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LEGISLATION FOR WOMEN IN OREGON.

INTRODUCTION.

THI

HIS thesis, though a discussion of legislation for

women in Oregon, is not offered as a legal treatise.

It is the outcome of efforts to improve the economic position of wage-earning women in a Western state, and to prevent by legislation the insidious development of such social sores as are found in congested, industrial centers of the East. Active participation by the writer in the administration of minimum wage, maximum hour and mothers' pension legislation, in a housing survey, and in the care of dependent women and children brought to her notice much of the separate legislation for women and children in Oregon.

Most of such separate legislation for women today falls within two groups of statutes. One group is that body of acts which recognizes the distinct personality of a married woman and the provisions of which are abrogations of English common law. The second group is that body of laws, sometimes called “Social Legislation” which is an outgrowth of the industrial system of the last one hundred fifty years. This is the legislation which aims to assist and protect the individual or family, breadwinning woman by surrounding her with safeguards “from the greed and the passion of men”.

A third class of legislation, that which has given women the ballot by omitting sex as a qualification for suffrage, can no longer be called “separate” though it probably has that denotation in the minds of many on account of its recency. The story of the forty year attempt of Oregon women to secure the privilege of voting could have been interwoven with the account of the steps in legislation which gave them full civil rights, but for the sake of clearness and because the suffrage agitation contained elements entirely unconnected with civil rights laws, the two accounts are given separately.

References to session laws, Supreme Court decisions, official bulletins and reports, and to House and Senate journals are to Oregon documents unless otherwise specified.

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