Friday Feminist – Louisa Lawson (2)

There are two views of the woman’s suffrage question commonly discussed, the justice of the measure, and its expediency. Few doubt its justice, many question its expediency, and yet, being just, what does all else matter?

Suppose that the right to vote lay with women only, and that the progress of the world was bringing expansive thoughts and hopes of a happier future into the minds of men. When men perceived that this right was unjustly withheld from them, and felt that their individual manhood was title enough to this right to a voice in decisions affecting all, would they tolerate discussion as to the expediency or wisdom of the measure? Would they stand by and hear the women conjecture how men might perchance misuse the concession if granted, would they quietly wait while political factions summed up the chances of the support of the new voters? No, they would say “Curse you – it is my right. What business is it of yours how I use it?”

Louisa Lawson, editorial in The Dawn, June 1890, in Olive Lawson (ed.), The First Voice of Australian Feminism: Excerpts from Louisa Lawson’s The Dawn 1888 – 1895, Simon and Schuster, 1990.

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