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Miss Helen Todd, of San Francisco, spoke in Emerson D last evening on the work of the women of the West against the child-labor conditions of Illinois and the condition of the judiciary in San Francisco. Miss Todd, through her connection with Hull House in Chicago, has gathered her facts concerning the working classes t first hand, and s factory inspector in Illinois she learned of the disgraceful treatment of children in the glass factories of that state.
The investigation against the factories and sweat shops was started by the women of Chicago. It was ascertained that children of 12 years of age were being employed in intensely hot glass-works; that the average life of these children after they went to work was between four and five years and that they were being paid $1.50 to $2.00 a week. This was about 1893 and the women immediately set to work to fight the legislature. They were combatted by the Illinois Manufacturers Association and defeated at first, but at last they succeeded in passing a law which made 14 the minimum age for the employment of children and limited their working day to eight hours between the ages of 14 and 16. This campaign for human life illustrates that the contribution of women to political society is pity and compassion. The material interest of the country lies in its human life and it is for this that the women care.
Appeal to the "Average Man."
After the campaign in Illinois, Miss Todd went to California where she assisted in gaining the vote for women in that state. The statistics show that the very wealthy and very illiterate men of California voted against Woman suffrage and that it was the average man who put the measure through. Of the four million women voters in the United States at present, about 700,000 are women of California. They are not affiliated with any political party but their votes are cast solidly for all Woman Suffrage measures, the aim of which is to pass legislation that will benefit human life.
The women voters of California succeeded in putting through the last legislature a minimum wage bill, with the power to enforce; an endowment bill for teachers; and a home rule and taxation bill which relieves the farmers of exorbitant taxation on property and puts some of it on idle land. They also succeeded in passing a child-labor law which prohibits a child under 18 years of age from working for more than eight hours a day.
Effect of Judge Weller's Recall
One of the most important accomplishments of the women of San Francisco was the recall of Judge Weller, a corrupt police court magistrate. From him it was impossible for wronged girls to get any justice whatever, and the purely nominal bail of the wrong-doors was fixed at anywhere from $50 to $150. In face of the opposition of wealth, organized labor, and the newspapers, the women concentrated their efforts in putting the recall into effect. To the consternation of San Francisco, Judge Weller was recalled and since then a change has swept through every political office in California, forcing the holders of elective positions to feel their direct responsibility to the people
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