Thanks to eagle-eyed Times-watcher Dave, who noticed on Saturday that the aforementioned Times had an article on what sort of people write into the paper.
From it we learn that the Times receives around 600 letters a day, of which about 18 get selected for publication. We also learn that at least one Times reader has taken it upon himself to conduct an informal study of the gender breakdown of those whose letters are published:
Duncan Grey writes from Cambridge: "I've just taken a quick count of male to female contributors to the letters page over the past few weeks. My calculations show that 83 per cent of writers are men, 11 per cent are women and some 6 per cent are either joint writers or of uncertain gender. Who is responsible for this? Gender-biased editors, domineering husbands or some other factor? Could it be that The Times does not appeal to women, or that women prefer to tend to kittens and cooking while their menfolk pore over the paper?"
The reporter, Sally Baker, responds thus:
The published ratio broadly mirrors that of letters received, although the other reason in my view is that women have better things to do with their time than write letters to newspapers.
I'm pleased to see that Duncan received a proper response to his letter to the Times, whereas I didn't to my very similar letter to the Guardian.
But I'm not so pleased to see the return of our old friend 'women have better things to do' as the supposed reason for women's reluctance to write to the papers. In my experience, 'women have better things to do' is a false compliment. It almost suggests that women should 'know their place'.
And no prizes for guessing what that 'place' is, either. Independent columnist Mary Dejevsky, remember, reckoned that women had better things to do with their time than write blogs. Those 'better things' turned out to be cooking dinner for their husbands and looking after the kids.
If by any chance Sally Baker is reading this, I would very much like to know what those 'better things' are that she believes women spend their time doing. If it's staying out of the public sphere and keeping quiet about things that matter, I'm not sure I'd agree.
In the meantime, you can amuse yourself by going to Google and looking up 'women have better things to do than' and 'women have better things to do with their time than'. Playing chess, playing computer games, making money, writing a diary, being included in the history books, discussing obscure records - all these and many more things are beneath us, apparently.