin, 400; Bonn, 69; Breslau, 50; Erlangen, 11 ; Freiburg, 67; Giessen, 23; Goettingen, 71; Greifswald, 5; Halle, 22; Heidelberg, 109; Jena, 13; Kiel, 2; Koenigsberg, 17; Leipsic, 44; Marburg, 27; Munich, 134; Tuebingen, 6, Wuerzburg, 7. Only the universities of Strassburg, Rostock and Muenster had no female students. The entire number of women attending courses was 1787 during the summer of 1908, and 1767 during the term 1908 to 1909. They were distributed as follows: Berlin, 313; Strassburg, 249; Breslau, 168; Munich, 131 ; Bonn, 120 Koenigsberg, 116; Leipsic, 95; Giessen, 93; Goettingen: 73; Tuebingen, 67; Halle, 54; Freiburg, 50, and in all others less than 50. Of the regularly enrolled women students 3 studied theology; 31, law; 334, medicine, and 709, philosophy.
The admission of women to the universities necessitated a thoroughgoing reform of girls’ high-schools. According to the provisions of May 31, 1899, a nine years’ course had been set down as the rule for girls’ high-schools, while a ten years’ course was the exception. But development necessitated the regular introduction of a tenth class. According to statistics there were in 1901, 213 public high-schools for girls; among these go had a nine years’ course and 54 a ten years’ course. In October, 1907, the number of schools having a nine years’ course had decreased from go to 69, and the number of schools having a ten years’ course had increased from 54 to 132. Among the private schools for girls, too, there were, besides 110 with a nine years’ course, 138 with a ten years’ course. It only remained to add the bureaucratic seal to this actual development, and to preserve as much as possible of the “characteristics of German women.” According to the reform of August 18, 1908, girls’ high schools shall consist of ten grades. To “complete her education in regard to the future life’s work of a German woman,” it is planned to found a lyceum with a course from one to two years. In order to prepare young girls of the upper classes for academic training, colleges are being planned, which are to be under the same management as the girls’ high-schools.
Thereby an experiment, which the board of education still refused to consider in March 1902, is now, six years later, under the pressure of economic development, being introduced by that same board on a, national scale. Let us consider the official argumentation! It reads as follows:
“The rapid development of our civilization and the resulting changes in social, economic and educational conditions, have brought about that, especially in the middle and upper classes, many girls remain unprovided for, and much ability reposing in woman, that may be valuable to the community, remains unapplied. The numerical superiority of the female population and the increasing bachelorhood of men of the tipper classes, compel a large percentage of educated girls to renounce their natural profession of wifehood and motherhood. It becomes necessary to open professions to them that are suited to their education, and to give them an opportunity to earn their living, not only by teaching, but also by other professions attainable by a university education.” This almost reads like an extract from my book!
Be this as it may, the higher education of women can no longer be halted. There are female physicians in all civilized countries of the world, and even in some that are not yet regarded as civilized. The late Li Hung Chang had appointed as his family physician a Chinese woman doctor who practiced at the woman’s hospital of her native town, Futchang. The late Sonia Kowalewska, the noted mathematician, was professor of mathematics at the University of Stockholm from 1889 until her death in 1891. There are many women professors in the United States, and some also in Italy, Switzerland, England and France. In France the famous Marie Curie, who together with her husband discovered radium, and polonium, was, after the death of her husband in 1906, appointed his successor at the university. We see women acting as physicians, dentists, lawyers, chemists, physicists, geologists, botanists, teachers at higher institutions of learning, etc., and it is tip to the women themselves to prove by their achievements, that they are as competent to fill the positions entrusted to them as men. In Switzerland, during the summer of 1899, a majority of voters in the Canton of Zurich, favored the admission of women to the practice of law. The decision was passed by 21,717 against 20,046 votes. In the United States women are admitted to the bar in 34 states. They are also admitted in France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Canada and Australia.
Many men, especially learned men, are opposed to the higher education of women, because they believe that the sciences will become degraded if even women can practice them. They regard scientific study as a privilege reserved for the chosen few of the male sex.
Unfortunately our universities, as our entire educational system, still leave much to be wished for. As the children in the public schools are frequently robbed of the most valuable time to cram their brains with a lot of things that are not in conformity with reason and scientific knowledge, as they are burdened with a lot of learning that will prove useless in life and will rather hamper than help their development, thus it is also with our higher institutions of learning. In the preparatory schools the pupils are crammed with a lot of useless stuff, mostly learned by rote, that absorbs most of their time and strength, and in the universities the same method is generally pursued. Besides good and useful things, many that are antiquated and superfluous continue to be taught. Most professors repeat the same lectures term after term even down to the interspersed jokes. To many the noble profession of teaching becomes a mere trade, and it does not require much intelligence on the part of the students to perceive this. The prevailing conceptions concerning college life also prevent the young people from taking their studies too seriously, and some who would like to take them seriously are repulsed by the pedantic and uninteresting methods of many professors. It is generally admitted that students at high-schools and universities are becoming less studious, a fact that has caused some alarm among the authorities. Alongside of this we find toadyism and patronage playing an important part at our institutions of learning in this age, which is marked by a lack of character. To be of good family and to have “sound principles,” is regarded as being of greater importance than knowledge and ability. A patriot – that is, one who has no convictions of his own, but takes his cue from his superiors and fawns upon them – is considered more than a man of character, wisdom and ability. When examinations come around, men of this type cram for a few months what is needful to attain the passing mark, and when the examinations have been passed successfully, and they have attained an official or professional position, many of these “scholars” merely continue to work in a mechanical way. Yet they are very insulted if a man, who is not a “scholar,” does not treat them with utmost respect and fails to regard them as a superior species of human being. The majority of our professional men, lawyers, judges, physicians, professors, public officials, artists, etc., are merely mechanics in their line, and their sole object is personal gain. Only the industrious man discovers later on how much superfluous knowledge he assimilated and how often he failed to learn that which he requires most, and then begins to learn anew. During the best part of his life he has been bothered with much that was useless or harmful; he requires a second part of his life to cast what is useless or harmful aside and to attain the heights of the views of his time, and then only can he become a useful member of society. Many do not surpass the first stage, others come to a standstill in the second, and only few have the energy to struggle on to the third.
But decorum demands that the mediaeval trash and superfluous learning should be maintained, and as women have been until now, and in many cases still are, excluded from the preparatory institutions, this fact furnishes a convenient excuse for excluding them from the lecture halls of the universities. In Leipsic, during the seventies, one of the most noted professors of medicine made the following frank confession to a lady: “A classical education is not essential to an understanding of medicine, but it must be made a condition of entrance to maintain the, dignity of science.”
Opposition against an obligatory, classical education as being essential to the study of medicine, is gradually manifesting itself in Germany also. The tremendous advance of the sciences and their great importance to life in general, necessitates a scientific training. But the classical education, with its special preference of Greek and Latin, considers science unimportant and neglects it. It therefore frequently happens that young students are wanting in the most elementary scientific knowledge, that is of decisive importance for a study like medicine. Even teachers themselves are beginning to oppose this one-sided method of education. In other countries, for instance, in Switzerland, the study of science has long since been held as being of prime importance, and all who possess sufficient preliminary knowledge in the natural sciences and mathematics are admitted to the study of medicine, even without having had a so-called classical education. The same is true of Russia, the United States, and other countries.
In Russia, where suppression and persecution of the Jews is considered one of the maxims of government, an imperial ukase, in 1907, prescribed that in the newly established school of medicine for women, only 5 per cent. of the students might be of other than Christian faith. Of these Only 3 per cent. might be Jewesses, and the remaining 2 per cent. were to be reserved for students of Moslem origin. This is one of the retrogressive measures which are daily occurrences in Russia. The Russian government certainly had no cause for such provisions, because there is quite a dearth of physicians in that tremendous realm, and because the Russian women practitioners, regardless of their faith or origin, have been noted for the most unselfish devotion in the practice of their profession. Dr. Erismann, who practiced in Russia for many years, delivered a lecture at the 54th annual convention of the Medical Society in Olten, in which he said: Very favorable were the experiences gathered during the first years in regard to the activity of the female physicians. From the very beginning they were enabled to win the confidence of the people. In the noble competition with their male colleagues they even carried off the laurels. It was soon observed that the female physicians, on an average, treated more patients annually than the male physicians, although the latter proved very efficient and unselfish, likewise. Female patients especially, in great numbers, sought aid with the women doctors.”
On the other band, female competition, so much feared by men, especially in regard to the practice of medicine, has not been in evidence. It seems that female physicians obtain a circle of patients from their own sex who apply to male physicians rarely, or only in cases of extreme necessity. It has, moreover, been observed that a great many women physicians abandon their profession as soon as they enter into marriage. It seems that in present-day society the domestic duties of married women are so numerous, especially where there are children, that many women find it impossible to have two professions simultaneously. A physician must be constantly prepared, by day and by night, to practice her profession, and to many that becomes impossible.
After England, the United States and France took lead in employing women as factory inspectors – an innovation that has become all the more necessary because, as has been shown, the number of women in industry is rapidly increasing, and the industries employing women, chiefly or exclusively, are increasing likewise – a number of German states have also followed their example. Baden, Bavaria, Hessia, the Kingdom of Saxony, Weimar, Wurtemberg, and others have added women assistants to their factory inspectors, and some of these have already achieved much recognition by their activity. In Prussia there are three women factory inspectors in Berlin, and one each in Duesseldorf, Breslau and Wiesbaden. This proves again how the progress of Prussia has been retarded compared with other German states. There is not a single woman assistant in districts like Potsdam (with 32,299 working women), Frankfort on the Oder (with 31,371), Liegnitz (with 31,798), and others, where their presence is extremely needful. Here, too, it has been seen that working women confide more readily in members of their own sex, and that female factory inspectors have been able to obtain much information that was denied to their male colleagues. One shortcoming of this institution is that the assistants frequently are not given the autonomy that is needful in their position, and their pay is not what it ought to be, either. The new institution is being tried out carefully and hesitatingly.
In Germany the prejudice and aversion against employing women in public offices is particularly strong, because so many retired military men annually seek appointments to all kinds of offices in the state and municipal administrations, that there is hardly any room left for applicants from other circles. When women are employed, nevertheless, their salary is considerably lower, whereby they immediately appear as being worth less than men, and whereby they also become a means to keep down wages and salaries.
The great variety of female ability could be observed especially well at the World’s Fair in Chicago, in 1893. The splendid woman’s building had been entirely planned by female architects, and the articles displayed that had been designed and made by women exclusively, were much admired for their tasty and artistic execution. In the realm of invention, too, women have achieved much and will achieve still more. An American trade-journal published a list of inventions by women; among them were: An improved spinning machine; a rotary loom, which produces three times as much as the usual kind; a chain elevator; a connecting-rod for a propeller; a fire-escape; an apparatus for weighing wool, one of the most delicate machines that have ever been invented, of immeasurable value to the wool industry; a fire extinguisher; a process of employing petroleum as a fuel for steam-engines instead of wood or coal; an improved spark-catcher for locomotives; a signal for grade-crossings; a system of heating cars without fire; a lubricating felt to diminish friction (on railroads); a typewriter; a signal-rocket for the navy; a deep-sea telescope; a system for subduing the noise of the elevated trains; a smoke-consumer; a machine for folding paper bags, etc. Many improvements on sewing machines have been made by women; for instance, an appliance for sewing canvas and coarse cloth; an apparatus for threading the needle while the machine is running; an improvement of machines for sewing leather, etc. The last-named invention was made by a woman who was a harness-maker in New York. The deep-sea telescope, invented by Mrs. Mather and improved by her daughter, is an invention of great importance, since it makes it possible to examine the keel of the largest vessel without bringing same into a dry-dock. With the aid of this telescope sunken wrecks may be examined from ship-board, obstacles to navigation and torpedoes may be located, and so forth.
A machine famed in America and Europe for its complicated and ingenious construction, is one for the manufacture of paper bags. Many men, among them noted mechanicians, had tried in vain to construct a machine of this sort. It was invented by a woman, Miss Maggie Knight. The same lady has since invented a machine for the folding of paper bags, which performs the labor of thirty persons. She personally conducted the construction of this machine in Amherst, Massachusetts.
1. “Original Property.” Chap. XX, “Household Community.” Leipsic, 1879.
2. ␄Structure and Life of the Body Social.” Vol. I. Tuebingen, 1878
3. Dr. Havelock Ellis. – “Man and Woman.”
4. The following average weights of male and female brains have been determined by the following scientists:
Male brain. Female brain.
Bischoff (Bavaria) 1219
Boyd (England) 1325 1183
Marchand (Hessia) 1399 1248
Retzius (Sweden) 1388 1252
5. Men of genius as a rule are small of stature with a massy brain. These are also the chief characteristics of the child, and their general facial expression as also their temperament resemble the child’s. Havelock Ellis, “Man and Woman.”
6. J. Blakeman, Alice Lee & K. Pearson – “A Study of the biometric constants of English Brainweights.” “Biometrica,” 1905.
7. Dr. Otto Grosser – “The structure of the female body” in “Man and Woman.” Stuttgart, 1907.
8. According to five different authors: 838, 864, 878, 883, 897. For Prussia (Kupfer), 918; for Bavaria (Rause), 893.
9. Raymond Pearl – “Variation or Correlation in Brainweight.” “Biometrika,” vol. IV. June, 1905,
10. W. Duckworth – “Morphology and Anthropology.” Cambridge, 1904.
11. Kohlbruegge – “Investigations of the furrows of the brain of human races.” “Journal of Morphology and Anthropology.” Stuttgart, 1908.
12. L. Stieda – “The Brain of the Philologist.” “Journal of Morphology and Anthropology,” 1907.
13. Duckworth (as above).
14. K. Pearson – “Variation in Man and Woman in Chances of Death.” London, 1897.
15. “The Newer History of the Creation.”
16. Proofs of this may be found in the previously quoted book by Dr. Havelock Ellis. He relates that among many savage and semi-savage tribes woman is not only man’s equal in regard to size and strength, but even his superior. Ellis is agreed with others that the differences of brain between the sexes have increased with the development of civilization.
17. “The hall of science is the temple of democracy.,” Buckle – “History of Civilization in England.” Vol. II.
18. Ziegler denies that this was the sense of Virchow’s remarks, but his own report of Virchow’s speech only confirms it. Virchow said: “Now, just picture how the theory of evolution is conceived even today by the brain of a Socialist! (Laughter) Yes, gentlemen, that may seem amusing to some of you, but it is a very serious matter, and I only hope the theory of evolution may not bring us such horrors as similar theories have brought about in our neighboring country. If this theory is consistently followed out it is very hazardous, and you cannot have failed to observe that Socialism is in sympathy with it. We should make this perfectly clear.” – Well, we have done what Virchow feared, we have drawn the conclusions of the Darwinian theories that Darwin himself and many of his followers either failed to draw or drew incorrectly, and Virchow warned against the dangers of these doctrines because he perceived that Socialism would draw and would have to draw the conclusions that ere involved in them.
19. In reference to former attacks upon him, Dubois Reymond repeated the sentence quoted above in February, 1883, during the commemoration of the birthday of Frederick the Great.
20. Enrico Ferri published a book on “Socialism and Modern Science, Darwin – Spencer – Marx,” in which he proves, especially in answer to Haeckel, that Darwinism and Socialism are in complete harmony and that it is a grave error on Haeckel’s part to characterize Darwinism as being aristocratic. We do not agree with Ferri’s book in every respect. We especially do not share his point of view in judging the qualities of women, which is, in the main, the point of Lombroso and Ferrero. Ellis has shown in “Man and Woman” that an existing difference in the qualities of man and woman does not imply the inferiority of one – a confirmation of Kant’s utterance, that only man and woman together constitute the complete human being. Nevertheless Ferri’s book is a welcome one.
21. A statistic compiled by Blaschko gives the following information in regard to the extension of sexual diseases among the various occupations. First come the secret prostitutes with 30 per cent; then the students with 25 per cent; merchants with 16, and workingmen with 9 per cent,
22. In special cases women may be excluded from certain lectures with the consent of the minister of education.
23. “The organization of free clinical treatment of patients in the large cities of Russia.” – “German Quarterly of Public Hygiene.”
24. What difficulties are entailed for women who have a family and at the same time wish to, or have to, practice a trade or profession, has been ably shown in the book by Adele Gerhard and Helen Simon: “Maternity and Intellectual Occupations” (Berlin, 1901, George Reimer). It contains the personal experiences and opinions of writers, artists, singers, actresses, etc., and these opinions prove that society must be completely reorganized to give full play to the great amount of female intelligence that exists and strives for expression, since it is in the interest of society itself that it should be given full play.
25. According to the last report for 1908, England has 16 female factory inspectors, Miss A.“M. Anderson and 15 assistants.
26. The first woman factory inspector was appointed in Bavaria in 1897. From then until 1909 the number of woman factory inspectors rose to 26. Fourteen states had until then not appointed any.