Margaret Sanger, "Women of the Future," Jan 1937.
Source: "Margaret Sanger Papers, Smith College Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S17:912."
No published version was found. For draft versions, see Margaret Sanger Microfilm, Smith College Collections S71:908 and Library of Congress Microfilm 131:456.
We have the wisdom--We have the skill--as demonstrated by man’s explorations and war against microbes and germs where we find all the miracles of the atom and of radio-activity.
In brief, during the last 100 years our wisdom and skill have taken remarkable steps in the conquest of the external forces of Nature. Man has tamed and harnessed many natural energies and directed them for his own use.
But before we boast too loudly of these achievements of wisdom, let us evaluate them in terms of woman’s future as the basis of a higher and finer civilization. How can we boast of the conquest of the air or the marvels of chemistry when nation after nation compels its innocent women and children to protect themselves against these by wearing gas masks?
Why should we take pride in the advance of medical and surgical skill, when its use is to be the salvaging of the defectives, the morons and prolonging the lives of the diseased millions whose very existence depends upon the continuation of private or public charity?
Consider the vast fortunes--millions--nay billions--of dollars we continue to shovel into the bottomless pit of so-called relief--charity. Philanthropy, like the rose by any other name, it smells the same.
This effort to keep alive and increase the population of the diseased, delinquent, defective, who in all compassion should never be brought into the world at all, is futile extravagance. Its a luxury to salve the conscience of the present generation for not using their brains while heaping up mountains of debts for our children’s children’s children to pay.
We women of today are too content with our conquests to visualize fully the dangers of the future.
Its one thing to have and another thing to hold what you have. Women’s freedom is endangered. All that she has fought for and gained in Germany has been lost and sacrificed to the war mad militarists of that sad country. In Japan and Italy it is the same. While women in these countries had not made the same strides in the profession and in individual achievement as their sisters in Germany, nevertheless what they were aiming for has been stopped and they, as a class and sex, have been put back to compete with pack animals in the class of servants to man’s comfort and instruments of his pleasure.
Its the day of masculine psychology, dedicated to the needs of men.
Shall women of today be able to hold the freedom they have so far gained? Not unless they cease being incubators for war mad dictators. Not unless they, as a Sex, a Class, a United Mass, refuse to waste or allow the misuse of the greatest creative force within human nature itself--the creative energy--the force and power of Motherhood. The control of the power of woman’s creative function. Fertility is the main portal to the future. Only through the emancipation of her creative energy--Motherhood--can humanity redeem itself.
Civilization is marking time. It is at the cross roads, for in spite of all the miraculous achievements of the past century, science, philanthropy, statesmanship, has not succeeded in getting humanity out of the man made muddle in which the world finds itself today. In fact never has our civilization been nearer to the brink of destruction and never in the whole history of this planet has woman’s place in the creation of the structure of the future been so important as it is now today, today! !
Thanks to the opponents of scientific Birth Control, who keep women and men in ignorance of contraception, each day reveals that 50,000 extra babies survive--150,000 are born, 100,00 die and 50,000 survive each day. These 50,000 who survive contribute to the 330,000,000 which have been added to the world’s population of 2,000 millions since 1920--an increase almost as large in 10 years as the population of India.
The militarists of Germany, Italy and Japan are clamoring for population increase for land and land because of population increase our babies are starving but give us more babies is the slogan of mad men to which women should turn a deaf ear.
For let us not forget that in all the successful achievements to conquer the universe that man’s civilization is in bankruptcy. While Successfully spanning the ocean, flinging railroads and airlines across continents, circling the globe in the fraction of a second with the radio--everything accomplished in the desire to unite peoples and nations and to bring them closer together in unity, harmony and understanding, yet because of the ceaseless hordes of human beings ever multiplying and increase their numbers regardless of quality or place or aim--we find mankind goaded on to a frenzy of exploitation and war. A war for land--for markets--for power to destroy, to subjugate other nations and races--because of hungry mouths to feed. Millions of women are crushed under their burden of poverty and childbearing. They are all too inarticulate to call out--too poor to help themselves--too weak to demand their liberties. They look to you to help them. Sympathy is not enough--palliative help is not enough--philanthropy is not enough. Nothing less can you do than help to set them free--free so that they may help themselves and grow in wisdom and enlightenment.
Instead of a world created and managed by irresponsible hordes in hatred and antagonism--let woman hold their present freedom--extend it to all women and guide humanity into a future created by all embracing Peace on Earth Good Will to Men through the consciousness of Birth Control.
Copyright, Margaret Sanger Project