Letters to the Editor

Readers write about parental participation in education, making the case for women as leaders, why many countries should be concerned about cyber attacks from China, and why Muslims, too, should be careful in their speech to others.

Build a better case for women as leaders

In regard to the March 26 Opinion piece, "What if women ran the world?": Author Mark Lange's commentary bothered me because I thought it argued its case poorly. It had a lot of soft evidence (women are smaller, so they must compensate by being smarter, etc). The hard facts it presented related to women running villages in India, and then it just sort of skimmed over the specifics.

Mr. Lange also notes that people rank women higher on honesty and intelligence, and they also want honesty and intelligence in their leaders. This is an interesting point, but is contradicted by the real-world evidence of how many people actually pick women as leaders. The annals of psychology are full of examples of people saying they want one thing and then choosing another.

His conclusion may or may not be right. In order to examine it, however, there needs to be an objective framework. We should define what makes a good leader, then compare men and women in that same position. Women may be better, but arguing by using common stereotypes instead of facts makes the case insulting. I imagine if this same case had been made about men being better in power, Maureen Dowd would be able to very rightly go to bat for feminism, denouncing the whole thing as biased and unsettlingly wrong.

It's sad that the concept behind this commentary is so novel as to be considered worthy of printing without any supporting evidence. There is no reason to think women aren't equal in their ability to run things. And also, because claiming primacy based on innuendo is exactly the sort of thinking that a truly liberated society should be moving away from.

Alex Danvers
Arlington, Va

Be wary of Chinese cyber attacks

Regarding the March 29 article, "Cyber spy network with global reach raises alarms": It seems silly to me that other countries and the mainstream media in the United States should only just now be starting to worry about cyber attacks from within China.

The United States, Germany, France, Israel, and many other countries have either been hacked, or at least attacked by, Chinese cyber-squads. The great firewall of China puts a damper on anybody there doing anything on the Internet without the direct knowledge and supervision of the Chinese government.

Jared Sewell
Fredericksburg, Va.

Muslims should also use sensitive speech

In regard to the March 28 Opinion piece, "10 terms not to use with Muslims": Does anyone suppose that the Muslim world is contemplating 10 things that they should not be saying to, or about, nonMuslims?

Insensitivity cuts both ways. "Death to America" has a much darker and bigoted ring to it (pardon the understatement) than any utterance made in the West. I hope the Monitor presents a balancing article about what 10 phrases should not be used around humanists, agnostics, Christians, and Jews.

Jeffrey Hatcher

Parents must participate in education

Regarding the March 24 article, "Why Singapore is another model for teaching excellence": Why isn't anyone mentioning parent participation and responsibility in their child's education? It seems that all the articles like this one are focusing on making teachers and schools more overwhelmed. All this time wasted looking elsewhere and spending tons of money will never solve our educational problems.

The family is the child's first teacher and should stay that way. Schools shouldn't and can't take the place of the home and family. Why are we taking away a parent's role and putting it on an already stressed-out educator? No wonder we have a shortage of teachers!

Kristin Obeck

The Monitor welcomes your letters. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must include your full name; your city, state, and country; and your telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear on our website, www.CSMonitor.com, or in our weekly print edition. E-mail letters to . Or mail letters to Readers Write, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115.

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