Resources for Life

Women’s Labor Not Compensated

The value of labor is too apt to be estimated, not by its usefulness, and the good it may bring, but by the rate at which it may be obtained – by the necessities of the laborers. Labor should be estimated by the amount of good it does in supplying the necessities, and promoting the welfare of mankind, individually and collectively, and wages should be proportioned thereto.

As business is now done, women’s self-respect and ambition are not called forth. Consequently women employed to work are more idle and less to be depended on – they are more likely to take advantage of an employer’s time than men. But if they had the same number of hours to work that men have, and were paid according to their industry and activity, a better disciple would be established. There would be more honor, and principle, and justice, on both sides.

There is no union or society among women to keep up the regular standard of prices – so the majority work for what they can get. The low wages of female labor tend to increase the feeling of dependence in woman, and tempt her to marry merely for a home.

Many event are tending to draw attention to these matters. How many hundreds, even thousands, of virtuous and worthy girls have been thrown out of employment by the late terrible war! After the great financial revulsion of 1857, many were rendered homeless and helpless. The “New York Tribune,” referring to them, says “It is estimated there are not less than seven thousand ready to go West, because society here has withdrawn its succor from them. At best they can but earn a pittance. A woman may be defined to be a creature that receives half price for all she does, and pays full prices for all she needs. No hotel or boarding-house here (nor elsewhere, we will add) takes a woman at a discount of fifty per cent. Butcher, baker, grocer, mercer, haberdasher, all ask her the upmost penny. No omnibus carries her for half price. She earns as a child – she pays as a many. Besides, her sex, if not barous custom, cuts her off from the best rewarded colleges. Her hands, feet, and brain are clogged.” We ask our readers to pause and inquire if this is not true.


This subsequent work of Virginia Penny’s is Think and Act. A Series of Article Pertaining to Men and Women, Work and Wages. (Philadelphia, 1869)

This work is packed full of article’s from Penny’s perspective on women, men, occupation, marriage, health and more. Here is a second passage to give you a better idea of how wide her topics are. (Looking at this passage, I will admit, I am one who must have her “order, system, and harmony”)

What a Woman Should Be

Some women are by nature gifted with more refinement of feeling, more delicacy of thought, than others. Education, or training, makes a still greater difference.

A woman’s virtuous counsels are a beacon-light to save from the rocks and quicksands of this stormy world, but the evil counsels of a woman lead to ruin and misery.

There are a thousand little courtesies that a woman alone is capable of performing; volumes could not contain all the delicate minutiae that form a true lady. The feeling that makes one must be native.

Order and harmony should prevail in all the arrangements of a lady. In the adjustment of her dress – the furniture of her room – her studies – her pastimes – her hours for rest, – in all, order, system, and harmony, are important.

A kind of consideration for the comfort of others is one of the most lovely traits of female character. A woman that does not discharge her duties, as wife and mother, does not deserve the name of woman.

Gentleness, tenderness, and decision should characterize a woman. A cheerful, contented, and forgiving disposition should mark her temper. Nothing is more to be admired than modesty, humility, and consistency. They form bright jewels in the crown of virtues. A warm heart, and refined manners, command admiration and love; but a cultivated intellect will add a greater charm, and enable a woman to accomplish more good.


Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  

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