Margaret Sanger, "Women and the Future," 1933.
Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Sophia Smith Collection Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S71:630."
Women’s place in the creation of the structure of the future has never been more important than it is today.
We witness the bankruptcy and the collapse of man’s attempt to conquer the universe and dominate it in his man-made--one-sided womanless battle for supremacy.
He has flung railroads and airlines across continents, conquered the sir, harnesses the endless torrents of water power. Through the lenses of his telescope he has explored distant universes; through the lenses of his microscope he has waged war against germ and microbe; girdled the globe in a fraction of a second with his radio broadcast. Everything has been done and accomplished in the effort and desire to Unite peoples and nations and to bring them closer together. Yet, we fond him goaded to a frenzy of power in exploitation and war.
In all his ventures and accomplishments woman has been allowed to march beside him--to serve his physical needs, competing with animals as pack horses or nurse maids for his offspring. He has succeeded in conquering everything but his own ignorance. I am not pleading for the substitution of a woman-made work for we have seen enough of exclusively masculine adventure, enough destruction, chaos and confusion. Rather do I look forward to a future created by a united harmonious endeavor of women and men working together as equals. Equals as creative entities. Woman’s bondage has been and still is based on the biological task of childbearing. Our ecclesiastical fathers have and still decree that there are only two states of responsible womanhood open to women --virginity and motherhood. Sex in any manifestation is justified only in the bearing of a child.
With such a mental attitude confusing a basic function of life with shame and sin, women cannot rise to her highest possibilities. For millions of mothers too poor, too weak, too inarticulate to demand their liberties because they are crushed under the double burden of poverty and childbearing, they can never have full potential or civil rights, never full opportunity for education, no freedom to enlarge their talents, or submerged abilities until the functions of child bearing becomes under control. Until that function of her being, the procreative power, is under her complete control woman can never hope to aspire to the heights of her own spiritual destiny.
The Militarists of Europe and Asia are clamoring for an increased population to enlarge their armies. To these pleas women must refuse to listen. She must awaken to the responsibility which is hers . as a creative force in the remaking of a New World. She can become the conscious instrument to a World of Peace.
Birth Control is the first sign of an awakening consciousness in womankind. It signals a new moral responsibility, a higher regard for human life, not only after birth but even before it has been conceived.
It is through this consciousness of birth, the recognition of the importance of the quality of life itself, that women shall extricate humanity from the man-made muddle in which it finds itself grounded today. Instead of a world torn asunder in jealousies and bitterness created by irresponsible hordes in antagonism and despair-- Woman consciously free could guide us into a future created by the all embracing love of peace on Earth-- Good will toward Men over the entire face of the globe.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project