Women in Earnest, Says Jane Addams, April 28, 1915



Opening of Congress at The Hague a Solemn Occasion -- Chicago Leader Its President.


As an Injustice to Women -- Resolutions Urging Arbitrations Are Introduced.


Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

THE HAGUE, April 28. "Worse than death, yes, worse than hellish, is the defenselessness of women in warfare and their violation by the invading soldier!"

This epigrammatic assertion of Dr. Lida [Heymann] of Germany was greeted with applause at the first business session of the International Congress of Women this morning. That showed how thoroughly the more than 1,000 chosen representatives from sixteen countries are alive to the situation confronting their sisters in the warring countries.

After four days of delay off Dover, England, the American delegates arrived last night just in time to attend an informal reception and listen to messages of greeting from the warring and neutral nations. It is the largest foreign contingent, the next in order being Germany with [29], Austria-Hungary with 22, Norway with 16, and Sweden with 15 delegates. England was to be represented by 180, but that number was cut down to [20], by the British Government, and as all traffic between Holland and England has been suspended, even these 20 have not arrived, though three delegates had come earlier, and are prominent in the work of the conference.

The [large] floor is completely filled with delegates, and the galleries crowded with visitors, both men and women. A solemn earnestness is evident everywhere. Flags of many nations, otherwise so conspicuous in international meetings, are completely absent. The keynote of every speech is woman's revulsion against the barbarity of the present war and her determination to work for the substitution of law for carnage.

American Women Heard.

American women are taking an active part in the proceedings. Mrs. Fannie Fern Andrews and Annie Molloy of Boston and Grace [Abbott], Florence Holbrook, and Sophonisba Breckinridge of Chicago have thus far been heard.

An ovation was given to Rosika Schwimmer of Hungary, well known to American audiences for her fervid plea supporting arbitration and reconciliation as substitutes for war.

The resolutions thus far provisionally adopted, but subject to further discussion and final ratification, register woman's protest against war, especially in its effects upon women. They emphasize woman's responsibility for initiating a better world order, pledge woman's support to a peaceful solution of international problems, and to promotion of international good feeling and peace education in the school and home and insist upon the democratic control of foreign policies.

I find it a pleasure and an inspiration to preside over this first world gathering of womanhood in the interests of peace.

(Copyright, 1915 by the Chicago Herald.)