A few weeks ago, The N&O's Barbara Barrett reported on the rise of female candidates in North Carolina. She reported the comments of Marie Wilson, founder of a group seeking to elect a female president. Wilson said women have long been seen by voters as more ethical and fair than men. Barrett also noted a recent survey that rated women the same or better than men on seven of eight leadership traits.
I'm not buying that women politicians are better (or worse) than male politicians. In their recent campaigns, Elizabeth Dole, Kay Hagan and Beverly Perdue didn't strike me as substantially different than male politicians. My Saturday column on the subject prompted a variety of responses from readers.
"Can you really recall an article that sized up the election of white males based on their race or gender?" one woman wrote. "Is this not a blatant example of the subtle but persistent double standards that female candidates still face?" Another woman didn't disgree with my assessment but said I also should have discredited unfavorable stereotypes about female politicians (fair point). Another woman questioned why I write a column at all: "Boy, your column...really struck me the wrong way. OK -- you have an opinion but why are you writing a column on the front page of the local section? You must know someone at the paper." It's true -- I know a lot of people at the paper.
Others agreed with me. "Fair and balanced and right on the money," one male wrote. Another reader wrote: "Well said, with regard to both Hagan and Perdue. And thanks in general for a very good newspaper, one in which we have confidence for its balanced coverage, insightful analysis and integrity."
More comments welcomed.