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Jim Kershner’s this day in history

Sat., Oct. 19, 2013

From our archives, 100 years ago

The Spokesman-Review’s Society page tackled this intriguing question: “Has Chivalry Suffered Through Suffrage? Are Men in Spokane Less Polite Than Before Women Got the Ballot?”

The answer was: No.

“Going to the polls does not take the bloom from the flower of womanhood any more than it eradicates courtesy from the hearts of thoughtful men,” correspondent Betty Graeme wrote.

This question came up mainly because opponents of women’s suffrage had bellowed, nearly three years earlier, that if women won the right to vote, they would lose their right to male “chivalry” and special consideration.

So Graeme asked area women if that had come true.

“If anything, I find men are more considerate,” one elderly Spokane woman said. “A woman still has all the respect accorded her as a woman and the additional respect she commands as a live unit of a democracy.”

A young stenographer said that “the rude ones are just as rude, the civil ones as civil” as before.

In fact, Graeme wrote, if men sometimes seemed ruder it was mainly because women too often “neglect to thank men for small courtesies, a seat in a crowded (street) car, for instance.”

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