The Growing Number of Women Leading the World

The editorial "The World's Women," June 25, concerning the United Nations report on women, points out women's painfully slow progress in governments throughout the world between the years 1970 and 1990. While it is true that the percentage of female parliamentarians or legislators is generally less than 10 percent (United States Congress 5.8 percent, British House of Commons 6.6 percent, French National Assembly 5.7 percent), there are some encouraging exceptions.The new German Bundestag is almost 20 percent female since the December election. State legislatures in the US now average 18.2 percent female membership, up from 4 percent in 1970. For many states in New England, as well as Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and Wisconsin, legislatures are already more than one quarter female. Australia's and New Zealand's parliaments are 12 percent and 16.5 percent female respectively, breaking all sorts of records, but the Scandinavian nations are the champions for women with cabinets and legislatures over one-third female. The secret of improving the number of women in leadership in democratic societies, as suggested by Martha Burk of the Center for Advancement of Public Policy, is to hold various political parties responsible for their progress, and then make sure that the female population gets to the voting booth. Without the support of women at the polls, qualified female candidates will never reach the top of the political ladder. Let's hope women throughout the world will start to vote for their best interests. George A. Dean, Southport, Conn.

The care behind health care The article "Health Care Becomes an Issue for Both Parties," June 27, discusses health care in terms of its impact on political parties. This is disturbing. The author explains how health care concerns might hurt one party or another; how addressing the issue of health care might establish the credentials of one party as the party that cares, how one party might neutralize the issue. Am I so old-fashioned or naive to wish that someone might address the question by asking what is best for the American people? W. C. McGraw, Zionsville, Ind.

The new Argentine agenda The article "Argentines Ask If US Tack Is Worth the Cost," June 20, seems to distort present-day facts and is not the true story of current Argentine-United States relations. It reports the attitude of a group of Argentine people, which I believe is small and in a minority, who do not want to see Argentina recover or have good US-Argentine relations. I believe that Ambassador Terence Todman is doing one of the best jobs that a US ambassador to Argentina has done in a long time. He is doing so not only because he is good in his own right, but because the Argentine government wants him to be successful, and wants the policy that they are inaugurating to be successful. Mr. Todman is only a catalyst. You need a government that wants to do business in order to have a good ambassador. President Carlos Menem is doing today what I believe President Juan Peron should have done 40 years ago when Argentina was rich and prosperous, and that is to develop the great talent the Argentine people have for doing business, while enjoying Western values rather than a socialist society. Lawrence W. Levine, New York

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