Women in the war effort: lessons from history
Regarding "Girls need not apply" (June 24, Opinion): I can't help comparing our current mindset with that of World War II, when the industrial production of America rode on the broad shoulders of "Rosie the Riveter." Without this industrial might at home, our tanks would never have made it into battle.
A gap in the teaching of history in our schools results in young people never knowing what their grandmothers did.
One reason our economy leads the world is that we have almost twice the trained work force, per capita, of countries that do not enable women to work. As we all live longer, child-bearing years take up less and less of a woman's productive lifespan, and other skills become more important.
Regarding "Stump the candidates" (June 24, Editorial): There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of citizens throughout the country who would consider running for elected office if they were given free airtime by local television stations.
The competition for congressional seats has come to a virtual standstill, as incumbent representatives (86 percent male) are able to raise so much money that they are guaranteed reelection over 97 percent of the time. Groups of newcomers to Congress, such as women and minorities, are often frozen out of our democratic system because of the high costs of broadcast media and direct mail.
In several states, "clean election" laws that provide reasonable public funding for candidates who raise a set number of modest contributions have already attracted a significant number of new candidates, many of whom are female. Bills calling for free candidate air-time several months before an election could encourage much-needed new thinking and new faces in our government.
George A. Dean
Regarding "A call to nations to prevent genocide" (June 20, Ideas): As Samantha Power documents in her book, which you praise, Raphael Lemkin coined the word "genocide" in 1944, using the 1915 Armenian genocide as an example. However, you betray the author's intent by referring to the premeditated Armenian genocide merely as a "slaughter." The planned mass slaughter of a people can only be called by its proper name, genocide.
As Ms. Power told a recent audience in Los Angeles: "The sad irony is that [the Armenians] would have to struggle for the term to be applied to [their] tragedy," despite the fact that Lemkin used the Armenian experience as a primary example of this type of crime.
Regarding "How to play the college financial aid game" (June 3, Work and Money): I am appalled at the underlying cynicism of much of the advice to parents and students: Shift to assets not included in the aid calculation (this puts you on an equal footing with those families who have no assets); accelerate income to the prior year, and defer losses to the year that will be reviewed for aid (this ensures that the less prosperous neighbor who works on a fixed wage won't have an advantage over you); before submitting the application, use the student's money to buy clothes, computers, and cars that won't be included in reportable assets, and so on.
As a former student-loan officer in a local bank, I saw both kinds of applicants the hard workers who really needed financial help, and the manipulators who could have paid their bills but instead used the system to their benefit. In my time, the former were the majority. Now, I'm not so sure.
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