Editorial from the March 1916 issue of The Southern Planter
The Farmer’s Wife
When the saints immortal stand up to be rewarded for all they have done in this life, we wonder if there will be reward enough to compensate the farm wives. Many great wrongs are being righted, wholly and partially. Some of them by legislation, some because society demands it, some because of education and the tendency of human beings to be more thoughtful and considerate, yet there are some thigns being left undone.
By all of this we do not mean that farm wives are ill-treated, except, perhaps in a few rare cases. They are not actually abused, or anything of that kind. Farmers as a whole are open, kind-hearted men, and would be the first to resent any statement that they are not. Even now, when conditions are so much better than 50 years ago, there are many farmers who do not take the wife into full partnership. The good wife does her share of the work and often more than half. She does that work which is necessary to the advancement and comfort of all on the farm.
Oftentimes working twice as many hours in the day as the man, and more often putting more thought and sound common sense into the business than her husband. Yet a vast majority of women in farm homes have to ask for a little money every time they want to buy clothes for themselves. They are not allowed to be cooperative partners in the business, with drawing account on par with the husbands. How many of them suffer the humiliation of being compelled to ask for that which is justly their own? And how many high spirited women suffer on account of this humiliation?
If wives were full partners on every farm, many improvements in country life on the farm, about which so much is being written and said, would soon be accomplished. The farmers’ wives in a community would soon get together in clubs and discuss their own peculiar needs in the way of improving the social conditions, the schools, the means of communications, the churches, making the homes more comfortable and convenient, keeping the boys and girls on the farm and many other vital questions were are not suited in the farmers’ clubs and unions. Furthermore, in our opinion, the farm wives, when they are full partners, will continue to settle many of the perplexing problems of life in the country, which the husbands have failed to do, though they have been talking about them for a hundred years.
Give the farm women the right kind of a chance and see what they will do.