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Does That Figure?

August 18, 1985

I would suggest that Mayor Dianne Feinstein clarify her use of numbers in her review of Susan J. Carroll's book "Women as Candidates in American Politics (Book Review, Aug. 4). She states that, "The largest number of women to serve in the same session of the House and Senate . . . was 24 in 1983, meaning that less than half of 1% of all the seats in Congress have been held by women." Let's see, if 24 is less than half of 1%, then there must be at least 4,801 congressional seats. That can't be right. After mulling this over, I came to the conclusion that this percentage spans the entire period of women suffrage. If 24 represents the largest group of women office holders in any single congressional referendum, all others must have been 23 or less. So if we total the number of congressional seats up for re-election since 1920 and if in every election period we attribute no more than 23 to women (save 1983), then the women's total is less than half of 1% of the grand total. Is this correct? I wonder if any of Ms. Feinstein's readers had a different interpretation.

SCOTT LEGGETT

Huntington Beach

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