sin,—Much has been written lately about the " servant problem." May I add one brief letter on the subject?
It is quite beyond the physical powers of any woman to do all that is now quite rightly considered necessary to bring up a family of children, keep a clean home, and be cook as well, without that woman becoming a slave—not that women don't like looking after their families, they do, but, by the time that a 12-hour day has been put in, the woman is too tired to take an intelligent interest in anything, consequently her outlook becomes narrow and she is not the companion and friend to her husband and children that she should be, quite apart from what all this work does to the woman herself. Help in the home really is necessary.
One of the causes of shortage in domestic service—apart from the war— is, I think, due to the lack of status that such service entails. It is ' regarded on the whole as a job for those not clever enough to do some other work, whereas any woman who runs a house knows, that to be a good domestic worker requires both intelligence and training.
I suggest that a remedy for this would be, that there should be State training centres for girls showing aptitude, perhaps as part of their schooling after the age of 15. That all these centres should have an identical syllabus, that the course should be a one-year and a two-year course. After the training the conditions of service, holidays and pay should be standardised, the one-year trainee paid at a lower rate than the two-year. A standard uniform of which the wearer could be proud, and a system of yearly reports to the training centre for the first three years of service.
This trained girl would not only be of inestimable service to the young housewife who has to wrestle with a young family, and often an untrained maid (if any) giving assistance cheerfully but on the whole of a very inadequate nature. But it would also be of immense benefit to the girl herself, particularly when she herself marries.
So many girls of all classes embark on housekeeping with absolutely no knowledge of food values or anything else. All women should have some education of this sort. Surely it would not be too great a thing to undertake to train our young girls and consequently raise the standards n of fitness and usefulness of our future generations.—Yours faithfully,