Montreal Daily Star, 20 August 1887, page 2

The education of daughters

Knowledge of something besides housekeeping is often useful.

In whatever else it may disagree, the world unanimously considers it a settled fact that women must eat and be clothed, though as to her legitimate path in the pursuit of food and raiment there be various opinions.

Without desiring to discuss the desirability or legitimacy of the devious paths now open to women; without at all wishing to open up the subject of “women’s rights,” we would urge upon parents a closer thought in regard to the future of their daughters, which, indeed, in these days of fluctuating fortune, is no light matter.

Let them be educated for good housekeepers, by all means, if they have any taste for it (and led to it, if possible, if they have not); let them be taught to sew, to knit, to weave, to bake, to brew, to scrub; anything and everything, in short, calculated to make their own home, or that of the “coming man”, pleasanter and more comfortable.  Let them further be educated so as to be able to fill with ease any position in society; let them become brilliant women, if they have the ability for that.  But there is something yet beyond this- let them be educated to be self-supporting, if necessity should offer.

Each girl should have a trade or profession.  When a man of fortune fails, who is to take care of his five daughters, of what use has the world for five “good housekeepers” who have no houses to keep?

Since it is a melancholy fact that “ladies” are at times unexpectedly obliged to support themselves (and even those around them) every woman should have at her command, some trade or profession, in order that when necessity occurs, if ever it does, she may have wares to offer which the public is likely to be a ready purchaser; for, believe it, the world has but little to say to the woman who can urge only her “good housekeeping” as a plea for a position whereby she may earn her daily bread.

Let each daughter be taught some trade or profession outside of her own home; one, millinery; another, dressmaking; and so on.  If only the so-called womanly employments are preferred.  If, however, popular prejudice or private opinions does not interfere, the branches in which a woman may perfect herself with a view to future self-support, are legion: book-keeping, short-hand, type-writing, any of the thousand and one new avenues opening for women, or the time-honored old ones.  But, parents, do not, as you love your daughters, do not allow them, in case of reverses, to find themselves stranded on a barren shore, incapable of anything but “eating the bitter bread of charity” as poor relations. 

Montreal Daily Star, 1 November 1888, page 2

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