Letters to the Editor

Readers write about gender in sports and collaboration on environmental issues.

Can the gender divide in sports be equalized?

Regarding Laura Pappano and Eileen McDonagh's Jan. 31 Opinion piece, "Women and men in sports: Separate is not equal": I am confused by the contradictions I see in the article. The title indicates the article's excellent point for which the authors make an excellent case: where physical strength is not a major advantage, there should be no women's or girls' version of an event. This will encourage our girls to strive for excellence in every event, and we should anticipate that women will very quickly take half the titles in archery, bowling, target shooting, distance swimming, etc. I love this idea.

I do not understand why, then, the authors believe that women should be allowed to exclude men from their sports because of "historical disadvantages," but that the reverse should not be true. Either the sport is physical in nature or not, determining whether there will be a women's version or not.

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I also do not understand the position that schools should be forced to promote and price men's and women's events equally. The reason for unequal promotion and divergent pricing is, of course, supply and demand. This is why Division I schools charge more for football tickets than they do for fencing. One cannot legislate fandom.

Kent White
Tillsonburg, Ontario

Regarding Laura Pappano and Eileen McDonagh's recent Opinion piece on gender in sports: While I agree with the philosophy expressed in the piece, my own personal experience growing up was that I was not able to keep up athletically with anyone, especially the boys.

I don't think the answer is coed teams, at least not without a broader look at physical education programs. There were many activities I was good at, such as dance, that weren't taught in school.

Maybe kids should be separated by athletic ability, including strength, speed, body weight, and aggressiveness.

The commercial aspects are a separate issue. As all the doping scandals have shown, sports are suffering from too much money and too much commercialism already.

Rebecca Firestone
San Francisco

Hear local voices on the environment

In response to Erica Rosenberg's Jan. 29 Opinion piece, "The dangers of collaboration": This was a most amazing rock thrown from the ivory tower. Professor Rosenberg suggests that local folks are not to be trusted in reaching effective and worthwhile compromises on environmental issues. Yet unelected individuals, like national environmental groups, are to be entrusted with this self-appointed role and claim to power.

There is certainly a risk of local people selling out in order to get along with their peers in communities. However, there is an equal risk that national groups will remain unnecessarily oppositional in order to continue to accumulate donations and power as organizations, and will not necessarily act in the best interest of the environment.

National groups maintain large staffs of environmental lawyers and scientists employed to cover a wide variety of issues. Yet there are many more local environmental lawyers, scientists, practitioners, and people from all walks of life with local, experiential knowledge, who are deep into the details of any local environmental issue. Where is the expertise on any given issue likely to be?

Sharon Friedman
Golden, Colo.Director, strategic planning

Rocky Mountain region,USDA Forest Service

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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