Carrie Chapman Catt

Radio Address for the 44th Birthday of the National Council of Jewish Women - Jan. 11, 1937

Carrie Chapman Catt
January 11, 1937
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Catt gave this address as part of an international radio broadcast featuring 17 women from six European countries, Canada and the United States. The broadcast aired as a special edition of WJZ's "Let's Talk It Over" program and was sponsored by the National Council of Jewish Women in honor of its 44th anniversary and the 79th birthday of its founder, Mrs. Hannah G. Solomon. Each of the speakers addressed the general topic "Women's Place in World Progress Today."

Could we see the nations as they actually are today, we would observe millions of men and women in factories, workshops, mines, offices, streets, and kitchens, all striving to earn their daily bread. But they look tired, downhearted, woebegone. Do they work too hard? No, it is not the work they do that makes them look so disconsolate, it is the unnecessary loads they carry, loads which have nothing to do with their daily work. There are loads on their heads, loads on their shoulders, and loads on their backs. What are these big, staggering loads and why do people working have to carry them?

These are war loads. All generations have had them and it has always been compulsory to carry them day and night without ever and never to laying them down. One load is filled to bursting with the taxes the nation has laid upon the people for the purpose of paying for the last war. Another load, still anger and heavier, is filled with the taxes necessary for the next war. Other loads are the dread and the worry of the coming incident to expectation of another war and its aftermath, usually more terrible than the war itself.

The gravest question in the entire world today is this: how may the human race become possessed of sufficient sanity and common sense to make an end of war; to lop off all the needless loads from the aching, tired backs of all peoples; to break the chains of fear which have kept men enslaved to war, with its costs and its penalties, for a million years? Men have struggled for freedom, but what humans have always needed most is freedom from war. Will such freedom ever come? Yes, as certainly as the sun will rise tomorrow.

When common sense possesses the minds of men, there will be no more war. Women, you are the world’s best teachers, in homes, in schools, and in society. Go forth, one and all, old and young, teach the public that common sense. It is a mighty task to change the mind of the world. It requires courage and heroism, but you possess these qualities and the world’s mind has been changed many times. It can be changed again. Go; the world is waiting for your message.

Catt, C. C. (1937). Carrie Chapman Catt Papers: Speech and Article File, 1892-1946; Speeches; Untitled; 1928 to 1944. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,