The Veil Is Lifted ...

In no fight, therefore nor in the one fought today by women around the world, as well as by women closer to our soul, Romanian women, to claim their right to social life, have women ever been militant. But their voice may accompany the warlike onset of their hawkish sisters, for they will share the wreaths of triumph.In my opinion, women wish to be civil servants, deputies, ministers more than they wished to be doctors, professors, and only to the extent to which they fulfill a public necessity for collaboration in that direction as well. Physician-women and teaching women did not destroy either marriage or motherhood, on the contrary. But can these establishments be destroyed which are not under anybody's power, but eternal? Their forms may be susceptible of progress in harmony with the overall evolution of the social course, but nobody should be fearing women will no longer be women. Their prerogatives are too precious for them to relinquish; they are woman's essence.At the same time, when a prolonged command of privileges has burned up the combative, social energy of men, women, in their advancement toward freedom, have reached that point which enables them to tender their share of continued leisure to the benefit of common welfare with modesty, but assertively. Nature herself is sending to a stream exhausted by its own fertility the nutrient of confluents.The only goal of feminism is to be the affluent that will raise again the level of the river of virile activity, whose predominant power no-one disputes.Men have always welcomed woman's collaboration and shared good and bad with her. They will not turn down the hand they have always asked for. The moment of this reconciling marriage of sexes in the realm of social rights is a moment of shared emotions following shared dangers; a moment of universal social elevation and national bliss.As for woman's abandonment of her natural kindness and grace, there is no danger. The agony of trenches and the grief of hospitals have not altered them. Woman comes today to ask, not claim, her place next to man, clad in the white, friendly outfit of the Sisters of Charity she has not taken off yet.Few are those who can wield both the sword and the quill. In the war you are waging, I am neither a commander, nor a soldier, but I believe I still am a natural member of the peaceful corps of your army. And if from the absolute seclusion of the literary work wherefrom I shall appreciate your efforts – though I am not going out into the public arena – I cannot be of greater help to you, I am still a little example that one can work without the restriction of house chores and alongside them, without the two activities coming into collision. The two capacities being equally inbuilt in women, with the reliable balance of common sense are establishing the equilibrium."

Published in Sburătorul magazine, 1920

by Hortensia Papadat-Bengescu (1876-1955)