LAST week in this slot, I asked why more women didn’t write letters to The Herald; that week more than 80% of contributions published were from men. Here’s a selection of your responses:
Yvonne Dalziel: “I wonder if articles like Hugh Macdonald’s, where the headline reads ‘…we’re still just cavemen…’, a reference to ‘mankind’ when he means all humans, and pages and pages of men and their sporting interests, leave women feeling, despite the inclusion of excellent female journalists, that in relation to newspapers they are still ‘the other’?”
Tina Oakes: “Our Letters Editor, while bemoaning the lack of female letter writers, reels off seven names of regular female contributors not including yours truly. I will not go in the huff but offer an opinion as to why there is an abundance of male letter writers: it could be a combination of the fact that they obviously have more time on their hands than the average multi-tasking female and probably nobody in their own lives really listen to their opinions.
“I said that I would not go in the huff but I was considering writing letters only to daily newspapers with a female editor.
“Oops … can’t do that. It seems there aren’t any.”
Ruth Marr: “I think the suggestions you put forward certainly play a part in it, especially the dislike of confrontation. I must admit, I get a bit irritated with some of my female friends who are normally strong, confident women, but at the mention of writing to The Herald turn into coy Victorian ladies and suggest I speak to their husbands!”
Robin Dow: “Ardent feminists will insist that a woman could have come up with a special theory of relativity or the Goldberg Variations if it hadn’t been for one thing or another, but will readily acknowledge that in the matter of belligerence males are in a class of their own … I think it’s the aggressive tendency that makes males sound off in the letters columns… Throughout history it has been males who have wanted to dictate to others what they can or cannot do, think or believe.”
Frances Scott: “It is curious that so few women feel it is worth writing to the papers, but I would be more concerned by the age demographics of your contributors. I am willing to bet that most of them are retired, which explains the unionist bias on the Letters Pages. Were the writers from a younger generation, the letters would be overwhelmingly in favour of self-determination for Scotland. And sometimes the debate is neither civilised, rigorous or even accurate, another good reason for sensible women to leave others to their rants. ”
I have two comments to make. One, there is no bias on the Letters Pages, pro-or anti-Union. Two, I’m especially interested in Yvonne Dalziel’s remarks. Do readers think The Herald is too male-oriented?