Toronto Star Public Editor: Where are the voices of women on the letters page?

Not enough time or not enough confidence? Why don’t women write more letters to the editor? Public Editor Kathy English wants to know. Continue Reading Toronto Star Public Editor: Where are the voices of women on the letters page?

The question raised this week by writer Caroline Kitchener in The Atlantic, is one I have long wondered about: Why do so few women write letters to the editor?

Why indeed?

Conventions of journalistic writing suggest that if a writer poses a question in a piece of writing, she should answer that question for the reader.

I wish I had a clear answer to this question for you. Maybe you have an answer for me. If so, please send me an email with your views. For reasons that I hope will become apparent, this is a call out to women only please.

I ask because, seemingly, there are no clear answers but rather, depressing theories that speak to both facts and opinions about gender and the confidence to speak one’s mind in a public forum.

First fact: It is true that women do submit fewer letters to the editor than men and consequently news organizations publish fewer voices of women. My rough count of the Star’s letters page from May 1 to 10 indicates that of 60 letters published in the newspaper, 36 came from men and 14 from women. Another 10 came from individuals whose gender could not be identified by their initials or name.

In writing on this issue, the The Atlantic journalist approached me earlier this month seeking data on how many women versus how many men submit letters to the Star.

Continue reading this story on the Toronto Star website, where it was first published.