Congress Needs More Female Members

In the opinion-page article "What Do You Think of Congress?" (Jan. 27), Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana contends that Congress should act as "a sounding board for all the diverse groups in our society."

But how can Congress be experts on or sounding boards for half of the population - American women? Only 11 percent of both houses of Congress are female. Does Congress really believe that women are adequately represented when not a single committee in that body is headed by a female?

If Mr. Hamilton is worried about the public's lack of trust and understanding of Congress, he should get his party to encourage, promote, and support more women running for office. With greater numbers of female members, Congress would be more in touch with constituents' needs and problems. The old theory that the men will take good care of the women and children is one of the reasons for public cynicism of our government. As Hamilton suggests, we should give all sides a chance to be heard, and that means electing more women to public office.

George A. Dean

Southport, Conn.

A month to love

While realizing that Steve Delaney's opinion essay "The Very Best You Can Say About February Is It's Short" (Feb. 2) lamenting February was tongue-in-cheek, I must take this opportunity to stand up for our day-challenged month.

We should be thankful for a month that gave us our two greatest presidents - Washington and Lincoln. Frederick Douglas, mouthpiece for African-American rights before, during, and after the Civil War, also was born in February. In spite of its commercialism, Valentine's Day lifts love's warmth in the midst of winter's cold, celebrating romance, joy, and loving relationships.

What other month is so unique that every four years we give it an extra day for being long-suffering and patient? If I had been born on Feb. 29, I'd be less than 12 years old. That would be great!

Finally, how can Mr. Delaney deplore the month in which the boys of summer begin their annual journey? People all over America begin hoping for February as soon as the World Series is over in October. If February didn't exist, could we have baseball's spring training, Opening Day, the All Star game, the pennant races, the Fall Classic? Baseball fans believe that far from being a useless month, February is the most important month of the year!

David L. Cornthwaite

Littleton, Colo.

Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Mail to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

Editor's Note

We apologize to readers for a headline on yesterday's food page that should have been sent back for further taste testing.

A story about chef Stephanie Sidell carried the headline "Success in a Whisky Business." This ambiguous play on words confused some readers, including this one. The headline writer intended to refer to a commonly used cooking tool, not to an alcoholic beverage. We regret the unfortunate word choice.

The headline was topped off with the sentence, "A woman chef, restaurant owner tells how she beats the odds." Our continuing appetite for whisk-related puns led us to serve up a gambling image, which has no place in this newspaper.

We will redouble our efforts to offer food pages with literary ingredients that are both appealing and appropriate.

- David Cook

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