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The Gender of Ideas

By Paul Jacob

Do we need gender-specific newspapers? With the flak the Los Angeles Times is taking over not having enough women writing for their editorial pages, I wonder.

Michael Kinsley, a very thoughtful guy (for someone who is wrong about 80 percent of the time), has been getting dagger-like emails from columnist Susan Estrich. Kinsley is opinion editor of The Times and Estrich writes a column that the Times doesn't publish.

Estrich says there aren't enough female voices on the LA Times opinion pages. Only 20 percent of the opinions come from women. But that is actually a higher percentage of female writers than The New York Times or The Washington Post.

If men at the Times or other papers were tossing aside articles written by women due to gender bias, I guess I'd join a boycott of those papers. But that isn't what's happening.

An assistant editor at the Washington Post, who happens to be a woman, says she gets seven times as many op-eds from men than from women. It is difficult to publish unwritten articles.

And, really, how important is the gender of the person writing an opinion piece compared to the ideas they express? Yes, men and women are different, and yes, I want a diversity of ideas and perspectives.

But it sounds like Estrich and others are whining about women's voices, when they really mean their own voices. When conservative Charlotte Allen wrote an article recently, Estrich belittled her as a "feminist-hater" who "exist[s] to get on TV . . . attacking the likes of us."

Methinks Ms. Estrich doth protest too much. She should start her own paper.

This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.

Common Sense is published by Americans for Limited Government. Their website can be visited at