REVIEW of REVIEWS

Should Women Earn Pin Money?

U. S. PRESS April 1 1930
REVIEW of REVIEWS

Should Women Earn Pin Money?

U. S. PRESS April 1 1930

Should Women Earn Pin Money?

Status of Those Who Are Not Bound to Work and Their Effect on Labor Market is Discussed by Economists.

U. S. PRESS

ONCE more the question of the woman of independent or semi-independent means, and her right to a niche in industry is up for discussion. Opinions on her as a social phenomenon seem to vary.

“The pin-money worker is all clear gain in our economic life,” declares Viscountess Rhondda, prominent British feminist and coal-mine owner.

“I cannot agree,” objects Miss Frances Perkins, New York State Commissioner of Labor, who insists that “the woman ‘pin-money worker’ who competes with the necessity worker is a menace to society, a selfish, shortsighted creature, who ought to be ashamed of herself.” “Until we have every woman in this community earning a living wage—and by that I mean not less than $20 a week for the City of New York—until we have a firmly established habit of short working hours and some kind of old-age security, I am not willing to encourage those who are under no economic necessities to compete with their charm and education, their superior advantages, against the workinggirl who has only her two hands.

“There are so many fields where their talents can bear rich fruit without hurting less fortunate women workers. Architecture, painting, music, and other fields of artistic endeavor which require special training are legitimate for the ‘pinmoney worker.’ Politics and charitable

work, law, medicine, and teaching also would be desirable outlets.

“Idleness is a curse, of course, but if these rich women must have employment, let them go into agriculture, which needs workers, or devote themselves to motherhood and the home.”

“Idleness is a curse, of course,” comments the Dayton Journal editorially, “and industry is to be commended at all times and for all people. But where, in the case of poor girls who must make their own way, idleness means the difference between a respectable life and self-support by any means, it is not only a terrible thing from the girl’s standpoint, but a grave social menace.”

“ ‘The pin-money worker’ has been a thorn in the flesh of laborites ever since the first modern-minded daughter discovered that it was more interesting to earn her own money than to spend father’s,” says the New York Herald Tribune.

“Talents and opportunities differ even among the more privileged groups of women, and if ‘going into trade’ offers the best opportunity for happiness to any woman, surely that is where she is bound to go, regardless of the hypothetical working girl, for American industry is so complex and so flexible that one can seldom be sure that her cake is another’s bread.

“Certainly there is less danger for the industrial workers for whom Miss Perkins was pleading than for any other specialized group. School-teachers, saleswomen, artists, musicians, and actresses are far more likely to find their professions invaded by the ‘pin-money workers’ than are the factory workers and unskilled labor groups, upon whom economic necessity is heaviest. The world has not censured Sir James M. Barrie for encouraging the unhappy wife in ‘The Twelve Pound Look’ to become a typist, and it will not at this late date make an arbitrary ruling that only women with no other means of support may hold jobs in the business and professional world. Perhaps those fields need the activities of ‘pinmoney women’ as much as the women need the ‘pin-money.’ ”

The Chicago Tribune considers Miss Perkins’s alternative of “motherhood and the home” more to the point than agricultural employment for leisure “pinmoney women”:

“Eugenists and such would certainly approve the idea that those most favored by environment, education, and all natural resources should make motherhood their business. Whether she can prove it to these restless girls who want to run tearooms, hat shops and typewriters and otherwise invade the working girl’s hardwon territory is quite another question.”