1880 Woman's Exponent Piece
Woman’s voice should be heard in defense of her rights, those of her family, and of all she holds dear. A true patriotic spirit and feeling should actuate her to do good in any and every sphere, though she may be derided under the appellation of “female rooster.” There are some of the opposite gender who would intimidate us and try to make us believe we do not know anything but to wash, scrub, make or med for the whole household. Do not be daunted, my sisters, in raising your voices in the cause of truth and justice; we have immortal souls, and have a right to think and act according to our honest convictions and aspirations. ‘Tis woman who moulds and forms the minds of both man and women, and that first teaches them to lisp their infant prayers; who, by her watchful eye, attentive ear and words of advice and caution, leads and guides for good the rising generation, when father is away, or too busy to attend, as many give evidence, to such little affairs, as they would term it, that are woman’s duty. A mother has this weighty, important duty, besides tending to outside affairs, when the father is absent, or should he, through sickness, be incapable of attending to his business. Mother of sheer necessity must take hold, not only in her own affairs, as some are pleased to term it, but she must also give her mind and strength in the direction of where bread and butter comes from, and if a widow, left with several small children, and no provision made by her husband, in case of such an event, is left to her own resources to battle with the stern realities of life. Woman, what would be your lot then if you knew nothing beyond home duties: if your thoughts, and the reason with which God has endowed you, had not many times reverted in other directions?
Then exercise your God-given intelligence, and rank side by side with your partner, and help him to see and realize that women have rights and privileges, exert your energies and influence in and outside the home circle; maintain your sense of justice and exercise it; go to the polls and vote for municipal and other officers, who are to conduct affairs to which you and your children are to be subject; have a voice in whatever concerns your relative welfare and the welfare of the community in which you live.
Can a settlement or nation be built up without the aid of woman? Verily, no; the man is not without the woman in the Lord, and vice versa.
Away with such narrow-mindedness that says woman’s voice must not be heard except at home, trying to lead her children. One of our leading men of today taught in my hearing, if any one needs language to talk ‘tis woman, to teach, guide and counsel her offspring, that by her tongue, good actions and wise example a noble race of men and women may spring up, that will learn to govern kingdoms.
Then women, strive to gain an intelligent, patriotic spirit, that you may diffuse the same through your household, that those going out there from may not be misinformed, or ignorant and know nothing but to eat, drink and sleep. If there are men who do not know your worth and position before your Maker, show them that you sense it, and that it is not out of a woman’s line to comprehend the state of affairs by which she is governed. Sisters, let us not lie dormant and see our brethren and sisters trampled upon, as it were, and insulted by self-asserted powers and unjust laws. I rejoice in the spirit and influence of such women as assembled at the theatre in Mass Meeting to pass resolutions and protest against such unlawfulness. Jeers and uncouth remarks should not deter us from our duty, when we know, by our God-given agency we are right; shall we stand by as mere blocks, as though we had no sense or reason in our natures? No, it does not meet the end thought, for this is a perverse generation; you will be happy in the thought and consciousness of having done your part toward ameliorating the wrongs against this people. Can any one possessing the Spirit of God stand meekly by and their hearts not be stirred by such indignities? I say no, no! We may be learning to govern ourselves, and if our enemies smite us upon one cheek, turn to them the other also; but may our hearts ever beat in unison with the Spirit of God to dictate us in the affairs of life, is my prayer.M.A. Till
Republished in Exponent II, Volume 3 No. 1 (1976)