John Humphreys asked on this morning’s Radio 4 Today programme, why don’t women write letters to newspapers?
He asked the question after it was revealed that Professor in Journalism, Linda Clarke, of Westminster University revealed a startling statistic. As she was catching up on some back issues of newspapers she decided to carry out an audit over a three week period (not including weekends) of 115 letters published in newspapers. She found that just three were written by women and two of those were co-authored by a man.
As I revealed earlier this week how female politicians in newspapers are negatively portrayed, so women’s opinions are also marginalised.
Yvonne Roberts, chief leader writer of the Observer reminded us during the interview this morning that the playwright Arthur Miller once said that a good newspaper is the nation talking to itself.
Roberts made a serious point which is that letters pages are important historical documents. They give social, and cultural context to the social, political and economic issues of the day and. Such letters make history, and if the female voice is missing then you get a skewed view of the popular history that’s being created.