Principles at stake
SIR.-I do not think Mr. Bernard Prentis can be said to have made Out a good case against equal pay for women. His article purports to be a statement of the principles that are involved, and this is emphasised in the editorial note at the beginning.
• But when the article is scrutinized
the actual principles boil down to one, and that a dubious one the principle that a man's wage is to be determined by his family responsibilities. This is the first principle that is stated. The second cannot be said to exist, as it is defined entirely in negative terms, and no positive argument can be based on a statement about what a thing is not. The third principle-that a man is the family's breadwinner-is merely an extension of the first. We are therefore left with Mr. Prentis's first and only dogmatic observation; that a man's wage is to be determined by his family responsibilities. If, for the sake of argument, we accept this for the moment as true, it still by no means follows that a woman is entitled to a lower rate of pay than a man. For when a women goes out to work she is acting as breadwinner, and as such is entitled to exactly the same rate of pay, for the same reasons, as the man.
Butin fact Mr. Prenties principle is not true, in the unqualified state in which he presents it. That a man is entitled to a 'living wage can be agreed. But many other factors need to enter into the consideration For instance, it is right that better work should be rewarded by a higher wage ("better" may mean in the intrinsic quality of the "end product"; it may mean simply "quicker"); therefore, if a woman does the same job as a man, and does it better, she is entitled to more money. As for the practical result of Mr. Prentiss principle: a system that supplies an employer with a source of cheap female labour is not likely to procure that decent living wage which is Mr. Prentis's ideal-for men. G. R. Lamb G. R. Lamb
246 London Road, St. Albans.
We do not Mink the above answers the point that a just wage is a family wage and that the man is the family's "breadwinner." Editor, CATHOLIC HERALD.
SIR,---Lookingat it as a matter of principle, should not a young woman be entitled to equal pay in order that she may save a dowry for her future married life? Many young tempted wives are certainly mpted to go out to work because the husbands' savings are insufficient to allow the purchase of a house, and furnished rooms are not considered suitable for babies. Furthermore. the existence of a dowry to be drawn upon when necessary would probably
prent mothers from leaving children in nurseries and going out to earn that necessary money. Also, a girl's savings might do a great deal towards bringing closer a wedding day that might otherwise be unhappily delayed. A dowry is certainly in the Catholic tradition, and the majority of no means young women today have of obtaining one except by working for it. Surely it is a good thing for a woman to be able to provide her own dowry and not go empty handed to the husband who will support her for the rest of her days. Joyce Lafferty 75 Mortlake Road, Richmond.