Toledo Blade, Wednesday, October 28, 1914
I believe in woman suffrage because I believe that the perfect equality of men and women is founded on Divine Wisdom.
Divine Wisdom, or, in the Greek term, Theosophy, teaches first of all the brotherhood of man without distinction of race, creed, color or sex.
The foundation for such brotherhood lies in the fact that there is but One Life, whatever we may call it, permeating and sustaining the universe. In human beings this life exists in a more highly evolved form; it has become individualized, self-conscious, and we know it as the Ego, the Thinker, the real man.
The body which the man wears is merely a garment, put on today and laid aside tomorrow, the real man is external, like the source from which he sprang, taking on new bodies life after life, for the purpose of gathering that experience which eventually shall make him “more than man.”
Since all human beings partake of this One Life, and since women must be considered human beings, it follows that men and women are the same in essence, differentiated only by the outer garments, the bodies they temporarily wear, and that therefore they have certain duties and certain responsibilities shared by all human beings alike.
Theosophy or Divine Wisdom teaches-as does science-that the purpose *[of the] is growth, evolution, and that all growth is the result of use, exercise, expression; that, in fact, without expression there can be no growth, for muscles long unused become atrophied, and faculties or powers long neglected.
In the light of this knowledge, have women been fairly treated? Has not woman’s lot been largely one of repression, while man had every opportunity for expression?
Women were constantly reminded that they were ruled by their feelings that they lacked logic and reasoning power; they were born and bred in an atmosphere of prejudice and suppression, which could not but have its influence upon them, with the result that they did not use the talents they possessed.
People say: “Women cannot succeed in certain fields.” How do we know what women can do, when we have never yet allowed them to try? No man knows what woman could do, if she were free to develop the powers latent within her, nor does she herself know as yet.
Theosophy further teaches that service is the duty and at the same time the privilege of every human being, for service to humanity is considered a short cut to perfection. Woman’s right to service has never been questioned; rather has she always been expected to serve, but the sphere of service was carefully marked out for her, and never by any chance was she allowed to step our of it.
But times have changed. New conditions have arisen. Women do not do their own milking and churning, their own spinning and weaving any more. Factories and machinery have taken much of woman’s work out of the home, and a large army of women are following their work by going out into the world. However, another army still remains, constituting today the leisure class. Shall we allow these women to become parents? Are we going to take away from them the right to labor and to serve in whatever way may be best suited to their individuality? To do so would be fatal to the race, as Olive Schreiner so forcefully points out in her book on “Woman and Labor.”
Women need today the larger vision and the wider experience which the world’s work would give them. They need that all-around development so essential in the building of character, in order that they may become better wives, better mothers and better home-makers. And the world needs them; it needs its mothers; if we are to enter upon the new era, promised by the teachers of the Divine Wisdom, and earnestly hoped for by every lover of humanity, an era of co-operation, of brotherhood, and of universal peace.
*Brackets above are because I could not see the type and was not sure what she was trying to say specifically. Personally, I would have taken it out but I wanted to give you exactly, to the best I could, what was typed in the paper. This is from a copy on microfiche of that newspaper article. No photo was added to the paper. I am enclosing below.
Pauline Steinem is Gloria Steinem’s grandmother. Born a Jewish woman in Poland on August 4, 1864 and died January 5, 1904. She lived in Toledo, Ohio and was elected to several boards during her time. She helped rescue many of her family from the holocaust.