Background on Women's Rights in FL


Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] I will not SHUT UP , GIVE UP and I WONT go away!!.



FYI-More on Florida's love of Old English property law from Florida Now

Here is a description of the legal limitations grown women in Florida faced in 1941 thanks to an archivist in Los Angeles.  Many of the inequalities noted were not corrected in Florida until 1972 when the Legislature passed the Married Women's Property Act. Democrats were in the majority then to bring us other progressive and humane legislation, like the Baker Act for the mentally ill. With this tradition, any wonder why the ERA has not been ratified in Florida?



In Florida married women are classed

wi th idiots, lunatics and minors, according

to Mrs. Ethel Ernest Murrell, Florida lawyer,

author and lecturer.

     This status obtains under the old com-

mon law of England, she says, which was

adopted by Florida at the time it became a

State and abandoned the Spanish laws. It

was cited by Mrs. Murrell as an example of

the legal discriminations against women

which still exist in the United States.

     The Florida attorney, who visited Boston

in the course of a lecture tour, explained that under this statute a married woman may not even open a charge account without her husband's written approval - a restriction which amazes tourists from other states. And if a married woman wants to go into business, she must first go to court and prove her competency.

     A bill to revise this law - which was thrown out in England in 1873 - is being placed before the Legislature at this session, said Mrs. Murrell. She has been working for four years in her State to liberalize its laws with respect to the rights of women, and is chairman of the legislative committee for the National Woman's Party in Florida.

     Pointing out that there are still eleven

backward States in the matter of women's

rights, Mrs. Murrell deplored the fact that

women on the whole are apathetic about the


American women, she claims, are "over-

privileged, under-worked and tragically spoiled," and affect a childish dependence which stunts their growth as contributing citizens of the community and the nation. Mrs. Murrell believes that women should "grow up and take their responsibilities. "

     When this country was colonized by the

early settlers, she pointed out that women

stood b eside their men in every occupation

and worked with them. The trouble today,

said the woman attorney, is "that women

don't have enough to do."

     She feels, too, that there is a mental

and moral decline in women who, after

being highly educated, get married and then

devote themselves to card playing and

cocktail parties.

     Mrs. Murrell would like to see women

become excited about their status, believe

in their future and work for it. "We go to

great length," she said, "to promote democ-

racy abroad when we haven't yet completed

our own democracy at home."

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        APRIL 17, 1941              PAGE 15

Note: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] I will not SHUT UP , GIVE UP and I WONT go away!!.