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WOMEN COUNCILLORS.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORK

Last week an opportunity was given women candidates for the Wellington City Council of placing their views I upon housing, health, and education , before the women electors. Some interesting points were touched upon, and ono of these points is dealt with in an article written for a recent number of "The Queen," by Mrs. Mary jHeitland. j Mrs Heitland, after suggesting the formation of a women citizens' organisation (consisting of men as well, as women members in some places, or of ratepayers' associations or local government societies), goes on to say that these bodies having divided their members according to the boroughs in which they live (or. according to parish council districts for rural societies), should hold ward meetings, and should put to each of these meetings certain questions. If the members are shy and silent it' may be well to begin by asking some of them to say what is wrong with their present homes, though this often leads to rather rambling talk. The chairman or leader of the women citizens' meeting will try to discover ; what kind of dwelling is preferred: (a) ! the ordinary two-storey cottage, or (b) cottage-flats of the maisonette type (the _ upper flat being approached by an outside staircase), or (c) a flat of /the artisan dwelling type, with a common courtyard and possioly a common washhouse. There will follow questions about the planning of the living rooms and the proportion of space to be occupied by entrance, parlour, kitchen, and scullery; the smallest number of bedrooms considered to be indispensable; the views of the meeting on tho question of heating water; the position of the bath or bathroom—and with this question the whole topic of fuel and kitchen ranges will be introduced. These matters will be amplified by experts as well as by those who have learnt to know what they like by discovering what they detest. At each of these ward meetings somebody must be deputed to take abundant notes of the wishes expressed. Later, the secretary of the association should reduce and edit all the materials which have been collected, and ask the woman councillor (or councillors) to present them as a report to the town council or its housing committee. A relation of this kind established between the women councillors and the local women citizens' association is valuable to both parties, and—what is more important—it brings the desires of the people directly before the council, which has the means of giving them effect. A similar exchange of services should take place between the women citizens' associations and the women councillors in promoting public health and national education.', A women citizens' association in any district can perform a most necessary service by bringing into

general notice %the deficiencies of .our present schemes for medical attendance and the care of health. Many people hardly know how much good is being accomplished by the schools for mothers, dental clinics, home for the tuberculous, and other., undertakings which have been started in a more or less experimental and private fashion. All such subjects as these should be discussed in a thorough, systematic manner by the women citizens' associations, and the resulting knowledge be summarised for the practical use of women on the local councils.

' In tlie field of education many women councillors feel that they can make themselves particularly useful. They are interested in the life of the young whether schooling and wage-earning are around them, and most anxious that the few precious years devoted to education should ,not be lost. The question compatible is one which the councils are called upon.to decide. How to provide "continuation" classes for the adolescents is another question. Can such higher education be given by unpaid teachers, or should all competent teachers be paid for their labour? How can the girls and youth of ability be given a lift so that they can enter employments which call for scientific knowledge or artistic powers? Such are a few of the educational (questions which women entering on council work are asking themselves. And it is in studying such questions and supplying the material for dealing with them rightly that women citizens' associations can, in my opinion, powerfully aid our new women administrators.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG19190424.2.9

Bibliographic details

WOMEN COUNCILLORS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9593, 24 April 1919

Word Count
706

WOMEN COUNCILLORS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9593, 24 April 1919

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