Social Hygiene Council Thinks
By a Staff Reporter
Several modern gods were smashed by Dr, Ethel Dukes, of the Marriage Guidance Council, speaking last week at the British Social Hygiene Council Conference.
Families, she declared, have been penalised all along the line--econoinirally and socially. The family income grows less with every additional child. And it's the mother who suffers, every time. If anything is scarce, it is she who goes without. There have been cases where the mother has existed on tea, bread and margarine, so that the family could be properly fed.
No wonder her health suffers— that the working-class mother grows old before her time, that she loses her hair and her teeth—and her tentper ! No wonder she frequently has internal trouble. getting up far too Won after the birth of a child and standing up to do the family washing. " 1 have even," said Dr. Dukes, " seen mothers sifting up in bed on the third day after a baby's birth with the washtub by her side washing clothes." What was at one time title only of the wives of working men is now true of the middle classes—and so we're hearing more about About nursery schools a certain amount of opposition was felt at the conference. After Mrs. Neville Rolfe had spoken about their future development a man delegate from the North said: " If nursery schools are to be developed wholesale after the war, if mothers still have to go out to work, as I've seen so many miners' wives doing at present. then I see a very gloomy future 1" Mrs. Neville Rolfe countered this by saying that there must be somewhere that a working woman could put her child if she wanted some free time— that nurseries were intended to be an adjunct to, and not a substitute for, the home, And a woman delegate got up to say that the nursery " turns the child into a dear little co-operative person ready to play games and begin life as a citizen."
The sudden change in the mood of the authorities on the family was recalled by another woman delegate. " I can remember," she said, " when working women were told that they ought to be ashamed of having so many children. Now working women, in addition to being asked to have more children, are being encouraged to put all they can into the war effort."
Housing came in for an all-round hammering. Half the trouble, one delegate said, was the insistence on the three-bedroomed house or flat in municipal housing schemes, to the exclusion of bigger ones. Far too heavy rents in comparison with municipal wages-14s. rent on a £2 7s. 6d. weekly wage— were criticised by a Wembley delegate. and.a Greenwich delegate said then final word about housing: " The whole trouble is the price of land. I have seen land in my part of the world increase from £1,000 to f1,000 an acre, while in Bermondsey and Southwark, two poverty-stricken areas. land is £20.000 an acre. Until the problem of land is solved in England all your houses will be pictures and nothing else I"