Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Catholics And Working Women

Catholic Church nowadays appears to have few problems with working women, but it hasn't always been the case. Recently I stumbled upon a second-hand book in a thrift store about a famous Dutch Catholic politician from the 1930s. Carl Romme fought, among other things, for the government subsidies for families with multiple children and against work participation for married women.

To quote the book (approximate translation mine):

To fight unemployment, the government encouraged city councils to fire female employees who were going to get married. It didn't go far enough for the Catholics and Steinmenz also proposed to fire all the married women. Romme used this opportunity to argue that...the work of a married woman was a result of ...psychoses, that of freedom and equality which for years had been undermining the strength of the people. This strength was necessary for the healthy family life and thus it wasn't allowed to encourage a married woman to look for her daily work outside the family. (p. 187).

Further in his career, when he became a minister, he was busy, among other things with prohibiting employment for married women. On the one hand, it was a necessary measure to fight unemployment, but it went further than that. Again, to quote:

A woman's duty lay within the family and nothing should keep her from it. The education of a girl had to prepare her for it and once married, she had to be prohibited from working. (p. 305).

In 1962, he got the honour doctorate from the Catholic University of Tilburg. Thus, in the beginning of the 1960s his opinions were still considered respectable. What the heck happened in the end of the 1960s? Nowadays it's quite otherwise, as a married woman's "duty" apparently lies anywhere except in her own home...

(The book in question was written by J.Bosmans, and it's called Romme. Published by Het Spectrum, 1991).


  1. Karen, you are banned and spammed. Your trying to continue posting on this blog constitutes stalking and harassment which is a criminal offence in your country. I have your IP address, too.

  2. I wonder if it's more than that since the change simultaneously happened in all Western countries. The government's attitude changed as well, and then, of course, we got "sexual revolution". I don't believe in coincidences.