HAITI: Ladies' Day

On a steaming August day in 1946, thin, dark deputy Castel Demesmin rose in Port-au-Prince's Doric-columned, blue-and-gold-trimmed Chambre des Deputes, drew a deep breath and let fly with a hot blast of pure male chauvinism. The topic under discussion was a modest petition to let Haitian women vote and hold office. "All the miseries of this country," roared Demesmin, "come from the women. They have corrupted the public officers, the Deputies, the Senators. The Haitian woman has brought this country to ruin . . . the women who want the right to vote are so much manure!"

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