Dora B. Montefiore 1912
Source: Daily Herald, November 25, 1912, p. 10;
Transcription: Ted Crawford.
HTML Markup: Brian Reid.
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.
I know how desirous you are to give publicity to the expressions of all those who have a real grievance, but, I cannot help regretting that anyone who values that privilege should take up the valuable space of the third of a column in our HERALD to write such a carping criticism as that in the issue of the 23rd, over the signature of “Emily Sharp”. May, I say, as one who has spoken and written for the “Human” treatment of all questions in almost every country of the world, that there is no “Woman’s question” as such; but that every question affects human beings, as men and women, and must be eventually solved by men and women together, giving their best thought, their best energy, and their most unselfish devotion to the solution of these questions.
I, therefore, object to the B.S.P. being constantly pilloried by one or two women writers as having an “unconscious bias” against the inclusion of women speakers on their platforms. I have always found that when women have specialised on any subject, they have been asked by the S.D.P. and B.S.P., as human beings and not specially as women—to give the public the benefit of their knowledge and experience. Should a human being ask for more! Does Emily Sharp desire to came in as a platform decoration to “say a few words,” as ladies and parsons are asked to do on Tory platforms?
I hope this letter will appear in the HERALD on Monday, at which time I (in spite of my being a woman) shall be attending as a delegate from the B.S.P. the International Socialist Anti-War Congress at Basle.
Let women throw themselves into the Socialist and Anti-War Movement, not as women only, but as human beings, and we shall not have to wait so long for the inauguration the Co-operative Commonwealth.
To the Editor, DAILY HERALD.
I should like to call attention to a short paragraph which appeared under the above heading in your issue of November 21
The writer, a woman, says that immediately the Women's Council of the B.S.P. heard that there was to be an international anti-war protest they applied to have a woman speaker. "Weished to stand side by side with our men in their protest" she writes, and then with charming naivete she adds:
“Nothing was settled until Sunday night at the Opera House meeting, when Mr. Quelch gave up five minutes of the time allotted to him so that I might speak in the name of the women Socialists of England and add their protest against this war.”
I believe that the B.S.P. is really a Socialist body, which means that is really democratic, and I imagine that there was no difficulty about including Miss Hicks among the speakers at the Opera House last Sunday. But what I do want point out is this, that apparently it never occurred to those arranging the meeting to invite a woman speak. On a subject which affects men and women equally and upon which the views of the Socialist body could be voiced equally well by either sex, it was taken for granted that men would do the speaking.
I wish to make it clear that I am not complaining of the arrangements of this particular meeting. I merely wish to call attention to the unconscious bias even in Socialist minds, against which we have to contend. I know that there are good speakers amongst Socialist women; I know that a woman's voice often carries better in a hall than a man’s. But unless the subject is a "woman's question" it occurs to no one, apparently, to ask a woman to speak.
Does it never occur to them, I wonder, that we may be as tired of speaking always and only on the “Woman’s Question“ as they are of hearing us?—Yours, etc.
84, King Henry's road, N.W.