In “Why the nationalism debate needs to stop being dominated by white men” (Feb.28), Sharmane Allen is quoted as saying: “And when has a woman in this province really ever been given a voice to speak?”

I didn’t know that women needed to be “given” a voice. I’ve been writing publicly for 40 years and asked no one’s permission to do so.

Women in contemporary Newfoundland have the same access as men to voicing their opinion, practising the arts, running for office, seeking leadership roles in labour, government, health care, academe, social justice – the list is long. A woman can’t access the papal throne but that is a universal issue – not one confined to these shores.

Ms. Allen may think she was speaking up for women. In fact, in suggesting we need to be “given” a voice (by whom?) she was patronizing us.

Marjorie Doyle (St. John’s)